Self-Directed Retreats

Self Retreats at Heartwood RefugeCrafting your own retreat experience has many benefits. Our Refuge provides an affordable, safe place for study, contemplation and intensive practice without imposing a rigid format.  You may choose to join in any or all of HW’s daily offerings.  Please see the page “Weekly Events” for the current list of offerings which include ChiLel Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Theravadan Dharma talks and meditations, as well as Vajrayana guided meditations.  You also have the option of being shuttled to a nearby temple, church, ashram or other house of worship or facility of your choice.  

The cost is $1,500 for a 30 day, self-directed retreat. $85/night or $1,500 for 30 days ($50 per day); $2,700 for 60 days ($45 per day); $3,600 for 90 days or more ($40 per day)

All retreatants are invited to help themselves to a continental breakfast, share the main meal with residents, and enjoy a healthy hearty soup for supper.  As with most centers, food is not allowed in your cabin. Beverages are always available: assortment of hot tea, coffee, sun tea, purified water.

All self-directed retreatants have a newly renovated, private room, with a private bathroom, close to the dining hall, meditation halls and temple.  Our grounds and walking paths near nearby Osceola Lake are here for your use. There is ample space for privacy, walking meditation and contemplative prayer.  For your convenience, we have an on-site laundry facility, a library, and a cozy community room for you to enjoy.  Please visit the accommodations page for more details.


As a retreatant, you are asked to work two hours a day at a task in support of the Refuge as a whole, and to keep your personal area neat and clean. The work leader will explain your duties, and only communicate when absolutely necessary.


HW staff and residents are notified when we have a silent retreatant so only required conversation is initiated. We will all be mindful and supportive without intruding upon your silence or purpose for retreat. Our center is not a strictly silent facility, however it is a quiet one. There may be a group retreat lead by a guest teacher  which is not silent while you are here. If this may be an issue, check the retreat calendar and plan accordingly.


If we are hosting a facilitated retreat or event during your stay that you would like to attend, please let your retreat attendant know as far in advance as possible.  An additional facilitated retreat cost may apply.  It is appropriate, and encouraged, to offer dana to the event’s teacher in appreciation of the benefits they provide if you attend their program.

Individualized direction may be requested from the resident teachers (please see the “Teachers” page) who are here for guidance and support. They are traditionally offered Dana (generosity or love offering) for their service at the end of your retreat. A daily check-in is required concerning your practice with an assigned meditation teacher or retreat attendant. They will consider any concerns you may have and assist you in any way possible. While they will not initiate conversation, they are always there to help if called upon.

We believe each person’s practice is their practice – not to be imposed on others. This is a part of accepting others and oneself. If you seek a self-directed retreat, it is assumed you are mature and able to confine your attention to your own purposes, not the activities or habits of others. If you are being unduly disturbed, however, please let your retreat attendant know and they will assist you.

Sometimes Heartwood will host writers, and even musicians. You may hear the sound of an acoustic guitar being softly played, or the infrequent soft voices of happy yogis sharing a moment. We believe sharing with good friends in the Dharma is a highlight of spiritual life (And, earplugs are plentiful!).

You are required to have a short personal interview before acceptance or upon arrival for your retreat with one of our spiritual directors. In addition, you must fill out the form below to be considered for a self-directed retreat.