MBSR Teacher-Led Silent MBSR Retreats
Importance of Retreats: Developing Essential Skills of Inquiry
The following article by Jon Kabat-Zinn explores the foundations of MBSR and the importance of meditation practice and retreat attendance for all MBSR teachers. We strongly recommend that all MBSR teacher trainees read this article, as it may assist you in selecting a suitable retreat. Some Reflections on the Origins of MBSR, Skillful Means, and the Trouble With Maps (pdf).
To be considered for Teacher Certification in MBSR, you must attend two, 5-Day (or longer) silent retreats and two 7-Day (or longer) silent retreats. These retreats should be attended concurrent with your teacher training as illustrated in the Teacher Education pre-requisites.
Retreats do not have to be on this list. However, below you will find some of our recommended retreat centers for the Teacher Training Pathway. If you decide to find a retreat closer to where you live, please make sure it meets the following guidelines:
- 5-7 full days in length
- Held in complete, noble silence
- Must be teacher-led (live, in-person – no recordings/videos of teachers)
- Must be in a group setting (no 1:1 retreats)
These MBSR Teacher-Led Retreats meet the prerequisites of the Oasis Institute™
Shambhala Mountain Center is a six-hundred acre mountain haven of native forests, gentle meadows and sweeping valleys located at an elevation of 8,000 feet in Northern Colorado. Join Janet Solyntjes and Jim Colosi for this silent meditation retreat which emphasizes the deep understanding and practice of mindfulness meditation in its most universal and secular expression.
Daily meditation instructions, sustained moment-to-moment practice, and a silent environment will all support participants in beginning again for the New Year. The course includes a full daily schedule of sitting and walking practice, lying down and standing meditation, daily mindful hatha yoga, and evening talks. On the first evening and the last morning there will be opportunities for group dialogue about practice. This retreat is presented by Middle Path Healing Arts at Spirit Fire Retreat Center in Leyden, MA and will be led by Éowyn Ahlstrom.
A teacher-led silent residential mindfulness meditation retreat at the historic Joshua Tree Retreat Center in Southern California. This west coast mindfulness meditation retreat will be led by Beth Mulligan, Hugh O'Neill and Cayce Howe, and is designed to support mindfulness practitioners of all levels in cultivating and deepening your practice.
This silent retreat with Kate Mitcheom at Spirit Fire in Leyden, MA will be an opportunity to deepen practice with guided sitting, walking, and lying down mindfulness meditations along with gentle yoga, group dialogue, evening talks and brief meetings to discuss and share. Course size limited to 14 participants.
This silent meditation retreat in Soutelo, Vila Verde, Braga, Portugal, will be led by Melissa Blacker and David Rynick, both internationally renowned mindfulness teachers. This retreat provides an opportunity to deepen your personal meditation practice. We will focus on the possibility of waking up to our lives as they are in every moment, through meeting the suffering and joy that naturally arises in our own body, mind and heart with open and compassionate awareness.
This Insight Meditation retreat in Soutelo, Vila Verde, Braga, Portugal, will explore the Four Ways of Establishing Mindfulness. This profound teaching encourages us to place the path of freedom and compassion in the classroom of our lives, nurturing a heart that is receptive, awake and unshakeable. Each day will offer a sustained schedule of sitting and walking meditation practices, meetings with the teachers, talks and instructions, all within an underlying environment of silence and compassion. This retreat will be very suitable for those who would like to deepen their understanding and practice of mindfulness, as well as professionals training to teach mindfulness-based approaches.
Inquiry into the nature of mind, emotions, and reality is an essential skill for MBSR teachers. This skill is reinforced by a deep and extensive grounding in mindfulness meditation practice, as it is expressed within both traditional as well as more mainstream contexts. Engagement in a personal, daily mindfulness meditation practice, as well as silent, teacher-led retreats will strengthen your understanding of what it means to be a fully prepared and qualified MBSR teacher. Your own personal commitment to learning, growing and healing – and dedication to the well-being of others – will contribute to your integrity and effectiveness as a teacher.
While we recognize and respect the perennial and shared wisdom that is available in all meditation traditions, these specifically suggested retreats, their structures and content, most aligns with the foundational underpinnings of the MBSR program. Deepening experiential understanding of this wisdom through the retreat experience supports a developing MBSR teacher in engaging directly in the transformational potential of MBSR with a more nuanced comprehension of the program.
Completing retreats from other traditions can certainly inspire and augment learning. But for the purposes of the MBSR Teacher Pathway retreat requirements, these retreats are best suited for the fullest comprehension of the MBSR program and practices.