FAQs – Retreats
What are the benefits of going on retreat?
Retreats provide a safe and nourishing environment for the cultivation and development of a deep and grounded mindfulness meditation practice away from the distractions of daily life. Highly trained, experienced teachers and meditation instructors provide excellent support and guidance in group settings, as well as in one-on-one interviews. Longer meditation periods allow participants to develop discipline of the mind and body, as well as more focused concentration.
What does Noble Silence mean?
Noble Silence means no talking and no eye contact, or practicing “guardianship of the eyes.” These rules allow participants to go more deeply into the meditation practice and to conserve energy for the work of mindfulness. The silence and absence of eye contact supports the process of looking into and accepting ourselves. They also help us become more intimate and familiar with the actual comings and goings of our own minds and bodies.
Will I be sitting the whole time?
No. Participants engage in many different forms of mindfulness practices, which include sitting, lying down, standing, and moving.
Is there any dialogue between teachers and participants during group sessions?
Yes. At designated times, mindfulness instructors will open the discussion to the participants for questions. Although, cross-talk between participants is not allowed.
How long is one sitting meditation period?
Most sitting meditations last about 30 minutes, followed by shorter periods of walking, or other mindful movement.
Are most meditations guided?
At the beginning of the retreat, most meditations are guided. As time goes on, guidance decreases, and participants practice some of the meditation periods in silence.
What if sitting on a meditation cushion is too difficult or painful for me?
Participants are encouraged to practice meditation in a position that works best for them, whether sitting in a chair, lying down on the floor, or standing.
What do I need to bring?
You need to bring:
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
- Layers, as room temperature may vary
- Flashlight, in case the power goes out
- Jacket or coat, and warm boots or shoes, depending on the season
- Shoes, which slip on and off easily; we will be removing them upon entering the meditation room
- Meditation cushion
- Yoga mat
What if I am a vegetarian, have food allergies, or have certain dietary needs?
Special diets, including vegan and gluten-free, will be provided upon request.
Do I have to be silent the whole time, even during meals and breaks?
Yes. Everything we do at the retreat is with awareness and in silence. We eat our food knowing that we are eating, chewing, tasting, swallowing. We practice mindful awareness in silence between each formal meditation practice.
How do I communicate if I have a problem or need something?
There will be a board provided where participants will be allowed to post questions for mindfulness instructors. If you have something urgent or requiring immediate attention, please don’t hesitate to approach one of the mindfulness instructors or teachers.
Am I allowed to read or write while on retreat?
You’re advised not to read or write. It’s a rare opportunity not to have to process any more input.
Can I use my cell phone or other electronic devices during a retreat?
We advise participants to stay off all devices, except in certain circumstances, which we can discuss individually.
What does a typical day look like?
Daily Schedule (may vary depending on the venue’s kitchen schedule):
7:00 Meditation, sitting and walking 8:00 Breakfast 9:00 Meditation 11:30 Teachings 12:30 Lunch 3:00 Meditation 5:00 Tea 5:30 Meditation 6:30 Dinner 7:30 Meditation 8:00 Evening events or more sitting and walking 10:30 Lights out