A Series of Led Retreat Days with Bristol Insight Meditation for 2023

Sat Jul 08 2023 at 10:00 am to 04:00 pm

Glenfrome Primary School | Bristol

Bristol Insight Meditation
Publisher/HostBristol Insight Meditation
A Series of Led Retreat Days with Bristol Insight Meditation for 2023
These days are led by facilitators from Gaia House on relevant Buddhist topics and practices
About this Event

Day retreats take place mostly in a setting of companionable silence, including during the lunch period. There will be a chance for a chat with a cup tea at the end of the day and during the day there will usually be time for questions and discussion with the teacher. Silence offers an opportunity to attend to one’s own experience without the need to be anyone for other people.

You will be asked to sit quietly for periods of up to 30 minutes, with varying amounts of guidance. These sittings are interspersed with periods of walking and movement.

We recognise that this level of silence may be challenging for newcomers and is not always suitable for everyone at every time. If you have any concerns or wonder whether a retreat is the right thing for you at this time, you are welcome to get in touch with us.

Some retreats do require attendees to have some prior meditation experience. If this is the case it will be stated in the retreat description.

We welcome volunteers to help on the day, if you would like to help in this way please contact us.


We ask for a retreat fee to cover costs of venues, teachers’ expenses, ongoing administrative costs. We offer an Early Bird (closes 1 month before the event) and Tier 1 rate. A freely given rate is also available so that no-one is excluded.


Dana can be translated as cultivating generosity or giving. The teachers who lead our retreats receive their travel costs and ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses but do not receive any payment for their teaching. However they are happy to receive voluntary contributions from participants in the events they lead. These offerings are traditionally called dana. Most of our teachers depend on dana for most or all of their livelihood.

Our teachers are following an ancient tradition, offering teachings freely just as they received them freely from a previous generation of teachers. In this way the dharma (the teachings of the Buddhist tradition) is not made an object of commerce, and the relationship between teacher and student is based upon trust, freedom, and mutual generosity.

If you attend one of our events and appreciate what the teacher has offered, we warmly invite you to make whatever contribution you feel appropriate. If you do so, you will be making a vital contribution to their livelihood and helping them to continue teaching on this generous basis, particularly in situations where people cannot afford to pay anything.

Saturday 28th January - Freedom Right Here: A Beginner's Guide to Meditation with Mark Ovland

Meditation helps us to free up our hearts, free up our minds, and free up our lives. Taking time to learn this ancient and precious skill is one of the kindest gifts we can give to ourselves. And in giving to ourselves we give to the world. Through developing beautiful qualities of heart and mind, and by accessing a deep inner spaciousness for ourselves, we become all the more able to engage with our relationships and the stuff of life with love, with care, and with increasing wisdom.

This day retreat will be focussed on helping beginner meditators to establish a basic home practice. During the day we will meditate in different postures (sitting, walking, and standing, if people’s bodies allow), and share a delicious vegetarian lunch together. There’ll be instructions and reflections, tips and advice, and plenty of time for questions.

Everyone is welcome. If you’re a more experienced meditator and simply fancy a day on retreat, do please come along. Your presence and your practice will be a valuable support for those just starting out.

Mark Ovland: has been practising meditation since 2008. At the start of his journey he lived briefly as a monk in India, then on his return to the UK spent the following few years volunteering as a residential coordinator at the Barn Retreat and then Gaia House. Mark was invited to teach by the late Rob Burbea, with whom he studied and practised for a little under a decade. He co-founded the charity Freely Given Retreats and was a co-initiator of DANCE (the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement). Outside of retreat centres and meditation groups, Mark has also led courses in prisons, universities, and the workplace.

Saturday 18th March - Impermanence: a doorway to peace with River Wolton

Our personal and collective experience shows us time and again that all things end and nothing lasts forever. Sometimes this is a relief, and sometimes it feels painful and hard to recollect in the midst of busy lives, even though we might know all too well the problems inherent in denying change. Through grounding ourselves in kind, patient awareness, this day retreat will explore the possibilities of steadiness, care and joy that can open when we bear witness and get close up to the ceaselessly moving nature of life.

As well as talks and discussion, there will be periods (max 30 minutes) of guided meditation - sitting, standing, walking - and optional gentle movement. The day will be held in an atmosphere of companionable silence, and newcomers to meditation are welcome.

River Wolton: attended her first Insight Meditation retreat in 2000, and subsequently helped to establish Sheffield Insight Meditation. She trained as a Community Dharma Leader and has completed Dharma Teacher Training with Bodhi College. A former Derbyshire Poet Laureate, she has led writing and arts projects for many years, and is an activist in the LGBTQI+ community.

