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New Year Gathering

A Gaia House online gathering with Kirsten Kratz, Jaya Rudgard and others

Tuesday, 29 December 2020 – Friday, 1 January 2021


For anybody who feels a connection to Gaia House and/or the Insight Meditation tradition. Everyone is welcome to join. There will be less instruction, however, than in a regular retreat, so it will be helpful if you have some practice experience.

The teachers:

Photo of Teacher.KIRSTEN KRATZ has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. She started teaching in 2006. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time; she supports those on personal retreat in Gaia House and is co-initiator of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement: DANCE.



JAYA RUDGARD began meditating in the 1980s and practised for eight years as a nun in the Thai Forest tradition in England with Ven. Ajahn Sumedho as her teacher. She is a graduate of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training and teaches Insight Meditation and mindfulness in the UK and internationally.  She also studies and teaches qigong.

Gathering description

This year the well-loved traditional annual New Year Retreat will not only be online but it will be different in other ways as well.

As always it will be a precious opportunity to practise over the New Year. In our wish to support, nourish and resource you in these challenging times we intend to make it as accessible as possible, for all who would like, to practise with others during this significant time in our yearly rhythm.

Once registered you can participate as much or as little as supports you and suits your circumstances. You may give yourself fully to the programme and take this as an opportunity to be “on retreat” whilst at home, or you may just participate in a couple of sessions.

There will be community sittings, guided meditations, qigong, interactive meditative inquiry, chanting and more. Non-interactive sessions will be recorded so that you can listen in your own time.

On New Year’s Day we will end our gathering with a sowing and planting ritual. Please bring your seeds, seedlings, bulbs or whatever you would like to plant to invite the new, to celebrate life and honour our participation in the mystery.

We hope to be able to livestream some of the sessions for this retreat from the Gaia House Meditation Hall.


All times shown are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Tuesday 29th December

17:00-18:00               Welcome and Orientation

19:30-21:00               Community Practice Period

Wednesday 30th December    (Full moon)

7:00-8:00                   Community Sitting

09:30-10:30               Qigong

11:00-12.00               Guided Meditation

15:00-16:00               Practice Questions – ‘Drop-in Clinic’

17:00-18:00               Guided Meditation

19:30-20:30               Chanting and Prayer Circle

21:00-22:00               Community Sitting

Thursday 31st December New Year’s Eve

7:00-8:00                   Community Sitting

09:30-10:30               Qigong

11:00-12.00               Guided Meditation

15.00-16.00               Community Sitting

17:00-18:00               Guided Meditation

19:30-21:00               Interactive Inquiry Session: The Art of ‘Letting Go’ and ‘Letting In’

21:15-22:00               Community Sitting

Friday 1st January New Year’s Day

7.30 – 8.30                 Community Sitting

10:00-11:00               Qigong

11:30-12:30               Guided Meditation

14:00-15.15               Interactive Inquiry Session: ‘What do we Wish to Cultivate?’

15.30-17.00               Planting / Sowing Ceremony.

Blessings, Dedication, Precepts and Closing

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 practice of generosity)

At the end of your retreat you will be invited to make a voluntary offering of dana / financial support, to support the livelihoods of the teachers who have guided your retreat and help sustain Gaia House into the future. Your registration fee contributes towards Gaia House’s management and support costs and maintenance of our building and grounds. The Dharma teachings of wisdom and compassion are considered priceless, thus the retreat teachers offer their understanding freely. Both Gaia House and the retreat teachers rely on your kindness and generosity, and are deeply grateful for your support.

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

Dana can be offered to both Kirsten and Jaya by clicking here –  referencing your dana “NY Gathering

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 ‘Jaya and Kirsten – NY Gathering’, in the notes section on the checkout page: this will be shared between the teachers.

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


Registration for this gathering is now closed.  Thank you for your interest.