Home Retreat Guidelines

Preparing for Your Retreat

  1. Setting up your retreat space
  • If possible, establish a dedicated place for your retreat, such as a specific room in your home, or a particular area of your living space. Your place of retreat should be relatively quiet and free from distractions. 
  • Ensure that you have reliable internet access in your retreat space so that you can access IMS Online during the program sessions.
  • Identify a convenient area that is suitable for walking meditation. This may be a walkway within your retreat space, a hallway outside your retreat room, or even an outdoor location. If you choose an outdoor location, it is preferable to avoid street crossings and areas of heavy vehicular or foot traffic.
  • Select an adjacent location that is suitable for mindful movement (if applicable to your retreat or your personal needs). Prepare the space in advance by arranging props, mats, chairs or any other accessories you may need for your selected movement practice.
  • Before the retreat begins, sit in your practice space, settle yourself internally, and set an intention for the retreat. You may want to write it down. This will help you commit to the practice and support you through anything that might arise during the course of the home retreat.
  1. Meals
  • If possible, do all shopping and time consuming food preparation before your retreat begins.
  • Select simple foods for the retreat period, like those you might receive if you were visiting IMS.
  • Consider writing a meal plan in advance so that you do not have to decide what to prepare at each mealtime.
  1. Navigating cohabitation with spouses, partners, housemates, and children who are not on retreat
  • Have a conversation about mutual expectations before your retreat begins. Openly discuss supportive practices and boundaries for all parties and prioritize the comfort of others as an extension of your compassion practice.
  • Discuss the practice of noble silence and agree on parameters. You may want to designate a specific time of day to connect verbally so that conversation is contained. 
  • Post your retreat schedule and review what you will be doing each day so that others may better understand your flow and how it may relate to their daily activities. 
  • Plan your pet care in advance.
  • Consider eating your meals at alternate times to avoid overlap in the kitchen during mealtimes.
  • Expect that some aspects of your experience during a home retreat will not be as contained as a retreat at IMS. That is ok.
  • Above all, stay relaxed. Cultivate gentleness and be willing to compromise with generosity, so that all parties in the home may successfully navigate the retreat period together.
  1. Electronics
  • Ensure that you have a working computer, tablet or phone with a stable internet connection.
  • Review our Zoomtips.
  • Review our policies on online etiquette
  • Note that IMS Online “Livestream” programs are offered in two formats. “Webinar Format” indicates that only the Dharma teacher is seen and heard during the session. “Meeting Format” indicates that both teachers and students may be seen and heard during the session. Some programs include only one format option and other programs include sessions in both formats. Your personal preference may vary, so please check the format(s) of your specific program before signing up.
  • Set an “out-of-office” reply on your email and phone accounts.
  • Let people know how to contact you in the event of a true emergency. It is common to arrange an alert signal such as three “urgent” texts or calls in a row to indicate a pressing issue.

During Your Retreat

  1. Ensure that you follow appropriate online etiquette
  2. Refrain from using other electronics or interacting with other media and content for the duration of your retreat.
  3. Practice self-discipline by attending all sessions and sticking to your practice schedule.
  4. Receive everything that comes with loving awareness and practice compassion for self and others at all times.
  5. Recognize that nothing is perfect or permanent. During a home retreat you may experience joy, frustration, happiness, restlessness, expectation, doubt, and countless other thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Receive all with a welcoming attitude and simply engage the practice again.