• The Heart of Wisdom and Kindness Silent Retreat

    6-night Silent CPD Retreat for Experienced Meditators, Mindfulness Teacher Trainees and Established Teachers

    Spring: Saturday 9th February at 16.00hrs to Friday 15th February (departure after breakfast) AND

    Late summer: Thursday 26th September at 16.00hrs to Wednesday 2nd October (departure after breakfast)

    Venue: Hotel Tossa d’ Altea in Altea, Costa Blanca, Spain

    With Kathy Ward and Julia Emes.

    This teacher-led silent retreat offers a safe and supportive environment in which to deepen and extend secular mindfulness meditation practice. It provides an opportunity to deeply tune in to our inner processes, exploring the ways we react to experience and how we might practise kindness towards our moment to moment experience and cultivate wisdom.

    This silent retreat is specifically designed to meet the retreat needs of those on a Mindfulness Teacher Training Pathway and it meets the Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness Teachers. Established teachers who have taken preliminary teacher training and have taught several mindfulness-based courses and more experienced teachers wishing to deepen their connection to the core underpinnings of mindfulness as it is taught in the eight-week course are also very welcome to attend. 

    The silent retreat is also suitable for those who have taken an 8-week mindfulness course and who wish to deepen their practice (a minimum of one year's meditation experience following the 8- week course is required) No previous retreat experience is required as full teacher support is available.

    The silent retreat provides an opportunity to engage in both individual and collective exploration of direct experience and supports a growing understanding of mindfulness as a way of 'being' in the world founded on the quality of kindness. The silent retreat is structured and facilitated with the intention of providing a nourishing and supportive environment in which to build on your foundation of mindfulness. This experience is enriched by the sense of co-journeying that comes from practising in a group setting.  

  • What’s involved?

    We will deepen our personal and experiential engagement with the core meditation practices taught on an 8-week mindfulness-based course and with the theoretical understandings that underpin them.

     In particular, the retreat is structured around the four ways of establishing mindfulness (body, feelings, mind and the objects of the mind) and an exploration of the four heart qualities (love, compassion, joy and equanimity) known as the “four friends for life” in secular Mindfulness and the “Brahmaviharas” in Buddhist psychology. These teachings will be offered as a framework to support our direct exploration of experience in both formal and informal mindfulness practice.

    The retreat themes, teaching, practice guidance and explorations, whilst having their roots in Buddhist psychology, will be presented in terms of their application to secular mindfulness courses such as MBSR and MBCT. There will be a particular emphasis on developing the capacity to embody the teachings and practise within our own experience, which is a foundation for enabling us to teach them skillfully to others.

  • The Silent Retreat will include:

    • Periods of both guided core practices and self-directed practice
    • Short talks
    • Optional small group inquiry and individual meetings with the teachers
    • Time to practise mindfulness informally between meditation sessions and short morning mindfulness of routine activities where individuals can contribute to the tidying and cleaning of shared meditation spaces and their own rooms.

    The retreat will be held within an overall container of silence, enabling space to connect with experience and a chance to be in community with like-minded people without the need to be anyone in particular. There will also be opportunities for sharing and connecting and the teachers will be available to talk to people individually.

    The expected learning outcomes include:

    • Deepening knowledge of the four foundations of mindfulness (body, feelings, mind, objects of the mind) 
    • Deepening knowledge of the Four Ennobling Truths: suffering (understanding) craving (letting go) liberation (realising) and cultivating the path.
    • Deepening knowledge of the four friends for life: love, compassion, joy, equanimity (Brahmaviharas)
    • Deepening confidence and clarity in experientially engaging with the four foundations of developing mindfulness.
    • Deepening of experiential familiarity with the four friends for life and how they can be supported by the core attitudinal qualities of mindfulness.
    • Deepening of experiential familiarity with personal patterns and conditioned tendencies, how we meet these and how this relates to human struggle and flourishing
    • Development of understanding of how the four foundations of mindfulness and four friends for life relate to both distress and wellbeing; and how together with the Four Ennobling Truths they underpin the curriculum and practices of MBSR and MBCT
    • Experience of the value of being part of a supportive community
  • Who is the Silent Retreat for?