Saturday 20th May - Cultivating Wellbeing, Ease and Freedom with Zohar Lavie

The practice of Insight Meditation helps us to connect with what is happening in our own hearts and minds and to sense our innate potential for wisdom, love, openness and freedom. On this day retreat we will deepen understanding of how suffering is conditioned, and how wellbeing is nourished. Through attending to our own heart and mind with care and wisdom, possibilities of freedom open up. We will explore ways to creatively respond to the patterns, habits and obstacles that appear to obscure freedom. The day will include meditation instructions, teachings and time for questions.

The day will be held in silence, all levels of experience welcome.

Zohar Lavie: has been practising meditation in different traditions since 1995. This journey has taken her from the meditation cushion into exploring further ways of expressing truth and love and in 2004 she co-founded SanghaSeva. She now spends most of her time facilitating retreats that offer service as a spiritual path around the world. Since 2006 she has been teaching on silent retreats and Dharma gatherings in India, Europe and Israel.

Saturday 8th July - Knowledge from the present moment with Laura Bridgman

In our lives and in the world we try to make everything a known quantity. We name, categorise, map experience and develop theories. This learnt knowledge is valuable and has it’s place, but in the process of insight practice it can limit us. In this retreat we’ll explore the dynamic between learned knowledge and immediate knowing - the understanding that only comes in the immediacy of the moment. We’ll contemplate how they each can enhance or limit each other, and how to find the balance.

This day will consist of walking and sitting meditation together with reflections and guidance on the theme.

Laura Bridgman: was a Buddhist nun in the Theravada tradition from 1995 to 2015. Her main teachers within this school have been Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Sucitto and Sayadaw U Tejaniya. She has been offering retreats since 2007, most recently at Gaia House where she is also the staff support teacher. Her main practice orientation is the Buddha's teaching of the Five Spiritual Faculties (trust, balanced effort, mindfulness, composure and wisdom). Alongside her Vipassana (Insight) practice she is a student of the Diamond Approach (Ridhwan).

Saturday 16th September - Dharma dialogic exploration: fundamental questions on practice with Ramiro Ortega

In this retreat we will alternate periods of silent meditation with the exploration of fundamental questions related to our practice: What does practice mean to me? What is my goal or aspiration? How do I relate to challenges? Etc. In these explorations, we will mainly adopt a group dialogic format rather than the conventional Dharma talks.

Ramiro Ortega: has practised Buddhist meditation since 2005 and has completed his training as a Dharma teacher with Bodhi College. He also teaches mindfulness courses and retreats. Ramiro has a background in Western philosophy and is also a philosophical counsellor.

Saturday 18th November with Jaya Rudgard - TBC

Retreat Day Venue: Glenfrome Primary School, Bristol, BS5 6TY

These days are run by Bristol Insight Meditation group from 10-4 with a shared lunch. You can arive as from 9.30 to havea bit of time for a drink and to settle in before we start at 10am.

So please bring the following items with you on the day:

  • a vegetarian dish to share (or your own pack lunch if you prefer),
  • a yoga mat,
  • cushions and blankets so you can be comfortable for the day.
  • Outdoor gear for mindful walking
  • Cash/cheque for the teacher's dana

Chairs and gym mats are provided.


We have suggested donations for our retreat days which are as follows:

Early Bird Booking is £15 waged and £7.50 low waged (plus booking fee).

Tier 1 Booking is £20 waged and £10 low waged.

Suggested Ticket cost:

The fee that you pay covers the running costs for the retreat – the hire of the venue, teachers’ travelling and accommodation expenses, publicity, insurance, etc. Fees are charged on a sliding scale chosen by you according to your means.

Please pay the standard or sponsor rate if you are able to - this helps us to cover our costs and keeps our events open and accessible to all.

Gift Aid:

If you are a UK tax payer and happy to sign up for Gift Aid then we would be really grateful for this as Bristol Insight then receives the Gift Aid on each ticket. You con find out more information about gift aid here: https://www.gov.uk/donating-to-charity/gift-aid

Our freely given tickets are available for anyone with limited or no means to pay. We warmly welcome and encourage anyone who wishes to attend. No one will be excluded for lack of funds.


We ask for dana (donation) to be given on the day to cover the cost of the teacher so please bring cash/cheque if you wish to donate towards the cost of the teaching itself.

Event Photos

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Glenfrome Primary School, Cottisford Road, Bristol, United Kingdom


GBP 0.00 to GBP 25.00

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