On-land Programs and COVID Safety Protocols. Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get information about a retreat?
Retreat schedules and descriptions can be found on our website and in the Spirit Rock News and Schedule of Events. If you have reviewed the available information, including the information below, and still have questions, call the registrars at (415) 488-0164 x 234 for additional retreat information.

Can I just come and stay at Spirit Rock to do a self-retreat?
No. Spirit Rock does not offer self-retreats. Please visit Venues for Personal Retreats for a list of places that do offer personal retreats.

Is it possible to stay extra nights before or after a retreat?
No. Spirit Rock does not have extra night accommodations available either before or after a retreat.

Can I arrive at Spirit Rock early on the day my retreat starts?
Yes. You are welcome to arrive early, however the retreat staff will not be ready to check you in until 2:30pm. We do not have any luggage storage facilities for those arriving early. You may bring your luggage up to the check-in area and wander in the meadow.

Is there a number where I can be reached in case of emergency during the retreat?
Yes. If you need to be reached in an emergency during the retreat, the retreat staff office number is 415.488.0164 ext. 262. Staff are available at this number from 8:00am - 5:00pm PT daily. Calls received after 5:00pm PT will be routed through an afterhours reception desk. Please leave a message and know that it will take some time to get a message to you (the retreatant). Please let your loved ones know this number should be used only in case of emergencies.

Can I have a package sent to me while I'm on retreat?
We highly discourage this for all short retreats (10 nights or less). However, if you are attending a monthlong or 2-month retreat and you have a medical necessity, you may mail items to Spirit Rock. You can have the package sent to the following address: Your name, c/o SRMC-Retreat Manager's Office, 5000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, P.O. Box 169, Woodacre, CA 94973. Make sure to clearly mark the name of the retreat on the package to ensure it gets to you. The retreat staff will leave you a note when the package arrives, and you can pick it up in the retreat staff office.

Can I be a volunteer at a residential retreat?
We have opportunities to volunteer on the opening and closing day of residential retreats. Over time, this can allow you to earn free retreat nights. To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, please visit www.spiritrock.org/volunteer.

What is a concurrent or parallel retreat?
Concurrent retreats are two smaller retreats that occur simultaneously in our retreat center with a much smaller attendance for each that ranges between 24-72 participants. Concurrent retreats provide a much more intimate environment for a retreat. Each retreat has a unique topic and depending upon the anticipated interest of that topic is held either in the upper Meditation Hall or the Community Meditation Center. The venue location will be indicated on the website. Both halls are fully accessible.

Attendees use the same facilities as a singular retreat, except that the meditations take place in separate halls. All meals, residence halls, and common areas are shared by both retreats. Retreatants are not to "visit" the other retreat space and are expected to commit to one retreat or the other; and honor the space of the other retreat. Switching retreats mid-retreat is not permitted.

What is a retreat commuter?
Retreat Commuters attend the full retreat, including all meals, but you are not provided with overnight accommodations. You will need to arrange and pay for your own accommodations offsite. A list of accommodations near Spirit Rock can be found here. A sliding scale commuter rate will be offered and is lower than the residential rates. If a commuter option is available, it will be posted on the website of the retreat below the description. Unless you have a teacher's permission, you must meet the prerequisite. Completion of a minimum of one 7-night or two 5-night silent residential retreats before you are allowed to be a commuter, preferrably at Spirit Rock, or another vipassana (insight) meditation center.

What does fragrance-free actually mean ?
Since many people have allergies, asthma or other chemical sensitivity to common chemicals and fragrances, Spirit Rock asks that all participants who attend any program to please refrain from wearing scented products (learn more here). Many have difficulty breathing, suffer from headaches and migraines, or experience flu-like symptoms. In order to make Spirit Rock accessible to all, we ask people to:

  • Avoid cologne, aftershave and perfume;
  • Avoid hairspray, hair gel and other strong-smelling hair products;
  • Wear clothes laundered in fragrance-free laundry detergent;
  • Avoid laundry softeners;
  • Use fragrance-free soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner;
  • Avoid use of essential oils;
  • Test each product - many products are mistakenly marked “unscented” or “fragrance free” (but actually contain masking scents that can be very harmful)

What is the policy on drugs and intoxicants?
No intoxicants are allowed on campus including alcohol, chemical, and psychoactive/hallucinogenic plant-based drugs such as ayahuasca, psilocybin, and others. Prescription medications are permissible. It is important for retreatants that our retreat container is maintained to support the mutually shared space. On the first night of the retreat, when entering noble silence, practitioners will be asked to take the Five Precepts for the retreat, which serve as guidelines for living in community. The precepts are:

  1. Refrain from killing/harming any living creature
  2. Refrain from taking what is not offered
  3. Refrain from any kind of sexual activity
  4. Refrain from false and harmful speech
  5. Refrain from intoxicants including recreational drugs and alcohol
Email Sign-Up