    The retreat is suitable for the following people:

    • Those who have taken an eight-week mindfulness course who wish to deepen their practice. A minimum of one year's meditation experience following the course is required
    • Those who are training to teach mindfulness-based courses. 
    • Established mindfulness-based teachers

    This retreat will enable mindfulness teachers who wish to be included on the UK Network Listing of Mindfulness Teachers to fulfil the requirement to attend an annual mindfulness retreat as part of the Good Practice Guidelines (GPG).

  • Silent Retreat timings:

    Please arrive by 4 pm for orientation and 'taking tea' This is then followed by the opening ceremony and welcome dinner. The retreat finishes at 7.30pm on the last day followed by a special closing dinner. For those staying at the Hotel Tossa d'Altea, check out is after breakfast the following day.

    Sample daily silent retreat schedule:

    • 07.30 - 08.30 Practice - seated and mindful movement choices practice (own silent group practice)
    • 08.30 - 09.30 Breakfast
    • 09.30 - 10.00 Mindfulness of routine activities
    • 10.00 - 13.00 Practice - Short talk on the Four Enobling Truths or Foundations of Mindfulness and spacious MBSR guiding
    • 13.00 - 15.30 Lunch and free time
    • 15.30 - 17.00 Practice - Spacious MBSR guiding and silent meditation practice
    • 17.00 - 17.30 Taking Tea
    • 17.30 - 18.30 Optional Group/Individual meetings
    • 18.45 - 19.00 Short talk - "The four friends for life"
    • 19.00 - 19.30 Practice - Silent Meditation
    • 20.00 - Dinner
    • (19.30 - 20.00 Optional individual) meetings

    Overnight silence

  • Weather permitting, on one of the days, there will be an invitation to join us for a mindful walk through the Sierra Helada National Park with its stunning sea and coastal views.

  • What to bring/wear:

    The Meditation room

    Mats, bolsters, cushions, blankets and blocks will be provided. Please feel free to also bring along any of your personal items/props that will further support your comfort and practice.

    Please bring comfortable clothing for sitting, walking and mindful movement. For light sleepers sharing a room, we suggest you bring earplugs and an eye mask. Bath towels are provided, however, please bring a towel for swimming.

    The average daytime temperature in February is 16 degrees C with blue skies. Night time temperature can drop to 6 degrees C. The average sea temperature will be 14 degrees C. The month is often dry but there may be the occasional rain shower, so it's advisable to bring a coat.

    The average daytime temperature in September is 27 degrees C, night temperatures drop to 18 degrees. The sea will be around 24 degrees so it is a wonderful time of year to visit.

  • MED Talks and Workshops 1-day CPD Event Friday 15th February:

    To further support the ongoing professional development of both existing Mindfulness Teachers and those in training, an optional MED Talks and Workshops 1 day CPD event takes place on Friday 15th. Inspired by TED Talks, MED stands for Mindfulness, Exploration and Development. Expect a day filled with short talks and workshops to support your continued development as a mindfulness teacher including  trauma-sensitive mindfulness and deepening teaching skills.

    The day will start with silent meditation at 7am and finish at 7.30pm. This non-residential CPD is 50 euros and free of charge for people attending the Silent Retreat. Optional single accommodation is available at the Hotel Tossa d’ Altea on Friday night.

  • Location:

    This retreat is held at the 4-star Hotel Tossa d' Altea a 300 year old olive mill in the picture postcard Mediterranean town of Altea. The same family has owned the mill for generations and has lovingly restored this ancient building into a comfortable 4-star hotel with just 22 rooms, keeping many of its original features. Familiar and experience  with hosting meditation and yoga events, Manuel and his small team look forward to supporting our practice and silence.

