Mindfulness Retreat: Mindfulness, Friendliness, Insight and Liberation


 Flyer endnote Chris Cullen.002


This retreat is co-sponsored by Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society of University of Massachusetts Medical School

andmeets the pre-requisites to complete the MBSR teacher training program at Oasis Professional Education and Training at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health and Society of the University of Massachusetts.


It also will qualify as Module 3 for the Professional MBCT Teacher Training that Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness is offering in collaboration with the Oxford Mindfulness Center, Oxford University here in Portugal (more information here).


This Insight Meditation retreat will explore the Four Ways of Establishing Mindfulness, as taught in the Satipaṭṭhāna discourse given by the Buddha. This profound teaching encourages us to place the path of freedom and compassion in the classroom of our lives, nurturing a heart that is receptive, awake and unshakeable. Practices for specifically cultivating mettā [friendliness] will also be included.


Each day will offer a sustained schedule of sitting and walking meditation practices, meetings with the teachers, talks and instructions, all within an underlying environment of silence and compassion.


This retreat will be very suitable for those who would like to deepen their understanding and practice of mindfulness, as well as professionals training to teach mindfulness based approaches.





Chris Cullen Photo              

Chris Cullen trained to teach Insight Meditation with Christina Feldman, and did Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the US. Chris co-founded the Mindfulness in Schools Project www.mindfulnessinschools.org and teaches mindfulness courses at the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre www.oxfordmindfulness.org and for MPs in the Houses of Parliament in London. He is a Core Faculty member of Bodhi College www.bodhi-college.org and has a psychotherapy practice in Oxford. He is also a mindfulness teacher at Gaia House (UK)  and Insight Meditation Society at Massachusetts (USA).


 Yuka photo

Yuka Nakamura, PhD, has been practicing in several Buddhist traditions since 1993. She was trained as a Dharma teacher by Fred von Allmen and teaches retreats in Europe and in the US. She is a trained psychologist and MBSR-teacher and -trainer and teaches mindfulness courses at the CFM Zentrum für Achtsamkeit in Zurich, Switzerland. She is also a mindfulness teacher at Gaia House (UK)  and Insight Meditation Society at Massachusetts (USA)



 If you want to know more about the teachers you can find Dharma Talks of Chris Cullen here and Yuka Nakamura here



Casa da Torre, Soutelo, Vila Verde, Braga, Portugal (info here)




The accommodation at Casa da Torre is in individual and double rooms with private bathroom. The rooms are not luxurious, but rather very simple with all the comfort for you to have a pleasant and peaceful stay during the retreat. The Center has several gardens in the exterior that you can use during the entire duration of the retreat. It also has a beautiful terrace with an amazing view over an extensive natural area.



                                                 Jardim Entrada Casa da Torre    IMG 04623 

                    IMG 04566   IMG 04586  IMG 04633

                    Terraco Casa da Torre    Jardim Casa da Torre  Floresta Casa da Torre

                                                     Quartos Individuais Casa da Torre 004   Quarto Duplo Casa da Torre 007   Quartos Casa de Banho Casa da Torre 008 



* Casa da Torre is a Jesuit Monastery and the choice of this type of retreat center is not because of the religious thematic of the place, which is not essential for a mindfulness retreat but rather because it meets several criteria that we find important for a retreat: silence, simplicity, high number of single rooms with private bathrooms available and great quality of the meals (variables that are requested for many of the people that are interested in our services)





Meals are vegetarian and they will include: complete breakfast, lunch and tea (light dinner: soup, bread, fruit). 


If you need any special adaptation in terms of meals please let us know.





- 19 September, Thursday -

2pm - 5pm: Arrival

6pm: Evening Meal

7.30pm: Coordinator's Opening Talk

8pm-9.15pm:  Teachers Opening Talk & Guided Meditation

9.15pm: Rest


- 20, 21, 22, 23 September (Friday through Monday) -

6.30am: Wake up

7.00am: Sitting Meditation

7.30am: Breakfast

8.15am: Work Period*

9.15am: Clean Up

9.30am: Instructions and Guided Meditation

10.15am: Walking Meditation

 11.00am: Sitting Meditation

11.30am: Walking Meditation

Noon: Mindful Movement

12.30pm: Lunch

2.30pm: Guided Meditation

3.15pm: Walking Meditation

4.00pm: Sitting Meditation

4.45pm Walking Meditation

5.30pm: Tea (Light Dinner)

7.00pm: Sitting Meditation

7.30pm: Dharma Talk

8.30pm: Walking Meditation

9.00pm: Sitting Meditation

9.30pm: Rest


- 24 September, Tuesday -

6.30am: Wake up

7.00am: Sitting Meditation

7.25am: Co-Ordinator's Closing Talk

7.40am: Breakfast - Silent Breaks

8.15am: Work Period

9.15am: Tidy up & Room Cleaning

10.00am: Sitting/Closing Session

11.30am: After Retreat Information (silence ends)

12.40pm: Lunch


* The work periods provide opportunities to practise bringing mindful care, attention and embodiment to some simple tasks involved in taking care of the retreat centre and supporting our time on retreat together.

**There might be changes in the schedule.

*** Teachers will be available for individual interviews. Details will be provided during the retreat.




Retreat Tuition:

485 euros (participants registering in individual name)

485 euros + 23% IVA (for participants registering through companies)


Meals and Accommodation: 225 euros (individual or double rooms)



The limit date for registration is the 8th September of 2019. After this date we won’t accept any further registrations.


The number of places is limited, so we advise your registration as soon as possible.


