Mindfulness Meditation Retreats
Because inquiry into the nature of mind, emotions, and reality is essential for MBSR teachers, it is important that you have a deep and extensive grounding in mindfulness meditation practice, as it is expressed within both traditional as well as more mainstream contexts. MBSR is an example of a vehicle for embodying and transmitting mindfulness practice in its most universal expression.
Your engagement in a personal daily practice of mindfulness meditation, as well as silent, teacher-led retreats – in the spirit of deepening your practice and cultivating your ongoing education – will strengthen your understanding of what it means to be a fully prepared and qualified MBSR teacher. Ultimately, it is the depth of your own personal commitment to learning, growing and healing – as well as a dedication to the well-being of others – that will contribute most to your integrity and effectiveness as a teacher.
Importance of retreats
We invite you to read the following article by Jon Kabat-Zinn which explores the foundations of MBSR and the importance of mediation practice and retreat attendance for all MBSR teachers. It may assist you in selecting a suitable retreat: Some Reflections on the Origins of MBSR, Skillful Means, and the Trouble With Maps (pdf).
Finding a suitable retreat
Many of the Oasis Institute Professional Education and Training programs require your attendance at a minimum number of 5-7 day, teacher-led, silent meditation retreats (see table below) at retreat centers that emphasize mindfulness meditation practice – such as, for example, centers that offer teachings in Western Vipassana or other Buddhist mindfulness meditation traditions. While we are recommending retreats at Buddhist centers, please know that these programs welcome and respect people from all faiths. Quite simply, our intention is for you to engage directly in a retreat that mirrors and expresses many aspects of MBSR.
Although we value many other contemplative traditions as ways to enrich, enhance, supplement, and strengthen your ability to teach MBSR, only those retreats that are intensive in nature and emphasize mindfulness meditation practice will qualify as fulfilling the requirement for participation in MBSR training. Also, these retreats must be residential.
To be considered for Teacher Certification in MBSR, completion of four (4) retreats is required. Two of these retreats must be five (5) days duration and the remaining two retreats must be seven (7) days duration or more.
Currently, the Center for Mindfulness does not offer such retreats. This will change in the future. Many MBSR teachers have fulfilled their retreat requirements at one or more of the following retreat centers:
- Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA, USA
- Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA, USA
- Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Cabin John, MD, USA
- Southern Dharma, Hot Springs, NC, USA
- Vipassana Meditation Centers (U.S. and Canada)
- Boundless Way Zen, Worcester, MA, USA
- San Francisco Zen Center, San Francisco, CA, USA
- Zen Center of San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA
- Zen Community of Oregon, Clatskanie, OR, USA
- Karme Choling, Barnet, VT, USA
- Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, USA
- Gaia House, Devon, England
- Vipassana Meditation Centers (worldwide)
- Dharma Retreats, Toronto, Canada
This list of retreat centers is not meant to be exclusive. It is offered in order to assist Oasis Institute students and applicants in finding a suitable retreat. The intention and format of the retreat you choose, and the background of the teacher, is more important than the name of the retreat center. Since it is not possible for us to know every available retreat, retreat center, and teacher, we ask that you do your best to make sure that any retreat you choose in order to fulfill an Oasis Institute program prerequisite is a silent, teacher-led retreat in which the primary focus is the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Many applicants ask us about retreats at the Omega Institute, Kripalu Yoga Center and other well known learning & retreat centers. Retreats at such centers may or may not be held in silence or silence at these retreats may be optional. Please note that while such centers offer many valuable programs with skilled and experienced teachers, retreats that are not offered in a silent environment (all participants, teachers, and retreat center support staff involved in supporting silent practice) and that are not residential will not satisfy the Oasis Institute prerequisites.
Retreat Requirement for participation in Oasis Institute Programs:
|Oasis Institute Program||Minimum Retreats Required|
|Practicum in MBSR
|Teacher Development Intensive (TDI)