Free template: The half-day (and full day) at-home meditation retreat

Takeaway: I’ve designed two templates so you can conduct a mini-meditation retreat at home: one’s for a half-day retreat (4 hours), and another is for a full-day retreat (7 hours).

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes, 16s.

I love attending meditation retreats, but can’t always find the time to do so — and when I can find the time, the retreat schedule often doesn’t line up with my own. That’s why I’ve designed two short templates so you can conduct your own at-home mini meditation retreat. I’ve crafted these templates to be similar to a standard retreat schedule — while adapting slightly for the constraints we have at home.

Here are the two meditation retreat routines I’ve created for myself, along with a few tips on how you can integrate one into your life.

Note: Most meditation retreats I’ve attended begin at 5:30 a.m. or earlier. I’ve replicated that here, and while you can obviously adopt these routines in the way you’d like, it’s important to wake up deliberately, at a pre-determined time. Starting the day on an intentional note lets you continue to act intentionally throughout the day.

Half-Day At-Home Meditation Retreat

Time required: 4 hours; 5:30 a.m. — 9:30 a.m.

  • 5:30–6:15: Wake up, shower, get ready mindfully.
  • 6:15–6:45: Walking meditation (outdoors, if possible).
  • 6:45–7:30: Light snack, and mindfully prepare and drink a cup of coffee or green tea (This helps you focus deeper in subsequent meditations).
  • 7:30–8:15: Sitting meditation.
  • 8:15–8:45: Walking meditation (outdoors, if possible).
  • 8:45–9:15: Guided meditation (Tara Brach has some great ones that are around 30 minutes long).
  • 9:15–9:30: Walking meditation (outdoors, if possible).

Full-Day At-Home Meditation Retreat

Time required: 7 hours; 5:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.

  • 5:30–6:15: Wake up, shower, get ready mindfully.
  • 6:15–6:45: Walking meditation.
  • 6:45–7:30: Light snack, and mindfully prepare and drink a cup of coffee or green tea (This helps you focus deeper in subsequent meditations).
  • 7:30–8:15: Sitting meditation.
  • 8:15–8:45: Walking meditation (outdoors, if possible).
  • 8:45–9:15: Guided meditation (Tara Brach has some great ones that are around 30 minutes long).
  • 9:15–10:00: Walking meditation (outdoors, if possible).
  • 10:00–11:00: Mindful cleaning and chores.
  • 11–11:15: Light snack.
  • 11:15–11:45: Guided meditation, or dharma talk (I love Dharma Seed for this — they also have an app).
  • 11:45–12:30: Walking meditation (outdoors, if possible).

Finally, a few tips, before you get started:

  • Make sure you find some time — as well as the quiet space. Depending on your living situation, it can be tough to find a spare half day, let alone a full day. But when you do, you should make sure you not only have the time to conduct the retreat — but that you also have a quiet space. It can be frustrating to try to meditate over music and conversations that are happening in another room. Plan an at-home retreat at a time and place you’ll be able to focus without distraction.
  • Use a sick day. Taking a full sick day or a half-day at work will let you schedule an at-home retreat when no one else is around. Plus, the result of your deeper focus will help you be more productive when you do return to work. This is one of the primary reasons I meditate: it allows me to better focus, and gives me the awareness to work on what’s important. An at-home meditation retreat is a great investment in yourself if you have a vacation or sick day to spare.
  • Head to work late. Here’s another option, albeit one that’s a bit more stressful: head to bed early so you can wake up early and conduct a half-day retreat. The half-day retreat takes four hours, which means that if you start at 5:30 a.m., you’ll be finished by 9:30 a.m., and can still get to work at a reasonable time.
  • Stay disconnected. Meditation is a practice meant to sharpen your attention, but the devices around us are designed to do the exact opposite: distract and hijack our focus. It’s critical to shut your device off when meditating, whether it’s for five minutes or for a full day. The only distractions that should come up as you meditate should be the ones in your own head!
  • Set timers ahead of time. I find it helpful to set a simple timer on my phone to go off whenever it’s time to transition to the next activity. It’s also helpful to print a schedule of the mini-retreat, so you won’t have to think too much about logistics while it’s underway.
  • Conduct a travel retreat. I’ll often conduct a half-day retreat in my hotel room when I travel to give a talk. I sneak a bunch of food upstairs from the continental breakfast, and eat it throughout the morning while meditating and drinking tea. If you find your energy waning as you travel, conducting a mini-retreat in your hotel room or looking for a local meditation center can be a great way to recharge.
  • Wake up or fall asleep while disconnected. When you wake up with your phone, tablet, and computer on airplane mode, you start the day on a calm note. The same is true when you fall asleep a couple hours after disconnecting your devices from the internet. Keep this in mind for the day of your at-home retreat. (This is also why disconnecting my devices for 12 hours every day is one of my favorite rituals.)

If you’re looking to deepen your meditation practice, finding the time to conduct an at-home meditation retreat is worthwhile. I hope these two templates help you achieve greater focus and productivity.


Originally published at A Life of Productivity.