A Mindfulness retreat allows us to take a few days to step out of everyday life, to regenerate, re-align, re-balance and enable ourselves to see more clearly so we can act more wisely. A retreat is an excellent “way in” to begin or strengthen spiritual practice. An A Way In retreat is both similar to and different from other Mindfulness retreats.
What should I expect?
Central to the retreat are teachings and guidance from Rabbi Yael Levy. Rabbi Yael’s online teachings include inspired interpretations of Jewish texts and the application of teachings from the Torah to the practice of Mindfulness. An in-person, interactive connection, not only with Rabbi Yael but also with the other participants in the retreat, makes for a significantly-enhanced, meaningful experience.
During retreats, as with her written teachings, Rabbi Yael focuses less on the mechanics of Mindfulness meditation itself and more on using Mindfulness techniques to deepen spiritual practice in a Jewish context.
Is the retreat completely silent?
While participants commit to significant periods of silence during the retreats, including during meals, an A Way In retreat includes opportunities to sing as part of celebrating Shabbat and holidays. In addition, there are opportunities each day to share short reflections with the group.
What else is offered?
A Way In retreats often include yoga inspired by Jewish texts taught by a certified yoga instructor, as well as “body prayer,” simple gentle yoga-style flow movements to express the intention of chanted psalm verses or prayers.
What is the Focus of an A Way In Retreat?
There are two types of A Way In retreats: most are over weekends and focus on a theme suggested by the Jewish calendar. In the month of Elul in late summer, it is preparing ourselves for Yamim Noraim, the High Holydays. The spring retreat focuses on Passover and Counting the Omer. A recent retreat focused on the spiritual and meditative practices of Shabbat.
The annual Omer/Shavuot retreat is a five-day experience at Ghost Ranch retreat center outside Abiquiu in northern New Mexico and involves more time outdoors, including easy-to-moderate hiking. (Rabbi Yael is an experienced hiker and backpacker.)
No matter what the theme, the primary focus is on prayer, meditation and opening our awareness.
Can I come with my partner or choose my own roommate?
Yes, partners and registrants are welcome to share rooms. If you would like a roommate, we offer a roommate match and will be happy to answer questions about the process.
What is included in the price?
The fee includes support for Rabbi Yael’s teachings and leadership, room, three meals daily and snacks. The fee does not include airfare or ground transportation.
What is the refund policy?
We try to work with you. Refunds cannot be guaranteed once our final count is submitted to the facility, generally approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the start date.
Do you have to be Jewish to go on an A Way In retreat?
All are welcome to participate. You do not have to be Jewish, but the retreat experience assumes a familiarity with basic Jewish traditions. A Way In Mindfulness and meditation practices are grounded in Torah, Psalms and teachings from the Jewish mystical tradition. There is a wide variety of personal spiritual beliefs among participants.
If you have concerns about your readiness, whether Jewish or not, contact Rabbi Yael to discuss.
Do you need previous meditation or Mindfulness experience?
It helps, but more important is an openness to exploration.
What are the accommodations like?
It depends on the retreat center: they all offer comfortable sleeping accommodations, with options for double occupancy and some with private baths. All are in natural settings. On weekend retreats, the food is vegetarian with vegan and gluten-free options.
At Ghost Ranch, all meals are cafeteria-style and prepared for general visitors, so offerings usually include meat. Vegetarian and vegan options are always available.
Do you arrange group transportation?
Transportation to Ghost Ranch: A Way In hires a group van to drive participants to Ghost Ranch from the Albuquerque airport on the first day of the retreat and back to the airport on the day of departure. If you are extending your stay before or after the retreat, you also are welcome to participate in our group transport to or from the airport. Registrants are asked to schedule flight arrival by 1 p.m. on the start day and depart no earlier than 3 p.m. on the last day. The cost varies, depending on how many individuals participate. It’s generally been between $70-$90 round trip.
For weekend retreats, we distribute a list of participants, including zip codes, to encourage carpooling.
Any More Questions?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org