The answers below try to address most of the queries you may have about the practicalities of coming on retreat, but please contact us if you have any other questions.
|How do I get to Gaia House?||Do you have access and facilities for people with disabilities?|
Gaia House is about 4 miles from Newton Abbot, located between Exeter and Plymouth in Devon, UK. We are easily accessible by train or coach from Exeter to Newton Abbot. We organise a Lift Share and Local Taxi Share scheme. See Getting to Gaia House.
What time do retreats start and finish?
Group Retreats: Registration takes place between 2pm and 5pm on the first day. A light evening meal is served at 6pm. The retreat begins at 7.30pm with an opening talk. Please arrive on the first day and stay for the entire length of the retreat.
First Time Retreatants: Please note that it is essential for first time visitors to arrive during registration and attend the introductory talks before beginning the retreat. We regret it is not possible for first time retreatants to arrive early or late.
If you have attended a silent retreat at Gaia House before, but are unable to arrive during registration time, please arrange late or early arrival with Reception on +44 (0)1626 333613.
Finishing Times: retreats of 2 of 3 nights will end around 4pm. All retreats lasting longer than this will finish at lunchtime on the last day.
Personal & Work Retreatants: please inform us in advance of your time of arrival and whether you are coming here for the first time.
We ask you to commit to attending the entire retreat. For the benefit of everyone, we ask that all participants arrive for the beginning of the retreat and stay until the end. Your wholehearted commitment supports your fellow retreatants and expresses respect for the retreat teachers and staff, who are committed to being here and freely give their time and energy to serve the welfare of all.
First Time Retreatants: If you have never been on a silent meditation retreat before, please note that it is essential to arrive during registration on the day when the Group Retreat begins, in order to attend the introductory talks before beginning the retreat. (It is not possible for first time visitors to arrive early.) It is possible to book an extra day of silent retreat after your Group Retreat has ended.
Experienced Retreatants: If you have been on silent meditation retreat before, (at Gaia House or similar retreat elsewhere), it is possible for you to arrive a day early for your Group Retreat, as well as stay an extra night afterwards. You can select up to 2 extra retreat days as options in the drop down menu when booking on-line – or book by phone.
If you would like to arrive more than a day in advance, or leave later than one day after the Group Retreat has ended, please check in advance with Reception whether room is available. Please apply for more than two extra retreat days in the same way as a Personal Retreat, by submitting a Personal Retreat Application Form.
If arriving early or leaving late, please respect the routine of the House and those engaged in long-term silent retreats, by treating the opportunity as additional silent retreat time, and observing the House Guidelines.
Please pay the Personal Retreat daily rate for any additional time you spend here.
What is the accommodation like?
We offer very simple but comfortable, shared accommodation. Rooms are for two or three, single-sex, usually with people of similar age. Younger retreatants may be in a dormitory of up to six people.
Single Rooms: We have a very limited number of single rooms and these are allocated depending on the needs of the individuals on each retreat. Medical needs are given priority, followed by consideration of age. If you feel that you need a single room, please request this when booking.
Please note: We are unable to meet requests for single rooms that are made on the opening day of retreats. We regret we are unable to guarantee single rooms.
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We welcome people with disabilities. We have a rambling old house, however the ground floor is accessible for people in wheelchairs and those with restricted mobility. If you have any mobility needs please phone Reception who will be happy to provide you with information about the house and discuss your needs whilst on retreat. In some cases a carer may stay free of charge to support a retreatant who needs personal care.
The Meditation Hall is fitted with a hearing loop facility which is compatible with hearing aids.
We have a limited number of camping places for Group Retreats during the summer months. You need to bring all your own camping equipment. Camping is at your own risk and if it rains (as it does at lot in Devon!), sorry, but we cannot accommodate you in the house. For information on rates and availability please contact us.
We offer delicious, healthy and nutritionally balanced vegetarian meals that may include eggs and dairy produce. Breakfast and lunch are substantial meals, with a lighter supper of soup, bread and spreads.
Vegan, non-dairy and wheat-free/gluten-free options are available on request.
A simple diet of a grain, steamed vegetables and plain pulses or tofu can be provided at lunch time, if requested. The ‘simple diet’ is intended to meet the nutritional needs of retreatants whilst being as plain as possible. More about specialised diets.
Please dress modestly, as an expression of respect for this place of spiritual practice – as you would in a church, temple, synagogue or mosque. Comfortable, loose clothes are best for sitting meditation. Indoor shoes, or slippers and good outdoor shoes, boots or wellingtons for walking. Warm clothes are advisable throughout the year: Devon weather can be changeable in any season. A raincoat is essential!
If you do forget to bring outdoor clothing, we have a range of old, communal boots, coats and umbrellas available.