    The hotel is located just 500 meters from the charming 'Casco Antiguo' (old town) with its traditional white-washed houses and cobbled streets. The hotel has views of the mountains and sea and is located at the point where the Spanish countryside meets the town, providing us with the perfect spot for meditation whilst being a short ten-minute walk away from the old town and 25-minute walk to the beach - both locations providing ideal settings for mindful walking and practicing 'just being'

  • Spring and late Summer Residential prices:

    A double room

    Two Residential options:

    • 6 nights SHARED accommodation (2 to a room) with ensuite bathroom (subject to availability):
      • Full Board €867
      • Half Board  €777
    • 6 nights SINGLE accommodation with ensuite bathroom:
      • Full Board €972
      • Half Board  €882
    • Extra nights are also available

    What’s included in the price:

    • 6 nights accommodation at the 4-star Hotel Tossa d’ Altea in either a twin or single on-suite room as booked.
      • The full board is buffet breakfast, 2-course lunch and 3-course evening meal with water.
      • Half Board is a buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal with water.
      • The hotel can cater for vegetarians, gluten free etc, please advise at the time of booking. 
    • 5 Days retreat schedule (Spring Sunday - Thursday, late Summer Friday - Tuesday) including optional private meetings with the teachers
    • 1st evening orientation, opening the circle meditation and optional 7 am meditation on the 6th day
    • Welcome dinner and special Valentine's dinner on Thursday 14th February or closing dinner on Tuesday 1st October
    • Afternoon ‘taking tea’ 
    • Optional MED Talks and Workshops on Friday 15th February (free for those attending the Silent Retreat)
  • Spring and late Summer Non-residential price:

    For those choosing to find their own accommodation, this retreat is an opportunity to deepen and refresh personal mindfulness practice whilst offering the possibility of finding accommodation to suit your requirements and budget. Altea has everything from Hostels and AirBnB to other Hotels. The nearby Hostel Fornet would be worth checking.

    Non-residential retreats are an established way of deepening and broadening one’s mindfulness practice. They invite you to maintain a retreat way of 'being' in your chosen accommodation between the days of the retreat itself so as to cultivate a continuous practice over the 5 days.

    Standard price: €587

    Subsidized price: €420

    Price options:  

    Subsidized Rate - This is a self-select funded rate whereby your place will be financially supported.  Please only select this rate if you are in receipt of benefits or would find it otherwise inaccessible to attend due to the fee. We will not ask for evidence of benefits or income at this stage but may ask for evidence to support your claim in the future.   

    Standard Rate - This is the market rate for this type of event and the rate we ask you to select if you are able.

    What’s included in the non-residential price 

    • 5 Days retreat schedule including optional private meetings with the teachers
    • 1st evening retreat schedule and 7 am meditation on the 6th day.
    • 5 days Breakfast and lunch
    • Welcome dinner on arrival day and special Valentine's or closing dinner on the last day
    • Afternoon ‘taking tea’ and water
    • Optional MED Talks and Workshops on Friday 15th February 
  • How to apply:

  • The Application Process:

    The Retreat group will be small so early booking is essential. 

    Our application and payment process involves the following steps:

    1. Complete and return the application form, which is then assessed to ensure that this retreat is suitable for you. We normally reply within 24 hours (Monday - Friday).  

    2. To secure your space, we will then invoice you for the nonrefundable deposit of 200 euros. Your space is fully confirmed once we receive this payment.

    3.  The balance is due one month before the retreat.

    4. For those staying at the retreat venue the Hotel Tossa d'Altea, accommodation payment is on departure allowing you to spread the cost of the retreat.

    5. We will email you the joining instructions in advance of the retreat.

    Payment and Cancellation Policy:

    Please read our Terms and Conditions for information regarding payments and cancellations

    For more information:

    Please email us at [email protected]