To register in the retreat:

  • Make the payment of the value of the retreat: 485 euros (participants registering in individual name) or 485 euros + 23% IVA/VAT (for participants registering through companies)
  • Payment can be completed bank transference using the:

IBAN: PT50 0035 0158 00018441030 71


                    BANK: CAIXA GERAL DE DEPÓSITOS (CGD)


(for international bank transferences you may need extra information than that provided above. Please get in touch with us via email to geral@serintegral.pt to obtain this information. Thank you.)


  • Send an email to geral@serintegral.pt with the name and date of the event you want to register, with the type of accommodation of your choice (double or single) and the bank statement proof of payment

In the first day of the retreat you will have to pay your accommodation/meals fee directly to Casa da Torre in the total value of de 250 euros.


After the reception of your email we will send you a reply confirming your place in the retreat and with information relating to the retreat. If you don't receive our reply please contact us.



  • If your retreat is canceled until the 15th of July you will receive a full reimbursement of the retreat minus an administration fee of 50 euros plus fee for the international bank transference. After this date we won’t make any reimbursements.
  • If the event is canceled due to an unexpected reason, Ser Integral: Centro Português de Mindfulness, will provide a reimbursement of 100% of the value paid for the retreat, but we won’t be responsible for any other costs (i.e., travelling and accommodation) associated with your participation in the retreat.


- The retreat will occur with a minimum and maximum number of participants (limited places available). In the eventuality of the retreat not having the minimum registrations established Se Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness will have to cancel the event.

- Please bring confortable clothing, a meditation cushion, yoga mat and blankets for your own comfort in the practice room. Also bring confortable walking shoes to use on the gardens/forest and you might also be interested in bringing a mosquito repellent.

- The program is subject to minor changes according to the needs met during the retreat.

- The room has bed sheets, towels, blankets, but you should bring all the toiletries that you usually need (e.g., shampoo, soap, etc)

- Individual rooms are limited and they will be offered on first registration basis. The cost of a private room per person is the same as a double room per person.




How to get here?

Please see the information on: http://casadatorre.org/arrive/arrive.html


The closest airport is PORTO (OPO). From here you can rent a car to drive to Vila Verde (use the GPS coordinates and address below), take a taxi to the Bus Station in Porto


(http://www.renex.pt/, Address: Campo Mártires da Pátria, 37, Porto) to get a bus from Porto to Braga and from Braga please see the details below: 


By Bus: Between 7am and 8.15pm you can find several buses that leave the Bus Central Station of Braga to Vila Verde, Arcos and Monção. You need to get out at the stop – Rio Homem, make a left and you will have Casa da Torre ahead (with a big gate).


By Taxi: From the Central Bus Station or Train Station of Braga to Casa da Torre you will pay around 12 euros.


By Car: GPS coordinates :41º36’.08”N 8º26’17.05”W or the address: Casa da Torre, Avenida Viscondes da Torre, nº 80 4730-570 Soutelo – Vila Verde.


By Shuttle: Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness will organize shuttles from the airport to the retreat center if a minimum number of participants from other countries registers in the retreat. There will be a fee for this service (to be determined).

At what time should I arrive? When will we finish?
Arrival is on the 19th of September between 2pm and 5pm so that we can process your arrival and registration. You will then be assigned to your room, dinner will be at 6pm and orientation session at 7.30pm. In the last day of the retreat we will have lunch at the retreat center and after this we will all leave the retreat center.

Is there wireless and mobile phone connection?

Yes, but usage of mobile phones and internet is not allowed during the 5 days of the retreat.


Is it possible to arrive earlier or stay after the retreat ends?

Yes, if you need more nights at the retreat center you have to contact Casa da Torre directly.

What do I need to bring?

It is advised to bring confortable clothing, a meditation cushion, a yoga mat and blankets for your comfort during the practices. The room has bed sheets, towels, blankets, but you should bring all the toiletries that you usually need (e.g., shampoo, soap, etc). Also bring confortable walking shoes to use on the gardens/forest and you might also be interested in bringing a mosquito repellent.


Is this retreat accepted as a pre-requisite for the teacher training in mindfulness?

This retreat meets the pre-requisites for the teacher training program in MBSR at the Oasis Professional Education and Training at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health and Society of the University of Massachusetts. If you want to know if this retreat is acceptable by other institutions, please contact them directly.Furthermore, it qualifies as module 3 for the teacher training in MBCT at the Oxford Mindfulness Center.


I’ve completed the MBSR in a retreat format or 8 week format. Should I expect the same dynamics in this silent retreat?

No, a silent retreat in mindfulness meditation does not follow the same dynamic of an MBSR program. This retreat will have almost no guided meditation practices, in order to help you cultivate the ability to practice in silence. There will be group discussions daily after the morning Dharma talk, and at the beginning and end of the retreat, but no other group discussions.   You will also have the opportunity to meet individually with the teachers throughout the retreat.


What do previous participants have to say about their experience on other retreats organized by Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness?

"Thank you so much for organizing this retreat in Braga, it was a true gift for me and I got so much out of it...words cannot even describe. The organization was excellent, I loved the monastery and Paul and Anna were wonderful teachers!" - Myrto Legaki, Greece (2017)


"I flew from Denmark and joined a 5-day silent retreat organised by Ser Integral in Porto. The retreat place was perfect and I was very impressed by the genuine care of the organisers. They were truly helpful, professional, attentive and loving throughout the whole event. We stayed in single rooms and having this privacy was very helpful for me to extend deepening the silence. And if you are wondering, the food was great as well!:) I am looking forward to coming back for more retreats." Esen, Denmark (2017)


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