0 Items
Select Page

Embodying the Awakened Heart

A Gaia House online retreat with Yanai Postelnik and Leela Sarti,
assisted by River Wolton

Saturday 7.00 pm, 17 October – Thursday 9.00 pm, 22 October 2020


For anybody who has experience of attending retreats in the Insight Meditation / Vipassana traditions: you are warmly invited to join this online retreat if you would like to spend some days with others who share a love of silence and stillness and who feel drawn to the Buddha’s teachings and sacred practices of deepening in wisdom and compassion. Together we will engage with these precious resources for meeting our world and holding our hearts, in the midst of the uncertainties and challenges we face, while exploring the power of embodied wakefulness and cultivating a wise and openhearted connection with life.

The teachers:

Photo of TeacherYANAI POSTELNIK has practised and studied Insight Meditation and Buddhism since 1990 and has been teaching internationally for over 25 years. He is much inspired by the Thai forest tradition and the transformative power of the natural world. Yanai is a Core Faculty member of Insight Meditation Society, Massachusetts, and he lives with his wife Catherine McGee in Devon, England.



Photo of TeacherLEELA SARTI has been a student of the Buddha’s teachings and practices since she was 16 years old. She lives with her family in Sweden and in addition to teaching Insight Meditation retreats internationally works individually with students in her psychotherapy practice in Stockholm. She is a long term student of the Diamond Approach and part of a teacher training program in that tradition.

Assisted by:


RIVER WOLTON has practised Insight Meditation since 2000, is a co-founder of Sheffield Insight Meditation, a Community Dharma Leader authorised by Gaia House Teacher Council, and a student on the Bodhi College Teacher Training Programme. A published poet, she teaches creative writing in schools and community projects, and is an activist in LGBTQI+ and refugee communities.

Retreat description

At the heart of the Buddha’s teachings is the real possibility of awakening: our innate potential to discover inner peace and freedom, and to embody the unobstructed openness that is our deepest truth. This retreat will explore the art of Insight Meditation as an invitation to be authentic with our experience, to relax into an intimate relationship with the depth of our being, and to cultivate a genuine kind-heartedness towards ourselves and all of life. In learning to trust our life we can come to abide in the wide-open heart of awakened presence.


This online retreat in your home will include daily periods of meditation instruction, guided meditation practice, and Dharma reflections as well as time for sharing together as a sangha/community and opportunities for meeting with the teachers.

The format will support all who wish to attend the scheduled group sessions while continuing to be engaged with your ongoing life at home, and also those wishing to practice formally in a sustained way throughout the days.

Joining this retreat will require your commitment to attending the opening and closing sessions Saturday 17th 7-8:30pm and Thursday 22nd 7-9pm (or listening to the recordings) and to attend the regular teaching sessions scheduled at 9:30am, 2:30pm and 7:00pm each day, as fully as you are able. You are invited to participate wholeheartedly, while understanding that what is possible for you will vary according to your situation.


All times are British Summer Time (GMT +1)

Saturday, 17 October
7:00pm-8:30pm Retreat opening
9:00pm-9:30pm Meditation — chanting / dedication
Sunday – Wednesday (18 -21 October)
7:00am-7:45am Silent meditation together
9:30am-11:00am      Reflections, instructions, meditation
11:30am-12:15pm Group meetings
2:30pm-4:00pm   Guided meditation / Questions and Comments
4:30pm-5:15pm Group meetings
7:00pm-8:30pm       Meditation and Dharma teachings
9:00pm-9:30pm       Meditation (chanting / dedication)
Thursday, 22 October
7:00am-7:45am Silent meditation together
9:30am-11:00am      Reflections, instructions, meditation
11:30am-12:15pm Group meetings
2:30pm-4:00pm   Guided meditation / Questions and Comments
4:30pm-5:15pm Group meetings
7:00pm-9:00pm   Closing talk and sharing


Using Zoom

This online retreat will use the Zoom platform. For support with learning how to use Zoom, please click here to read the guidance we’ve put together on our website. Please read the first section, ‘Using Zoom’, before registering.


If you have any questions regarding the retreat, you can send an email to info@gaiahouse.co.uk We will respond as quickly as possible, but we have a reduced team during this time so we apologise if you have to wait longer than usual:

Dana (the spirit of generosity and care)

In our tradition we do not charge for offering teachings, and it is a joy and a privilege for us to be able to offer our retreat in this way, on a dana basis. It communicates in a direct and robust way the spirit and beauty of this teaching tradition. You have the opportunity to practice generosity as well by supporting the teachers and Gaia House.  This particular year has been challenging for many people and we ask you to bring extra care to the process of offering dana. Your contribution directly supports us and our families. It also supports the continuation of this teaching tradition over time. According to your life circumstances, we are grateful for your generosity and support. We will reflect further on the practice of dana towards the end of the retreat.

You can find out more about the practice of dana by clicking here.

Your registration fee contributes towards Gaia House’s management and support costs and maintenance of our building and grounds.

Dana can be offered to the teachers collectively by clicking here –  referencing your dana “GH Retreat

Dana can also be offered to Gaia House or the teachers through the Gaia House website:  If you are offering dana to the teachers please choose Teachers and then specify that your donation is for ‘Embodying the Awakened Heart retreat’, in the notes section on the checkout page.  All Teacher Dana received via the PayPal link and the GH website, will be shared between Leela, Yanai and River.

With deep appreciation for your generosity and support.

Well-being guidelines - please click here to read before booking

Before you book, please read these guidelines about mental well-being and silent retreats:

Meditation retreats can be very nourishing; however, as they require sustained meditation practice, they also need some stability of psychological health. If you have recently (within the past year or so) experienced significant trauma or psychiatric illness, or if you are currently experiencing acute emotional distress such as serious depression or anxiety, it may not be the best time for you to participate in a retreat. The teachers might not be able to give you the kind of individual psychological care you need at this time. A setting with more opportunities for interpersonal engagement may be more appropriate.

  • If you are currently under the care of a mental health professional, please discuss your attendance with them. You should be in a relatively stable period of mental well-being and have adequate psychological resilience.
  • If you have any questions about this, please contact Susanne using the email address, retreatmanager@gaiahouse.co.uk

Registrations for this retreat are now closed.