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Welcome to the Duke Health & Well-Being Programs website!

Urban Retreat FAQs

Our goal is to provide a “retreat” from your everyday routine and a structured learning opportunity that will give you a chance to “check in” with yourself.  While this won’t be a spa day, and cultivating mindfulness takes focus and determination, we hope you leave at the end of Day 3 feeling uplifted and more relaxed!

The mindfulness retreat is open to, and welcomes, participants with all levels of experience with meditation, even if you have never meditated before!  Instructors will provide guidance in mindfulness meditation practices and participants will have opportunities to ask questions about their experience with meditation.

This mindfulness retreat provides instruction and emphasis on the forms of mindfulness meditation practice.  Mindfulness focuses on increasing the natural ability to notice what is happening in the present moment without judgment and is an ability anyone can cultivate through regular practice, regardless of their background, and can be applied in many different ways in our lives.  Guided instruction for awareness of breathing, mindful movement, body scan, or choiceless awareness are different meditation exercises that you may learn.

The specifics of each mindfulness retreat will differ, but a typical mindfulness retreat can look like this:

9:00-9:15 am     Arrival & Opening Remarks
9:15-10:15 am    Meditation Practice
10:20-10:35 am Break
11:50-Noon         Meditation Practice and mindful walk to lunch
Noon-1:15 pm     Lunch
1:15-1:45 pm       Teaching
1:45-3:00 pm      Meditation Practice
3:00-4:00 pm     Suggestions for Home Practice, Q&A, Closing/Taking the Practice Forward, Closing Council

By simplifying your To Do list (even if only for a day or so) to “being present”, what might you notice?

To create an opportunity for greater focus and attention we ask participants to refrain from conversation and social interactions for the majority of the time in the retreat.  Participants are also encouraged to refrain from personal device usage.  By agreeing to cultivate this silence as a group, participants offer each other support and the opportunity to experience the power of mindfulness practice at deeper levels of personal discovery than in a usual day to day routine.

  • Refrain from cellphone use for the duration of the retreat sessions. If you have family members that need to be able to reach you, breaks throughout the day are provided if you need to check in, or you may share our main number that family can use if they need to reach you urgently during the retreat.
  • Leave laptops, iPods, iPads and other communication devices at home.
  • Keep your silence with friends and family members that are on retreat with you.

Please dress in clothes that will allow for movement as well as sitting on the floor and/or in chairs for lecture and discussion. Also, we suggest you dress in layers, so you can remain comfortable in the workshop room. We have chairs, a number of zafus (sitting cushions) and yoga mats for your use here at Duke IM, but if you have your own, please feel free to bring what you need to be comfortable.

Filtered water is available, so you may enjoy having your own water bottle.

Lunch is not included in the registration fee.  You are welcome to bring a bag lunch of your own, or to purchase lunch from the Integrative Medicine Café here onsite.  We ask that you plan to remain onsite during the lunch break.

If you are joining us from out of town a variety of accommodations can be found in Durham here.

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