CMSC 5-Day Silent Retreats


CMSC-Sponsored Silent Retreats

Silent Retreat Teachers

About CMSC 5-Day Silent Retreats

CMSC is offering these silent retreats as an opportunity to immerse ourselves for 5 days in the practice of mindfulness and self-compassion-based meditation. The retreats are trauma-sensitive and DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) aware and satisfy the prerequisite for attending Teacher Training in MSC and potentially in other Mindfulness-Based interventions such as MBSR and MBCT (please check the individual program requirements).

CMSC’s retreats are based on the research and teachings of Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, the co-developers of the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Program, as well as ancient wisdom practices from several traditions. The retreats offer an opportunity to renew and deepen our practice within an environment enhanced by silence. CMSC retreats are offered in three time zones (Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and Australia/Asia) to appeal to a global audience. The retreats are led by experienced teachers who have been invited by CMSC to teach their retreats. CMSC’s retreats also serve as an opportunity for MSC teachers to continue to build their affect tolerance and equanimity so that they may hold their steady seat while teaching MSC.

Benefits of 5-Day Silent Retreat

A silent retreat is a vital way to go inward and nourish our personal meditation practice. It is life-enhancing for everyone who attends (virtual or in-person) and particularly important for those who work with mindfulness-based interventions. Silent retreats offer long-term benefits and a way to be in community with other human beings, honouring the varying degrees of our diverse backgrounds and lived experience. Our attention during this retreat will be on how we can build our resilience and enhance our capacity to meet our challenges with equanimity, strength, and compassionate awareness.

CMSC-Sponsored Silent Retreats

Online Retreats

November 29 – December 4, 2022

Americas Friendly Timing (Pacific Time)

Beth Mulligan and David Spound


26 – 30th January 2023

Asia & Australia/New Zealand Friendly Timing

Tina Gibson and Siri Chandler


Live In-Person Retreats

October 12-17, 2022

Asia & Australia/New Zealand Friendly Timing 

Tina Gibson and Siri Chandler

Phuket, Thailand

Program Details

Whether we choose a 5-day live online or an in-person silent retreat, much of our time will be spent engaged in sitting and walking meditation with periods of mindful movement. The retreat teachers will also offer daily talks and individual meetings, as well as highlight the foundations of MSC. Please clear your schedule of all other obligations for the silent retreat days.
The typical investment is $650 USD in tuition fees; fees may be slightly different for courses not based in the US and do not include lodging. Participants who are MSC teachers will receive a $100 USD discount. There will also be a limited number of scholarships in the amount of $150 USD each. Please contact Rachel Tayse at [email protected] to apply for scholarships.

If you are attending the retreat as a teacher training prerequisite, you will need to attend all sessions, except in cases of emergencies.

CMSC Retreat Standards For Teacher Training

Here are CMSC’s Retreat Standards that fulfill the retreat requirement towards Teacher Training in MSC:

A retreat must be at least 5 full days in length.

A retreat is to be led by teachers (not a self-guided retreat). At least one of the teachers must have been trained in leading retreats.

Retreat must include at least 7-8 hours of dedicated formal meditation practice time per day. This would mainly consist of sitting meditation alternating with periods of movement practice such as walking meditation and/or mindful yoga. Loving Kindness meditations and guided body scans can also be included.

Informal practice is quite valuable, too, (such as yogi jobs at a meditation center or mindful cooking/cleaning at home), but such informal practices would be in addition to the 7-8 hours of formal practice.

Participants are to be in silence for the full retreat except for brief periods when they might meet with the retreat teacher privately or in small groups.

The focus of the retreat practices is the cultivation of mindfulness and compassion.

Reading and writing during the retreat are discouraged in most situations, except for perhaps journalling. Rather, a continuity of practice (formal and informal) is encouraged.

If the retreat is held at a retreat center, then the use of cell phones and other Internet connected devices is strongly discouraged.

If the retreat is online, participants will be using the Internet for Zoom, but other apps such as email and web browsers should be turned off for the duration of the retreat. The use of additional electronic devices is strongly discouraged (unless required for emergencies and health reasons). Also, retreats at home will require some advance planning (and significant discipline and commitment during the retreat) to ensure that relationships at home and work-related communications do not interfere with the retreat practices and focus.

Silent Retreat Teachers

Beth Mulligan

Beth Mulligan, PA-C is a certified MBSR teacher, teacher trainer, and adjunct faculty through the UMASS Center for Mindfulness. She has been teaching MBSR for over a decade to diverse populations; from the critically ill, to non-profit organizations, the underserved, educators, and corporate leaders. She currently teaches at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UCI and Insight LA. Beth teaches the 10-week and nine-day practicum for teachers in training nationally and internationally. Beth is a certified Mindful Self Compassion teacher and teacher trainer and does international training for the Center for Mindful Self Compassion.

Beth has a background in primary care medicine as a Board Certified Physician Assistant having graduated Magna cum Laude from Duke University and has practiced medicine for over thirty years. She is a long time student of Charles Tenshin Fletcher, Roshi at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center where she has lived in residence. Beth is the Guiding Dharma teacher at Insight Community of the Desert and is a certified yoga instructor.

David Spound

David Spound, M.Ed., is a certified teacher and teacher trainer of both Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

After studying with teachers from a wide range of meditative and contemplative traditions, David began teaching full-time in 2005, first with MBSR and then adding MSC in 2014. He has led courses for the UMass Center for Mindfulness, the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, and for his own company Valley Mindfulness.

