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Silent Retreats

In MBSR and MBCT  we are teaching a sustained practice over time, so it is important that the teacher has “walked the talk” in terms of having their own personal regular practice and also undertaken intensive periods of practice in a silent retreat setting.  Jon Kabat-Zinn recommends that people have a practice for 2 – 3 years before they begin teaching others. 

Regarding retreat experience for mindfulness  teachers, the Center for Mindfulness, UMass, advises:

Because inquiry into the nature of mind, emotions, and reality is essential for MBSR teachers, it is important that you have a deep and extensive grounding in mindfulness meditation practice, as it is expressed within both traditional as well as more mainstream contexts. MBSR is an example of a vehicle for embodying and transmitting mindfulness practice in its most universal expression.
Your engagement in a personal daily practice of mindfulness meditation, as well as silent, teacher-led retreats – in the spirit of deepening your practice and cultivating your ongoing education – will strengthen your understanding of what it means to be a fully prepared and qualified MBSR teacher. Ultimately, it is the depth of your own personal commitment to learning, growing and healing – as well as a dedication to the well-being of others – that will contribute most to your integrity and effectiveness as a teacher. Oasis, CFM website

We invite you to read this article by Jon Kabat-Zinn about the foundations of mindfulness-based programs and the importance of the teacher's personal practice supported by retreat experience:  Some reflections on the origins of MBSR, Skillful Means and the Trouble with Maps.

Initially we ask that you undertake at least one silent, teacher-led retreat of 5 – 7 days  as a central part of your development and training. This kind of immersion in the practice makes it possible to engage skilfully with the kinds of dilemmas and questions that people bring to class. It also develops one's own personal qualities of acceptance, patience, trust, non-striving, letting be and stability of mind.  After you have attended the Intensive we ask that you attend another silent retreat before or alongside beginning to teach, as teaching mindfulness- based interventions is never a matter of operationalising techniques but emerges from your integration and understanding of the practice.   Part of the personal and professional development requirements of mindfulness teachers involves participating in silent retreats in an ongoing way.
MBSR and MBCT are based on Insight (Vipassana ) meditation, and insight meditation retreats are widely available in Australia. While we recognise the value of retreats in other contemplative traditions, in order to meet the requirements of the training pathway, retreats must be intensive, silent, teacher-led retreats where the focus is on the practice of mindfulness meditation.   
Here is a list of websites which we hope will facilitate your research of finding suitable retreats.  Not all of the retreats listed below are suitable for the prerequisite and your learning as an MBI teacher. We strongly encourage you to be in touch with the Admissions Advisor to discuss your needs and interests before booking an initial retreat for yourself.