Embodying the Awakened Heart – residential retreat

Friday, 22 October – Thursday, 28 October 2021 (6 nights)

With Yanai Postelnik and assisted by River Wolton

This retreat is now full with a long waiting list. We aren’t currently taking bookings for this retreat.

Teacher

YANAI POSTELNIK first encountered the teachings of the Buddha while travelling in Asia in 1989, and has been teaching Insight Meditation and Buddhist practice internationally for 30 years. Yanai is much inspired by the Thai forest tradition, and the transformative power of the natural world. He is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council, and a Core Faculty member of Insight Meditation Society, Massachusetts. Since 2018 Yanai has devoted a significant amount of his time to activism and nonviolent civil disobedience, calling for an appropriate response by government, to the climate, ecological and social justice emergency of our time. Having grown up in New Zealand, with parents of European and Asian heritage, Yanai lives with his wife Catherine McGee in Devon, England.

Listen to one of Yanai Postelnik's Talks given at Gaia House on 02.09.2013: The Art of Unknowing (Duration 61:05)

Assisted by:

RIVER WOLTON attended her first Insight Meditation retreat in 2000, and subsequently helped to establish Sheffield Insight Meditation. She is a Community Dharma Leader authorised by Gaia House Teacher Council, and has completed Dharma Teacher Training with Bodhi College. A former Derbyshire Poet Laureate, she has led writing and arts projects for many years, and is an activist in the LGBTQI+ community.

To listen to some of River's previous talks and meditations please click here.

Experience required

All levels of experience are welcome.

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. There will be full meditation instructions, talks, Loving-kindness practice and regular meetings with the Teachers.

Rates

Please consider paying at the highest rate that you are able to. Your generosity is vital in supporting Gaia House to sustain its Dharma offerings for the benefit of all.

We are committed to ensuring that our programme is available to everyone who wishes to participate. If our rates are too high for you, we invite you to apply for support from our Financial Assistance and Bursaries Fund (FAB Fund).

Standard Rate:£498Includes a donation to the General Fund, which will help sustain Gaia House into the future
Basic Rate:£384Covers the very basic costs of running the retreat
Supported Rate:£318A subsidised rate to support practice
Young Persons Rate:£115For more details please see the Financial Assistance page
FAB Fund Rate:£192For more details please see the Financial Assistance page

Dana/generosity

None of your registration fee goes to the teacher. Gaia House teachers rely on the generosity of students for their livelihood. At the end of the retreat, there is an opportunity to make a dana offering to your teacher(s), the residential service team and Gaia House’s General and FAB Funds. We are deeply grateful for your generosity.

Click here to read more about the practice of dana.

Gaia House and covid-19

We hope to make everyone's retreat at Gaia House as supportive as possible.

Many aspects of the retreat set-up and retreat environment will be familiar and well-known, and others may be new. As the conditions and guidelines are constantly changing, we are remaining flexible and will be reviewing what is needed at the time of each retreat. Prior to your retreat, we will send some more information about what to expect whilst at Gaia House.

From 22nd April 2022 onwards we plan to offer shared rooms again, the exact configuration of rooms will depend on the covid situation and the government guidelines at the time.

A limited number of single rooms will be available. Requests for single rooms must be made at the time of booking and cannot be guaranteed. Priority is given to those with specific medical needs and age considerations.

Please click here for more detailed information on how we are creating as supportive and safe a retreat environment as possible under the covid regulations that may still be in place.

Please note:
  • If you have covid-19 symptoms during your retreat you will be able to stay in isolation for a limited period. However, we need you to have a plan in place to enable you to continue your isolation away from Gaia House, if you have travelled by public transport you will need a friend or family member to collect you.

Arrival and departure times

  • Arrive for registration between 2.00pm-4.45pm on the opening day.
  • Depart after 12.30pm on the final day (or 1.30pm if staying for lunch).
Please note:
  • We will need everyone to commit to the full duration of their retreat; early or late arrivals won’t be possible at this time. Extra nights will also not be possible.

Building work during 2022

To support more socially-distanced retreats in the short term and our development into the future, we are excited to have completed our new shower block, while work on our new Dartmoor Wing is progressing well. These two new buildings will double the number of single rooms and shower/toilet spaces we can offer to group retreatants, enabling our site to catch up with the vast numbers of people now visiting Gaia House each year, and help us increase accessibility. We will take all possible care to minimise disruption by scheduling noisier work to take place between retreats. However, there may be some noise at Gaia House during this time.

Cancellation terms & conditions

If you find it necessary to cancel your booking because of a positive covid-19 test, a full refund will be available. Please note this does not include any travel costs you may have incurred. In all other circumstances, our standard cancellation terms and conditions apply. If there is an outbreak of covid within the residential staff community, the retreat may be closed early, however, a refund will be offered for the remaining days of the retreat if this occurs.

 

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