Qualified Retreats

Guidelines for teacher training retreat requirements.

Retreat Requirements

Retreats provide a way to deeply cultivate, explore, and strengthen sustained mindfulness practice. Held in silence and relative simplicity, a retreat can open a space for connecting with and learning from one’s inner life. Retreats are a key aspect of deepening in mindfulness practice, which we consider essential for anyone interested in teaching mindfulness.

MBSR Teaching

  • For those training to teach MBSR, the initial prerequisite retreat may be one of the following to begin the training program:
    • Two 3-day retreats; or
    • One 5-day retreat; or
    • One 7-day retreat
  • All retreats must be silent and teacher-led
  • There are three additional retreat requirements during the MBSR teacher training pathway

MBCT Teaching

  • For those training to teach MBCT, two 5-7 day retreats (or four 3-day retreats) and one Insight Inside Us retreat are required during the MBCT teacher training process
  • There is no prerequisite retreat requirement
  • All retreats must be silent and teacher-led

Retreat Locations

Below is a list of third party mindfulness retreat centers as a resource and convenience for participants. This list should not be construed as an endorsement or approval of any retreat center by Brown and the Mindfulness Center. Brown makes no representation or warranty about the quality of the retreat centers, and all participants should use their own judgment when evaluating a prospective retreat center.

Recent Offerings

We invite you to consider retreats offered by some of our adjunct mindfulness teachers through the websites below. 

The Mindfulness and Health Institute (MHI), Providence, RI offers the Insight Inside Us Retreat and other multi-day retreats. 

There are also many other retreat centers, some of which are listed below. It is not exhaustive, nor does every retreat held at the listed centers meet our requirements. The list can be used together with the guidelines above to find appropriate retreats.


  • Awareness and Relaxation Training 
  • Bhavana Society, High View, WV, USA 
  • Big Bear Retreat Center (Insight LA), Big Bear, CA, USA 
  • Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre, NSW, Australia 
  • Boundless Way Zen Center, Worcester, MA, USA 
  • Cloud Mountain Retreat Center, Castle Rock, WA, USA 
  • Copper Beech Institute, Hartford, CT, USA 
  • Gaia House, Devon, England 
  • Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Marin, CA, USA 
  • Karme Choling, Barnet, VT, USA 
  • Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA, USA 
  • Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City, CA, USA 
  • Insight Retreat Center, Santa Cruz, CA, USA 
  • Meditation Center, Beatenberg, Switzerland 
  • Middle Path Healing
  • San Francisco Zen Center, San Francisco, CA, USA 
  • Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, USA
  • Southern Dharma, Hot Springs, NC, USA 
  • Spirit Rock, San Francisco, CA, USA 
  • Spirit Fire, Vermont, USA 
  • Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, Carmel Valley, CA, USA 
  • UMass Memorial Health, Worcester, MA, USA
  • Zen Community of Oregon, Clatskanie, OR, USA 
  • Zen Mountain Monastery, Mount Tremper, NY

Please note: Some of the teachers in these retreat centers also teach in different venues or teach alone. Silent retreats taught by teachers affiliated with any of these centers are acceptable as long as they have a mindfulness practice theme and adhere to the guidelines above. If a retreat center or teacher is not listed, please feel welcome to ask.

Retreat Formats

Online & In-Person

  • 3-day retreats include 16-18 hours of practice and cover a span of 23 total hours (see the 3-day schedule below for more details)
  • 5-day retreats are 4 or 5 nights in duration 
  • 7-day retreats are 6 or 7 nights in duration 
  • One of the retreats is the Insight Inside Us Retreat
  • We strongly recommend retreats (either in-person or online) with two teachers; this creates an environment of greater safety
  • Retreat teachers should be experienced in leading mindfulness retreats specifically, and should have received validation to teach retreats through their meditation lineage

In addition to the guidelines above, specific conditions for online retreats include:

  • Each retreat day includes a minimum of 12 hours of retreat time consisting of a rhythm of sitting, walking, mindful movement, and informal mindfulness practices, primarily in silence with guidance from the teacher(s)
  • During the 12-hour day there is a minimum of 8 formal practice hours interspersed with informal practices and time for self-care
  • Open practice periods (when not engaged online) are no more than 2 hours in length at any one time, to support personal focus and group cohesion
  • Depending on the length of the retreat, each retreat will offer one or two brief group or individual practice discussions, to talk with a teacher about practice

3-Day Retreat Schedule

Includes 16-18 hours of practice and 23 total hours

  • Day 1: Opening Day: 12:30 PM - 9:30 PM. 4-5 hours of practice, two 1-hour breaks, 1 talk/Q&A
  • Day 2: 9:30 AM - 9:30 PM, 8 hours of practice, one 2-hour break and one 1-hour break, 1 talk
  • Day 3: Closing Day: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM 4-5 hours of practice, two 1-hour breaks, closing/sharing/Q&A