The daily retreat schedule includes periods of guided sitting and walking meditation, mindful movement such as yoga or qigong, small group activities, workshops and free time for socializing or resting. We move into and out of periods of silence throughout the day. You should be prepared to attend all of the activities each day. We also serve three tasty meals a day and a late night snack to keep you going.
You can plan on about 4-6 hours of silent meditation spread throughout each day (2-3 hours in the morning, and 2-3 hours in the afternoon/evening). Don’t worry though, you won’t be expected to meditate for two hours straight! Each meditation session is about 20-30 minutes. The meditation time includes a mix of sitting meditation, walking meditation, and other mindful movement.Some form of mindful movement, such as yoga or qigong, is offered on a daily basis, usually for about an hour at a time. If you are excited to practice more meditation or more yoga there are often workshops during the week that allow you to deepen your practice.
This is a common concern for a lot of participants. We want to give you the chance to really be present on the retreat. Therefore, cell phones and other electronics such as iPods, tablets, e-readers, and laptops are collected at the beginning of the retreat by Inward Bound Mindfulness staff and returned at the end. Emergency contact information will be provided to your parents/guardians in advance of the retreat so that your family can get a hold of you if they need to. A lot of participants find that by the end of the retreat they haven’t missed their phone as much as they thought they would and are happy to have had a break from the digital world.
The number of teens sharing a room varies depending on the retreat center. Room sizes vary from 2 people per room to 20 people in a dormitory style room. If you are a light sleeper you might want to bring earplugs and an eye mask.
No, definitely not! While there are periods of silence during the retreat there’s a lot of time to connect and talk with other participants such as during your small group meetings, over meals, during workshops and free time.
While our retreat schedule is fairly structured, there is some free time built in. There is usually about an hour of free time following each meal. If you don’t have a mindful clean-up job scheduled during that time you are welcome to exercise, go for a hike, etc. There will be some guidelines around going for hikes and runs depending on the specific retreat location but we are usually able to accommodate these kinds of needs.
Yes, provided they meet the age requirements of the retreat, friends, siblings, cousins, etc. are welcome to come on retreat together. There will be lots of time to talk, connect, and hang out with each other – during meals, free time, workshops, etc. Please be prepared, however, as friends or siblings may be assigned to different dorm rooms and different small groups. We encourage all participants to “stretch outside their comfort zones” by interacting with new people and not just hanging out with a friend or sibling for the whole retreat.
This is a really common concern! A lot of people say, “I think too much. There’s no way I can still my mind. Meditation might work for other people but it’s not for me.” If you think this you are not alone! The objective of meditation is not to “space out” or clear our minds until they are completely of thoughts. With practice, you may find that when you are meditating your thoughts and emotions are still present but you won’t be so consumed by them. Meditation and mindfulness are about practicing awareness and acceptance towards ourselves, our thoughts, and strong emotions – not making them go away!
Can Inward Bound retreats accommodate individuals with physical differences such as limited mobility, vision impairment, etc.?
Inward Bound strives to be as inclusive as we can. We want our retreats to be accessible to anyone who wants to attend. If you have a physical difference such as limited mobility, need for a wheelchair, impaired vision, impaired hearing, etc. please let us know in your application. We may schedule a follow-up conversation with you or a parent/guardian to get more information. We will do our best to accommodate you.
Sometimes people hear “meditation” and “mindfulness” and they think, “It sounds like this retreat is going to be serious and silent. Why would I want to spend a week of my summer doing that??” Good news–our teen participants consistently share that the retreat is one of the most powerful, connected—and fun—weeks of the year. While we do meditate and learn the skills of mindfulness and compassion throughout the day, there’s also lots of time to connect with new friends, explore new sides of ourselves through creative and interesting workshops, go for hikes, and just hang out together. A big part of our retreats is “relational mindfulness” with small groups at the center of the experience. During small groups you will get the chance to play goofy games, hear other people’s stories, and be part of a community. We have retreat “alumni” who keep coming back every year because the people they meet on retreat become their closest friends.
There is no “typical” Inward Bound participant. Our participants are a diverse group in many ways. Some are not religious, others are Buddhists, while others may identify Christian or Jewish or Muslim. Some are musicians, others are artists and theater fans, some are athletes, others are outdoorsy types. About 1 in 3 of our participants identify as LGBTQIA. About 1 in 4 of our participants identifies as being a person of color, biracial, or multiracial. The thing tying all of our participants together is that they are all humans looking to de-stress, connect more with themselves, and create community with like-minded peers.
The age range for teen & young adult retreats is 15–19.