Please bring your own towel – we do not have a large supply here. Toiletries: unscented, please. See the question above for suggestions about clothes. Remember to bring any food supplements or medication you regularly take – enough for the length of your stay. Please bring a watch or clock (which is not your mobile phone). Although there are bells to wake you up and mark activities during the day, having your own watch or clock supports you to turn your mobile phone off.
We have a very small shop containing a small selection of toiletries and first aid supplies, should you run out of these.
All bed linen is provided. Meditation mats, blankets, cushions and benches are also provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.
We request that everyone offers one hour per day, to support our coordinators and help with the running of the house. The work may be washing-up, house cleaning, maintenance, gardening or whatever the house needs at the time.
Please wash up and put away your own mug between meal times – Thankyou!
You are also asked to clean your own room on the day of departure. Gaia House relies on this offering of service to help keep costs down. We are very grateful for your co-operation in this!
If you are unable to do a work session, or can offer only light work, it is important that you let Reception know of your situation when booking.
Retreats @Seale-Hayne do not require a work session.
Mindful movement, such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong, may be practised outdoors at any time, so long as the space of other retreatants is respected. Indoors, please practice only at the designated times and in the designated places – these will be explained on each retreat.
Please refrain from other activities such as playing musical instruments, art and craft work, juggling, acrobatics etc. anywhere on the premises or grounds of Gaia House.
In the spirit of simplicity and silence, Group Retreatants are asked to refrain from reading and writing during your stay here.
Personal Retreatants may read to support your retreat, however you are encouraged to do so with moderation, and only in the library or your bedroom.
All retreatants are asked to remain within the tranquil atmosphere found within the vicinity of Gaia House for the duration of the retreat. Walking in the peace of the local countryside is fine. Experience has shown that it can be very disruptive to the intensive practice of meditation – for oneself and for others – to leave the sensitive retreat environment. Any retreatant who needs to make a trip away from the house is asked to obtain prior agreement from a teacher.
See our list of Meditation Groups (sitting groups).
If you run a meditation group and your details are not featured, please let us know so we can add you to this list. Please keep us informed of any changes, so that we can keep this list up to date.
If you do not have a local Meditation Group and would like to set one up, there is lots of useful information on our help page: Setting up a Meditation Group.
If you live locally, a there is a 6 week Evening Meditation Course run by Gaia House teachers in Newton Abbot.
Sharpham Trust, near Totnes, also run a regular programme of meditation and mindfulness evenings, weekend mornings and courses.
You can listen on-line to a selection of talks from Gaia House teachers. Other talks from meditation retreats at Gaia House are available variously on-line, on CD or on tape. A small donation is requested to cover the basic costs of production and administration.
Gaia House Newsletters are available to read on-line, with regular features and articles of interest. To subscribe for paper copies, please email ku.oc.esuohaiagnull@ofni, tick the box on the registration form when you book a retreat, or send us your name and address, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. To unsubscribe, please email or write.
Please tell us if you change your contact details, so we can keep the mailing list updated.
We protect your privacy – your details are kept on a secure database. Gaia Hose complies with the Data Protection Act and does not supply any information to third parties without your prior consent.
Gaia House endeavours to keep costs as low as possible and aims to be accessible to everyone, regardless of financial circumstances. The Standard Rate set for our retreats reflects the basic costs of providing the facilities, managing and maintaining the centre. Please pay this rate if you are able. Teachings are offered freely by the teachers, many of whom rely on your generosity (Dana) for their livelihood.
The Supported Rate is available to anyone who cannot afford the Standard Rate – just choose the ‘Supported Rate’ option when booking on-line, or by phone. (No financial information required.)
Extra Financial Help from the Retreatant Support Fund is also available where necessary, while other options such as the Young People’s Rate, Summer Camping, Work Retreats or Personal 90 Day Retreat Bursaries may be suitable – please click the links for details.
Gaia House also offers the opportunity to help someone else to go on Retreat by paying the Sponsor Rate. (Please note that the Sponsor Rate includes a donation to the Retreatant Support Fund, which is non-refundable.) More about making donations: Offering Dana.
Rates include delicious vegetarian meals, refreshments and simple, shared accommodation. To help keep rates low, we ask everyone to help out with chores for an hour a day (except Retreats @Seale-Hayne).
See Retreat Rates for more information.
Please refer to the Gaia House Cancellation Policy.
About Silent Retreats: More about the silent Buddhist meditation retreats on offer at Gaia House.
About Personal Retreats: For those with prior experience of silent meditation retreats and an established meditation practice, an extended period of independent, solitary meditation.
About Work Retreats: For robust and healthy individuals with prior experience of silent meditation retreats.
Any member of our reception team will be pleased to answer your questions and help in any way we can. Contact us on 01626 333613 or email ku.oc.esuohaiagnull@ofni. Reception is open Mon – Sat 9.30am until 4.30pm, with telephones given priority 9.30am – 11.30am. At other times, messages can be left and we will get back to you as soon as possible.