Watering the Garden of the Heart
Join teachers Mark Wax and Sara Shapouri for a springtime weekend retreat, coinciding with the beginning of Commit to Sit: a monthlong practice challenge.
Set intentions for spring and summer, consider what you’re committed to and what seeds you want to plant in your own heart, and nurture your garden with practice and community.
Whether you’re a teen, a young adult, a parent or you’re seeking a place to nurture mindful community at any age, this retreat is for you!
Awaken to Springtime and Deepen Into Your Inner Garden This May
Online Weekend Retreat – Ages 15+
A weekend immersion into mindfulness, self-love + deep human connection.
What will I experience on retreat?
• Slow down + quiet your mind
• Gain clarity around who you are, what you want + where you’re going
• Connect with other warm, kind-hearted people
• Learn tools to navigate stress + uncertainty
• Deepen or begin a mindfulness / meditation practice
• Have fun + DANCE at our online party
15-100 years old
April 28, midnight
Sliding scale. Learn More.
3 days, 2 nights
Restorative. Affirming. Comforting. Allowed me to experience a quiet mind. Helped me to connect with others in a unique, more spiritual, holistic way. Allowed me to be introspective without all the thinking.
– iBme young adult
What’s a typical day like?
Each day runs from around 9:30am to 10pm, online via zoom with portions both on and off screen.
The day flows between guided meditation practices, workshops, mindful movement + yoga, small group conversations, wisdom talks + free time.
Explore topics like . . .
- Seated meditation
- Yoga + movement practices
- Mindful walking
- How to navigate difficult emotions
- Mindful communication
- Mindful eating
- Use of technology + social media
- Practices for kindness, compassion + self-awareness
- Applying mindfulness to daily life
Parts of the day are silent; other parts of the day are interactive where talking is allowed.
You’ll have the chance to turn your video camera off and just listen with headphones for parts of the retreat. Other times, you’ll have the video on so you can see + connect with your peers.
I made a lot of close bonds with people, even though I met them online, and I’ve yet to meet them in person.
– iBme online retreat participant
Learn how to . . .
- Be less stressed
- Find spaciousness + become less reactive
- Be present with people you love
- Listen to yourself
- Trust your intuition + feel confident in your path
- Cope with uncertainty
- Recenter yourself when the going gets rocky
I now know that I have this built-in ability to cope whenever I need to, of just sitting down and closing my eyes and taking a few breaths. And giving myself permission to do that.
– Sarah W.
You’re not alone. We’ve got you.
Be part of an awesome online community where . . .
- You can be real about what you’re going through.
- It’s ok to be uncomfortable + express yourself
- You can be deeply heard + seen by others
- You’re held in love.
iBme allows me to explore and express myself in a community where I feel accepted for who I am.
– iBme teen
Is this some weird hippy stuff?
Nope! No flower crowns, no dogma, no weird cult-ish stuff. We’re not trying to convert you.
We teach tools for compassion + self-awareness so you can be free, love yourself + choose how you show up in the world.
Is this retreat for me?
iBme is for you if you…
- Are open-minded + willing to try something new
- Wanna connect deeply with other self-aware people
- Are curious to try mindfulness + meditation practice, or want to deepen your existing practice
It’s NOT for you if you…
- You don’t wanna be here! This is 100% voluntary.
- You’re struggling with serious mental health issues
- You’re doing this instead of going to therapy (Hint: it’s not a replacement).
How can I prepare?
Create a quiet, designated practice space for yourself where you can be uninterrupted during the retreat.
Turn off distractions, close other tabs on your computer + do your best to just focus on the retreat experience while you’re with us.
Let your roommates, family and friends know that you’ll be on retreat + won’t be available! This retreat doesn’t require complete isolation, but we encourage you to separate yourself as much as possible from technology + other distractions.
Meet the Retreat Staff
Our team of faculty + mentors are a community of trained professionals, dedicated to empowering teens and young adults in a supportive environment.
iBme teachers and mentors are professionals in the areas of mindfulness, health, and education and bring years of personal mindfulness practice to their roles, modeling authenticity, compassion, and respect. Find out more about the teachers and mentors on this retreat below.
Mark Wax is deeply grateful to be working with iBme. Mark has been a sincere student of many meditative arts for the last 15 years. He has worked for Yoga International, The Himalayan Institute, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He recently completed his 500-hour yoga teacher certification through Spirit Rock’s Mindful Yoga and Meditation Training.
Sara Shapouri is an Iranian-American meditation and mindfulness instructor, artist, musician and lawyer. Sara’s experience with sharing mindfulness and meditation include curriculum development and instruction at Awake Youth Project, a program offering meditation and mentoring to teenagers in Brooklyn, and teaching meditation retreats with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. She has completed teacher training programs with the Interdependence Project in 2016 and with Inward Bound in 2018. She has also trained in conflict mediation with the New York Center for Interpersonal Development, completed the year-long caregiver training program at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care in 2015, and in 2019 finished the Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy in Complex Trauma training. Sara is currently participating in the Community Dharma Leaders Program through Spirit Rock and is also in the Dharmapala Training through Sacred Mountain Sangha. While she is currently retired from the practice of law but remains committed to social justice, particularly issues related to human rights and children’s rights.
Tuition & Payment Information
Tuition is on a sliding scale of $100 – $250.
We offer this sliding scale approach to retreat tuition in order to accommodate a wide range of family incomes.
- iBme retreats feature a low ratio of adult staff per participant, providing high-quality care, expertise, instruction, and mentoring (this is our secret sauce!)
Please note: A nonrefundable application fee of $35 is required and applied toward your tuition.
Tuition & Payment Information
Scholarships are available for this retreat.
Donations: We rely on tuition fees, supplemented by donations, to cover the costs of our retreats and make it possible for all teens who want to to attend. If you can, we invite you to consider making a donation when and if it feels right. Find out about our annual Commit to Sit fundraiser in the spring and end-of-year Mindfulness Challenge: iBme Fundraising page.
Deposit & Balance
A deposit of 30% of your total payment is required to reserve a space on a retreat. The deposit includes your $35 nonrefundable application fee. The balance of the retreat tuition must be paid two weeks before the retreat start date in order to hold your spot on the retreat.
iBme welcomes and celebrates human diversity in all forms regardless of race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ability, personal appearance, or religious/spiritual affiliation.
iBme is committed to accessibility. This retreat welcomes teens from all racial/ethnic groups, sex and gender identities, abilities, and religions. Mindfulness creates a foundation for conversations that support understanding and deepen our connection to one another. We have developed our tuition structure to accommodate a wide range of family income.
What other people are saying about iBme retreats. . .
I greatly appreciate this retreat: the simplicity, peacefulness, non-prescriptiveness, and kindness of the warm atmosphere created openness to questions.
– iBme young adult
I learned love, connection, softness. How to look deep inside me, and find the authentic self.
There was such an overwhelming sense of community on this retreat. I have been on one other retreat in which my practice may have been more intensive; however this time around, the support from the instructors and my fellow meditators was absolutely palpable, making the experience undeniably joyful.
I learned to not lose the present by focusing on the future.
There was a deep sense of warmth and community.
– Owen H.
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.
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!
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” iBme 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 15–25.