Self-Compassion Retreats

CMSC 5-Day Silent Retreats

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, honoring 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

You are warmly invited to join us for a five-day online, silent, meditation retreat. 

This is a special opportunity to engage in a silent retreat from the comfort of your own home. The format and content of this retreat will closely follow retreats offered in major and well-known retreat centers. The main difference is that you will engage fully in these practices without the requirements and expense of travel, and without the potential uncertainties and health risks that have arisen in these challenging times due to COVID-19.

This retreat is open to:

Anyone who wishes to train to teach MSC, MBSR, and similar programs. This retreat meets the teacher training prerequisite of most mindfulness-based teacher training programs including those from CMSC, USCD, and Brown University.

Anyone who is already teaching such courses and would like the opportunity to deepen their personal practices in an environment that many teachers have called restorative. We strongly encourage all MSC and MBSR teachers to participate in retreats on a regular basis.

Any graduates of MSC, MBSR, and similar courses who do not aspire to teach but wish to deepen and strengthen their practices.

The practices in this retreat are inspired by, and drawn from, the MSC and MBSR programs. Participants will engage in full days of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices, including periods of sitting, walking, and gentle yoga. There will be some instructional and inspirational talks as well as opportunities to meet with the teachers in small groups to explore any questions that arise. There is also time set aside each day for self-care and for informal practices.

Silent retreats are designed to support participants in:

  • Nurturing a deeper and more embodied meditation practice.
  • Developing greater awareness and compassion for what it means to be fully human.
  • Discovering practices that can enrich and support our lives well beyond the time of the retreat.
  • Coping with the stresses and challenges of life.
  • Embracing who we are and releasing harsh judgments, self-criticism, and shame.
  • Opening to experiences of calmness, clarity, insight, kindness, acceptance, and love.
  • Preparing oneself to teach and (especially important for teachers) allowing yourself to be a student of the practices.
  • Benefitting from the richness that arises from practicing mindfulness and self-compassion in a safe and supportive community and with experienced teachers.

Keeping Silence

Please treat this retreat as a residential retreat as much as possible and make any necessary accommodations before the retreat begins (e.g., please take care of all your grocery shopping prior to the retreat week and make sure that there are no meetings scheduled in your calendar for this week). Please consider ways of organizing your time and space so that there is as little external stimuli as possible to help you be fully present and open to your retreat experience. 

During the silent retreat, please refrain from using email, phone, television, reading and writing, as well as other ways of communicating during the retreat. This is your time! And we would like to invite you to honor the time and space you have created for yourself–a true gift to yourself.


Retreat participants are expected to fully attend all sessions. Please do not attend this retreat if you cannot clear your calendar of all other obligations. We would love for you to be able to devote yourself fully to the experience that will be unfolding for you. 

If you are attending the retreat as a teacher training prerequisite, you will need to attend all sessions, except for medical emergencies, weather-related outages, and unexpected issues.


Please review our refund policy here.

A minimum number of 15 registrants is required to offer the retreat. Please note that in the unlikely event that the retreat is canceled, CMSC is responsible only for a full refund of the registration fee and not for any miscellaneous expenses. Thank you for your collaboration.

Live Retreats

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.

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 journaling. 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.

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