Online Offerings

Online retreats present the rare opportunity to integrate the silent meditation practice whilst still engaging with work, household and family duties. The online offerings seem to help people to open mental space in their daily live to see more clearly into habits and bring more mindfulness, clarity and peace.

Retreats are between one to five days long and the schedule is given before registering. It includes sessions of guided meditation, talks and questions and answers with the teachers. The retreats have a registration fee on a sliding scale so that everyone can pay at a level appropriate to their situation and financial assistance is available for those that may need it.

The Dharma Hall meditation sessions are offered regularly five times each week and last between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes. They are free to join, with the invitation to give a donation to support the teachers, see link here.

Click here for details of our upcoming online retreats

Guidance for Online Retreats and Courses

Online retreats and courses offer the opportunity to practice meditation from your own space with the guidance of experienced teachers and the support of others joining online. It is different from a retreat in person, yet it can be a very powerful and insightful experience given it time to settle into the new format. We have here some information that will help you preparing to participate in online retreats and courses.

If you are not familiar with Zoom, you can get support with learning how to use it by clicking on the link below. You should do this before your retreat or course starts.

https://gaiahouse.co.uk/using-zoom/

How to prepare for an online retreat?

We suggest that you have in mind your plan for the days of our retreat. For example, will you be:

  • Maintaining silence?
  • Continuing with/doing additional sitting and walking meditation?
  • Cultivating an attitude of retreat throughout?

If so, be sure to set up conditions that support you, including discussing with those you share your space at home with.

It would be helpful to plan in advance, using the guidelines below, to simplify as much as you can and set boundaries around what you will and will not engage with. These are skilful ways of creating continuity and settling more deeply into practice and quiet.

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Are online retreats suitable for beginners?
Yes – unless specified in the retreat description, most of our online group retreats are recommended for beginners as well as for more experienced practitioners .

If one is currently experiencing acute emotional distress, such as clinical depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, attending a silent retreat could be difficult. When negative thinking patterns are very intrusive or persistent, sometimes it could be easier to practice in a setting where there are more possibilities for active engagement (such as mindfulness-based stress reduction or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy programmes taught by an appropriately trained and competent instructor). Once the acute phase of emotional distress has eased, Insight Meditation retreats can then offer invaluable opportunities for developing practice further.


Practicalities to consider before an online retreat
  • Arrange your computer or device so you can see and hear well.
  • Make sure you have easy access to the schedule and Zoom links and arrive on time for all the sessions you can attend.
  • If you have to miss any sessions, please check the noticeboard to access recordings of the missed sessions.
  • Think about where you might go to practice any walking meditation.
  • Shop before the retreat if you can so that you don’t have to do this during the retreat. Planning meals in advance may also be helpful.
  • Think about disengaging from unnecessary conversations and interactions: explain to any other people in your household what you will be doing and discuss how they can support you. 

 

Some zoom etiquette

  • It is helpful for us all if we all approach the session as if we are entering a meditation hall: This means we don’t drink or eat or walk in and out during the session. It also supports us all to maintain an engaged presence during the sessions, rather than treating them like a programme we are watching passively. Although we are online, the presence we each bring will support us.
  • Please keep your microphone muted (we will help with that), unless we invite you to unmute it. This helps eliminate background noise that will be heard by everyone.
  • It is supportive for your fellow participants and teachers if you leave your camera on when you are sitting in front of your computer. This gives a sense of sitting together, instead of simply viewing names on a screen. But if you have need to turn it off due to distractions in your camera view, are meditating away from your screen, or simply do not want to turn it on, that is also ok.
  • Please don’t move the computer around with the video on. If you need to move rooms or step away from the screen, please turn off the video. It is less distracting and allows us collectively to have a more settled feel.
  • Likewise, if you find you are interrupted by another being (person or pet), please turn off your video to avoid being a distraction. And turn it back on when things have settled again.

What is the role of the teachers on a group retreat?
The teachers provide guidance through meditation instruction, talks, and sometimes small 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 question and answer periods. More about Gaia House teachers.

How do I find out what each retreat is about - and how do I book?
Clicking on the title of a retreat within our Group Retreat Programme will provide a description of the retreat and a brief biography of the teacher(s), along with details of dates and retreat rates. From here you can opt to book a place via our online booking system.

For more information on booking please click here 

More about the different types of retreat that Gaia House offers

Hopefully most questions you may have are answered on this website. However, if you have any other queries, please contact us, and we will be happy to help you.