Day retreat – next date to be confirmed – likely September 2019
A space to just ‘be’ for a few hours. Or for those looking to support or re-invigorate their regular mindfulness practice, this one day mindfulness practice retreat is an ideal way to give yourself the space to do just that… and the perfect accompaniment or follow-on to an 8-week course. Running from 10am to 3.30pm on Saturday, most of the day is silent, with an opportunity to share experiences at the end of the day.
Book your place or ask a question
The typical outline for the day looks like this, with breaks throughout:
- Introduction and questions
- Short sitting practice
- Body scan
- Sitting with sounds and thoughts
- Mindful stretching lying down
- Sitting with body and breath
- Mindful walking
- Being space
- Mindful stretching standing-up
- Share experiences in pairs
- Group discussion and inquiry
This kind of retreat is often called a practice retreat, not just because we will be practicing mindfulness, but because we practise most of the meditations taught on an 8-week course. Although the day itself is not a course, the overall intention for the day is to provide an opportunity for us to understand our minds just a little better through our non-judgemental awareness in the practice, enhance or revive our regular mindfulness practice, as well as providing a short retreat from our busy days of ‘doing’ in order to simply ‘be’ for a few hours. For many this a wonderful way to spend a few hours and an opportunity to recharge.
Venue: Renewal Centre, Church Road, Swallowfield, Reading, Berks. RG7 1TJ
Date / Time: Saturday 18th May 2019, 10am – 3.30pm
What should I bring?
Lunch – bring something nice to eat for lunch. The venue has a domestic size fridge for items that need to stay cool, as well as a sink, and microwave for heating something like soup (don’t plan to ‘cook’ anything).
Blanket, cushion, mat – bring a light blanket with you, particularly handy for practices like the body scan. Also, if you usually practice using a cushion or meditation stool, or have a yoga mat that you prefer, bring those too. We will provide yoga mats, with head cushions, and there will also be enough chairs for everyone.
Should I bring my own lunch?
Yes please. We will provide coffee, tea, water, and snacks, but do bring some lunch (see the ‘what should I bring?’ entry).
Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?
If you have further questions, do get in touch using one of the options on our Contact Us page.
Can I pay by…?
If you would like to pay by bank transfer, cheque, credit card, or even cash, just select the appropriate option on the booking form, and we’ll be happy to arrange it with you.
What does ‘silent’ mean?
As delegates, choosing not to talk during most of the day provides a rare opportunity for us to be alone with our thoughts, feelings and the sensations of our body – providing an opportunity to learn from them in way that is often difficult during our busy day to day lives. To start the day, Mark will provide an introduction and there will be an opportunity for questions. Then as we start the practices, the suggestion is that we remain silent in order to allow our fellow participants this unusual time of quiet. Mark will provide spoken guidance during the practices – so, its not all silence. Then, for about the last hour, we’ll break the silence to talk with each other in small groups, and as a combined group.
It’s not that speaking is ‘banned’ – it’s simply a voluntary agreement to support our fellow participants engage in this unusual day – if there’s a problem, and a need to speak, then by all means speak.
Do I need to be able to sit in the lotus position or any other special position?
No! There is no special sitting position or physical requirements. For a sitting meditation the suggestion is to sit upright, with your upper body self-supporting (for example, away from the back of a chair). But if that isn’t practical, then you can sit however you choose. You should bare in mind that most of practices will last around 30 minutes. But, if you need to move or stretch while in a practice, then of course that’s fine. On one hand, a small amount of physical discomfort can give us an opportunity to work with difficulty, on the other hand it’s not intended to be self-imposed torture 🙂
What is the refund policy?
If you have a real challenge and can’t make the day, rest assured that we’ll provide a full refund – less any fees we have incurred in processing the transaction (for example in dealing with cheques, or credit cards).
Are there ID requirements or an age limit for the day?
The retreat is open to anyone aged 18 years or over.
Is the day suitable for those with depression or other mental illness?
Although mindfulness practice can be beneficial for those with depression or other mental illness, the day is unlikely to be suitable for anyone currently suffering with clinical depression, unless under explicit guidance of a medical professional – this is simply because we will spend most of our time in meditation, with our own thoughts. If you’re unsure, do contact Mark.
I believe it is important to teach mindfulness both competently and ethically. Although mindfulness in not formally regulated in UK, recommendations for ethical practice are provided by the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teachers (the UK Network) for training, practice and supervision, and I follow these guideline. For example:
- Formal and continual training – my training followed the UK Network guidance for training teachers, and I teach according to the guidelines expected for mindfulness teachers. This is the same approach recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE; the UK body providing evidence-based information for health and care professionals, including the NHS).
- Under normal circumstances we will speak on the phone before you start a course to ensure that the course is suitable.
- Confidentiality is key in all of my courses.
- I have regular supervision from an external qualified mindfulness supervisor.
A more detailed description of the guidelines is provided by the UK Network here: Mindfulness-based teachers Good Practice Guide.