Learning Retreats

Learn. Practice. Shift. Sustain.

Learning retreats incorporate learning, and embodying the skills needed for Relationship-Centered Care, Equity, and Healing Informed (Trauma-Informed) Care. 

Events include guided mindfulness practices, professional skills learning, and interactive exercises in restorative settings.

Learning retreats will include Continuing Education for related professions, including CERPS, CEs, CEUS, and CMEs, but may be in approval process.  Connect with us for details and updates.

Learning Retreat FAQs

Learning retreats incorporate learning, and embodying the skills needed for Relationship-Centered Care, Equity, and Healing Informed (Trauma-Informed) Care.  Events include guided mindfulness practices, professional skills learning, and interactive exercises in restorative settings.

Upcoming Learning Retreats

Our need to learn and to connect hasn't changed, even as it is more challenging to have in-person learning events. More than ever, health professionals deserve support to prevent burnout and need tools to serve others with equity, safety, and compassion. Check out our current online learning opportunities.

Learning retreats allow time to both take in information, to build a learning community through experiential exercises, but also to practice mindful awareness with support from a retreat environment.

While you may have free time during a learning retreat, your leaders are creating a supported environment for self-reflection that will encompass the duration of the learning retreat. You will be invited to refrain from being on devices, fitting in work responsibilities, and using cell phones, and also to refrain from alcohol or mood altering substances and otherwise to make some choices that create safety within the group, such as refraining from sexual advances, taking photos, and maintaining confidentiality. In many cases, throughout much of a given day, you'll be encouraged to practice silence, and to minimize distractions.

The invitation for a retreat is to turn inward. When we add learning, we still maintain an atmosphere of collected attention, compassion, respect, dignity, and the qualities of embodied mindfulness upon which our programs are built.

We'll typically create a window of time where you can relax, enjoy the area, and to plan your own activities. Schedules and agendas will come in advance of the event, and you're welcome to check with us if you have yet to receive them.

If you've attended mindfulness retreats, the learning sections might feel unfamiliar and you may find it interesting to shift into connection with others during our interactions.  Keep in mind that we are practicing relational mindfulness. So, just as we move from sitting to walking meditation in a typical mindfulness retreat, we will move into interactions with one another with the aim of holding our present moment attention.

If you're accustomed to workshop experiences, you'll be experiencing a new way of learning!  You'll be invited to practice mindfulness meditation and other practices of awareness alongside the opportunity to encounter new ideas and skills.  When we slow down and pay attention, we can start to even become aware of what it's like to learn, and what our habits and conditioning maybe in learning environments.  We may notice that our desire to jump in has an underlying quality of nervousness or discomfort with not-knowing. We may make any number of discoveries about who we are, and we may find it disconcerting.  The healing, supportive and safe environment that we create together allows for this vulnerability and self-discovery.

Check each event for the CE, CME, or CERP certificates that will be available. Learning retreats are designed to meet the professional learning needs of various professions.

Unless specified, learning retreats will be welcoming to beginning practitioners and experienced meditators alike. However, when we ask about your experience, please answer honestly. If we feel it to be of benefit, we sometimes will offer an introductory session to answer questions and to set you up for a great experience. We aim to provide trauma-informed practices at any of our events but there are times when putting yourself into a retreat experience might not be a great fit for you. See "Mindfulness risks and benefits."

A regular practice of mindfulness meditation is a helpful stress buffer, and has been shown to support emotional regulation, decrease emotional reactivity, increase coping and resiliency, and is associated with reductions in symptoms for chronic pain patients, improvements in blood pressure, reduced risks for heart attacks, is positively associated with weight management, and with decreases in symptoms of depression/anxiety and relapse in major depression. Researchers even have discovered that meditators have changes in their brains that are aligned with greater attention, less emotional reactivity, and increased empathy. Even changes in our DNA have been discovered. Longer telomeres, found in the DNA of meditators, is associated with a reduction in stress-related aging processes.
Mindful self-compassion practices, which we also implement in our programs have a myriad of benefits, and markers for compassion towards others also increases our health and wellbeing. Our aim at WisdomWay institute is to enhance our capacity to be there for others by being in compassionate presence with our own experience. Mindfulness meditation is a big part of cultivated the awareness that is needed to be with ourselves and others in helpful and skillful ways.

However, these benefits come from ongoing practice. The opposite of quick-fix, mindfulness practices are designed to give us the tools to live our lives with ever greater awareness. Our usual habits of checking out or outmoded coping strategies tend to fall away the more we practice.

But letting go of unhelpful coping to replace it with alternatives isn't always easy. Mindfulness meditation sometimes causes emotional distress, or we may become more aware of our physical discomforts, because we are inviting ourselves to stay WITH our experience, rather than 'fixing' or changing or escaping it. Over time, meditators tend to develop a way of getting less caught up in cognitions based on threat or avoidance, or identifying with our experience as 'who we are.' This ultimately serves the healing process, but needs to be approached with caution when we are experiencing activation of trauma, or emotional instability. Those who have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, or PTSD are encouraged to pursue more supported experiences integrated with their mental health providers, and our events would not be appropriate first experiences with mindfulness meditation.

Our learning retreats include the invitation to walk, to stretch, to do gentle movement along with guided sitting practices. If yoga is incorporated, it will be specified in the event description. All are designed to be gentle and not strenuous. You will be invited to participate within your comfort and ability level. For issues of accessibility, we choose facilities the best we can, but do connect directly with our host location if you have any questions and tell them about your needs as you make your reservation.

We specify for each event which meals are included. We plan our menu based on guest preferences and needs if we get enough notice to do so. Please register early to ensure that your meal requests can be accommodated.

When a retreat is identified as residential, we have secured a limited number of rooms for guests to stay at our host facility. Options, when available, will be listed, and you'll see the cost for both non-residential options, and often more than one residential option (see "What are the accommodations?") When our residential spaces are filled, your housing, should you be staying overnight in the area, is your responsibility.

Not all multi-day events are residential so look carefully and call if you have questions.

For residential retreats, we will describe the type of accommodations available and will list available options. Often we will have private & shared rooms.. All are limited, so register early to be sure to get your preferred type of room. We select sites that have a range of options whenever possible for comfort, accessibility and budget. We recommend that you visit our host's website and connect with them directly to discuss any questions or concerns about the facility itself.

We hold our learning retreats in various places, and consider accessibility. However, please be sure to tell us on our registration form what your needs may be so we can put you in touch with the facilities hosts to be sure that that particular venue will be comfortable for you. Our registration form also gives you an opportunity to identify dietary needs. If we need to have any further conversations to clarify, we will be in touch.

In residential events, family members can reach the facility if there is a need to reach you and your phone is off. We encourage phones to be turned off during our events, so planning ahead with your family members and work contacts is advised.