A 5-Day Mindfulness Retreat


Coming Home to Our Hearts

This silent retreat is for those already teaching or interested in teaching mindfulness-based programs (MBP) such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Therapy and Mindful Self Compassion. It fulfills the silent retreat prerequisite for all Mindfulness-Based Interventions. In addition, it is open to individuals who would like to further develop their mindfulness meditation practice. Some experience with mindfulness meditation is expected. The importance of Silent Retreats for teachers of Mindfulness-Based Interventions is articulated beautifully in this article by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

An important aspect of teaching MBP is the requirement to have a personal mindfulness practice, our intention for this retreat is to support your personal practice. This 5-night silent retreat will consist of sustained periods of silence, alternating sitting and walking meditation, with periods of Mindful Movement; (All vital for deepening a personal practice and fundamental to teaching and living a rich full life). There will be afternoon sessions exploring the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness with additional meditation practices to foster and strengthen kindness and compassion, and evening talks. Throughout the week there will be scheduled group and individual meetings with the teachers. The container of Silence, which includes refraining from speaking (except with the teachers as scheduled and as needed) reading, writing, and technology, with the exception of emergencies of course. It is a rare opportunity to slow down and give our hearts and minds some space to access our inner wisdom and compassion.

The Retreat meets the requirements for teacher training and certification at the Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute, University of California at San Diego, the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society, University for Massachusetts and the Center for Mindfulness Studies, Toronto, Canada.
Join us to nourish and sustain your practice, in a safe environment with experienced teachers.

Sample Schedule for in-person retreat

Daily Schedule (may vary depending on the venue’s kitchen schedule)

6:30am – 7:00am Optional sit
7:00am – 8:00am Mindful Movement

8:00am – 9:30am Breakfast
9:30am – 12:30pm Practice Period
(sitting and walking meditation, with some guidance in the early days.)

12:30pm – 1:30pm Lunch
2:30pm – 4:30pm Practice period
4:30pm – 5:30pm Foundational teachings and practices

5:30pm – 6:30pm Dinner
7:00pm – 9:30pm Practice and Dharma Talk
9:30pm Lights out

Sample Schedule for online retreat

Day 1:
Orientation & Welcome: 4:00pm-6:00pm PT

Day 2-5

Morning Practice: 6:30am-8:00am PT
Informal Practice/Meal Break: 8:00am-9:00am PT
Practice Period: 9:00am-10:30am PT
Informal Practice/Work Practice/meal: 10:30am-11:30am PT
Practice Period: 11:30am-2:30pm PT
Informal Practice/Work Practice/meal: 2:30pm-4:00pm PT
Evening Session: 4:00pm-5:30pm  PT

Day 6

​Morning Practice: 6:30am-8:00am PT
Informal Practice/Meal Break: 8:00am-9:00am PT
Sit and Closing: 9:00am-12:00pm PT

This schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the teachers.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

At the completion of this retreat, the participants should be able to:

  • To support and strengthen the practice of mindfulness
  • To reflect on and discuss the importance of embodying the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness and how they inform the practice and teaching of MBPs
  • To strengthen mindful speech and mindful listening as they relate to the process of inquiry
  • To cultivate loving-kindness and self-compassion as foundational components of practice and teaching

Participant Guidelines

Silent meditation retreats can be a wonderful opportunity to deepen an existing practice of mindfulness, but can be challenging for people very new to the practice. Therefore we strongly recommend that you have previously had some formal mindfulness training and at least some period (six months or more) of extended regular daily personal practice of mindfulness.


It is the policy of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor. All persons involved in the selection, development and presentation of content are required to disclose any real or apparent conflicts of interest. All conflicts of interest will be resolved prior to an educational activity being delivered to learners through one of the following mechanisms: 1) altering the financial relationship with the commercial interest, 2) altering the individual’s control over CFM content about the products or services of the commercial interest, and/or 3) validating the activity content through independent peer review. All persons are also required to disclose any discussions of off label/unapproved uses of or devices. Persons who refuse or fail to disclose will be disqualified from participating in the CFM activity.

Highly Recommended Reading

  • The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness: Discovering the Buddhist Teachings at the Heart of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction by Beth Mulligan
  • After Buddhism: rethinking the Dharma for a secular age by Stephen Batchelor
  • True refuge: finding peace and freedom in your own awakened heart by Tara Brach
  • Mindfulness in plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
  • Listening to the heart: A contemplative journey to engaged Buddhism by Kittisaro and Thanissara
  • Loving kindness: The revolutionary art of happiness by Sharon Salzberg

Frequently Asked Questions for In-person Retreat

I am flying in for the retreat. What are my options and what do you recommend?

See our LOCATIONS page for details about travel to the retreat centers and preferred airports. The UCSD Center for Mindfulness will set up a Ride Share Bulletin Board in coordinating shuttle rides for those arriving by air at local airports.

What time should I plan to arrive? When do we finish?

We will begin checking people into the retreat at 4 pm on the first day of the retreat. However, it may be possible for you to arrive before 4 pm and have access to your room. We ask that you plan on arriving no later than 5pm so that we can begin with the full group in attendance at dinnertime. We plan to end the retreat by noon on the last day so please plan your travel accordingly, using the time guidelines above. Sometimes situations arise in which people have to leave the retreat earlier than noon on the last day but we strongly urge you to avoid this if at all possible.

Is there wireless service/cellular phone use?

Please do not expect to get consistent, reliable wireless internet service while at the retreat center. It is most advisable to leave your computer at home because of the retreat nature of the retreat, however we recognize that sometimes computer use is a necessity. Most cellular phones will work in this location. Again, however given the nature of the retreat there will be limited opportunities to use them, so informing those who may need to contact you of these limitations ahead of time will be helpful.

Is it possible to stay extra nights at the facility or arrive a day or two early?

The retreat center is often booked both right before and right after our retreat, so arriving early or staying an extra night or two after the retreat is over is not likely to be a possibility. You can of course arrange to stay at lodging near the retreat center if you would like to extend your stay. Contact the retreat center directly to make such arrangements.

What do I need to bring?

If it is at all possible, please bring a meditation cushion (zafu) and a yoga mat. We will have a few cushions but not enough to go around, so if you have one and can squeeze it into your luggage or bring it as a carry-on please consider doing so. It is always advisable to check the weather forecast prior to traveling, to help guide you in proper clothing choices.

The relatively remote location makes security a minor concern, but we do want people to know that with shared sleeping quarters and very limited availability of keys to lock rooms, we highly recommend leaving valuable items at home to reduce the possibility of anything being lost or stolen. Certainly some of us will have vehicles where such items can be secured if this is necessary.

What should I expect regarding the format of the retreat?

This event is a silent meditation retreat, which means that the bulk of the time is spent in mindfulness practice, and we want to reiterate that now so you are not surprised when you get here. The venue very much facilitates this format; we will meet, eat and be housed in a relatively secluded area. There are no other large groups planned in the center that week so it should be relatively quiet and secluded. The rooms are clean and comfortable, but not by any means luxurious. In some cases several of you will share a dorm-style bathroom nearby.

What should I read prior to arriving?

Check the “Recommended Reading” list.

What if I require some special accommodations or have dietary restrictions?

While you are asked to note specific food restrictions on your registration application, if there are any additional food or medical concerns we should be aware of please let us know of these in advance so we may assist you.

Cancellation Policy

A refund (minus your $100 non-refundable deposit) will be made for cancellations submitted in writing 30 days prior to the retreat. No refunds will be allowed after that date.

In the unlikely event that the course is cancelled, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for transportation, hotel accommodations or any miscellaneous expenses.