Gaia House Group Meditation Retreats are led by established and experienced teachers, and are usually a week or a weekend (but can range from one day to four weeks). The group join together in a daily schedule of sitting and walking meditation, and a short work session to help look after the house and gardens.
There are regular talks on a theme from the teacher(s), instructions and guidance about meditation and teacher-led discussions or interviews. Apart from the teaching (Dharma) sessions, the retreats are held in silence. More about silence. This shared experience is often felt as profoundly peaceful and safe for newcomers. More about meditation.
Group Retreats are recommended for beginners as well as for more experienced meditators (unless stated otherwise in the Group Retreat Programme details). Meditation Days or weekend Group Retreats are good introductions to meditation (or can equally be opportunities to deepen a continuing personal meditation practice). Some newcomers join a week-long silent Group Retreat as their first experience of meditation, and find that this longer immersion in a retreat environment is also a good way to begin.
Gaia House Personal and Work Retreats are suitable only for experienced meditation practitioners.
More about the Retreats that Gaia House offers.
The teachers provide guidance through meditation instruction, evening talks, and individual and/or group meetings. The talks aim to clarify the nature of meditation practice, to explore its application in daily life, or to explore the nature of human experience in the light of spiritual teachings. There will be opportunities to discuss your experience and meditation practice with the teacher(s), in the form of group or individual interviews and/or question and answer periods. More about Gaia House teachers.
Meditation generally alternates between regular periods of sitting and walking. Sitting meditation is divided into manageable sessions throughout the day, so that you get plenty of time to stretch your legs and enjoy the beautiful grounds. Sitting meditation may be done on cushions or a meditation stool or bench, or you may wish to sit in a chair: you can use the posture you find most comfortable. More about meditation.
While on retreat you are asked to refrain from engaging in all forms of verbal and written communication with other retreatants and the outside world. Please respect this guideline, once the retreat begins. You are still able to speak with the retreat teacher(s) when appropriate, to ask questions and discuss your meditation experience, and with the staff if there are any essential practical matters you need to attend to.
More about silence.
Individual retreats vary, but an average day starts at 6:00 in the morning and finishes at 9:30 at night. Most of this time is spent in meditation practice, either sitting in the spacious hall or walking in the peaceful grounds. Apart from personal and group meetings with teachers, retreats at Gaia House are held in complete silence.
The schedule, silence, group support and comprehensive instruction combine to create an atmosphere of exceptional sensitivity, mindfulness and stillness, which support and facilitate the deepening of meditation and the unfolding of insight. As part of this shared experience, each person is asked to contribute one hour of work per day, to help the coordinators and keep the House running smoothly. More about silence.
Clicking on the title of a Retreat in the Group Retreat Programme will provide a description and a brief biography of the teacher(s), along with details of dates, retreat rates, and the opportunity to book on-line.
More FAQs about Retreats: The Frequently Asked Questions page is all about the practical side of coming on Retreat at Gaia House.
About Retreats: Answers to more General Questions about the type of Retreats offered at Gaia House.
How to Book a Retreat: Ways to Book a Retreat and other Booking Information.
Hopefully most questions are answered on this website – but if you have any other queries, please contact us, and we will be happy to help you.