With the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, David leads MSC Teacher Training courses and is a member of the Professional Training Committee that oversees MSC teacher training programs and policies. David also mentors applicants for MSC Teacher Certification, co-leads Silent Meditation Retreats, is a teacher for the 8-month online Community for Deepening Practice.

Outside of his CMSC work, he offers MSC and MBSR courses in his hometown, and he works as an MBSR Teacher Trainer and Mentor with the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. From 2006 through 2013, David was a staff member of the UMass Center for Mindfulness where he taught MBSR and managed the “Oasis” MBSR Teacher Training and Certification Program.

David’s personal practice as well as his work as a teacher and teacher trainer meld together as a true labor of love.

Laila Narsi (she, her, hers)

Laila Narsi, LCSW, CMMT, CMT-P, (she, her, hers) is the Co-Coordinator for the CMSC Circles of Practice Public Offering as well as a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion teacher receiving her training directly from founders Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer in 2014. Since receiving her Master’s in Social Work in 1997, her passion to provide sound and effective mental health services led her to create The Mindful Self, which is a center for Trauma Informed Psychotherapy as well as Mindfulness and Self-Compassion offerings. Laila is a Certified in EMDR Therapy and is an EMDR Approved Consultant where she specializes in PTSD, Complex trauma, Stress, Mood disorders, and Anxiety.

Laila’s journey in meditation started in childhood where she was mentored by her parents who nurtured a family meditation and movement practice. Since college, she has traveled around the world working with several teachers cultivating her interests in mindfulness, diversity, cultural studies, human rights, and international arts. Laila has also accompanied Dr. Germer in Kenya bringing MSC to other trauma specialists. She returned there a couple of years later to co-teach a Making Friends With Yourself (MSC for Teens) intensive course. In addition, she has been directly trained and mentored by Drs. Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, and Steve Hickman. For more information, please visit Laila’s website at

Markus Bohlmann

Markus Bohlmann (he|him), PhD, stumbled across mindfulness meditation as he was looking for something to improve his health and life quality. He discovered a queer mindfulness meditation practice group at a queer community center in downtown Toronto, Canada. He felt the benefits of the practice and soon became a regular participant and member of their teaching team.

Markus has since become a certified teacher of Mindful-Self-Compassion (MSC), and he is also certified in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) through the University of Toronto and the Centre for Mindfulness Studies, Canada, where he is a faculty member and for whom he has led and co-lead retreats. Markus is a graduate of the Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Meditation and Applied Specialization in Mindfulness Meditation certificate programs at the University of Toronto, a trained Mindfulness Ambassador through Mindfulness Without Borders, and a faculty member at Mindfulness Everyday, a mindfulness organization that specializes in mindfulness in education. He has created and taught a mindfulness course to students at the post-secondary level to help them manage their stress levels and improve their well-being. Markus has had the privilege to have trained directly with world-renowned teachers in mindfulness, such as Christopher Germer, Kristin Neff, Steve Hickman, Michelle Becker, Zindel Segal, Patricia Rockman, and Susan Woods. He has recently taken on the role of world-wide translation coordinator with CMSC and is a member on their DEIB committee (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) to promote the inclusion of minorities. Markus is also the team leader of the LGBTQI2S+ Affinity Group, which is part of the Circles of Practice (CoP) public meditation offering by CMSC.

Markus says, “MSC has been a real life-changer for me. MSC gave me tools to love myself up and believe in myself when nobody else did. It has shown me ways to put myself back on the map and to discover that I had belonged all along!”

Feel free to reach out to Markus Bohlmann at [email protected]

Siri Chandler

Siri Chandler is a Certified Teacher of MSC, trained to teach MBSR, Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB), Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) courses for educators and a variety of other MBI’s. She is a dual Thai-American national living in Pranburi, Thailand, where she facilitates retreats, courses, and workshops in-person and online. Her genuineness, kindness and personal experience of the benefits mindfulness and compassion infuse her courses with a special personal touch.

Siri started going on meditation retreats at the age of 18 and has continued doing so most years for the last 30 years. It was an 8-week silent retreat in 2011, led by Alan Wallace, that convinced her to branch out from her profession as an international school teacher and shift into teaching mindfulness. She trains educators, parents, corporations, athletes, university medical students, teens, and children.

As an enthusiastic life-long learner, she devotes her time to continuously deepen her own practice. Retreats have been essential in supporting her to do this, offering her the space and time to reflect, reconnect with what is most meaningful, and be more continuously awake to moments, with kindness and compassion.

She is especially drawn to bringing mindfulness into daily life in a practical way. She enjoys kiteboarding, trekking, yoga, and walking her dogs on the beach.

Tina Gibson

Tina is an experienced and passionate MSC Teacher, facilitating programs in education, cancer support, women’s health, and other communities for many years. She has a warm, caring and steady presence, developed over years of working with diverse populations as a health care worker rehabilitation counsellor, health educator, kinesiologist, and emergency paramedic. Tina practices what she teaches, attending regular retreats and the practice of regular self-reflection and mentoring in her role of teaching MSC programs and silent retreats.

Tina is a Trained MBSR / MBCT teacher and a Certified MSC Teacher- Teacher Trainer and Teacher Mentor. She is a Senior Teacher for the 8-month online Community for Deepening MSC Practice. Tina has been offering silent meditation retreats for several years within the Asia / Pacific region.

With connection being the key to teaching with humility and equanimity, Tina resonates with Desmond Tutu’s use of an African word, Ubuntu, to describe this. ‘Ubuntu is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness; it speaks about compassion.

When not teaching, Tina finds joy spending time with her four young grandchildren. Some of her favourite places are in nature, the beach and her garden.

Contact Information

Rachel Tayse

Program Support Manager

[email protected]