Contemplative Retreats for Educators

Walking Meditation at the 2011 Retreat for Educators


Retreat for Educators: Contemplative Practices in Teaching and Learning

Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 9:00am – 5:30pm
$95 with lunch included / $80 without lunch (bring your own)

Shalini Bahl, Mindfulness Instructor
Daniel Barbezat, Executive Director, Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and Professor of Economics, Amherst College
Hosted by: Jane Fried, Professor of Counselor Education and Family Therapy, CCSU

3/21/15: Thank you for your interest in our retreat! Registration has been closed. The retreat is full, and we are unable to take onsite registrations.

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Retreat Leaders | Registration Information | Lunch | Directions to CCSU | Retreat Schedule

This day-long retreat held by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society offers higher education professionals (faculty, staff, administrators), undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to cultivate a sense of clarity, meaning, and purpose as the basis for engaged action in their work and education. Throughout the day we will explore a variety of contemplative practices, including mindfulness meditation, walking and gentle yoga, exercises in compassion, journaling, and dialogue. These practices cultivate capacities essential in college and university environments—focused attention, deepened understanding of course content, greater kindness and compassion, and enhanced contemplative inquiry and insight. Participants will have opportunities to connect with one another and become part of a community committed to contemplative practices in higher education.

Participants with any degree of familiarity with contemplative and reflective practices are encouraged to attend.

Retreat Leaders

Shalini BahlShalini Bahl is a Search Inside Yourself Certified Teacher and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher. She received her PhD in marketing from the Isenberg School of Management, UMass, Amherst. Her dissertation on the dialogical nature of self in consumers and subsequent research in mindfulness has been published in top marketing journals including the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. She is pioneering a new track on the Mindful Consumer at the Transformative Consumer Research Conference at the Villanova University in 2015. As a practitioner of meditation for over a decade, Shalini is committed to promoting mindfulness-based classes and contemplative pedagogy in higher ed and mindfulness-based programs to develop emotional intelligence and compassionate leadership in organizations.

Daniel BarbezatDaniel Barbezat is Professor of Economics at Amherst College and Executive Director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Over the past decade, he has become interested in how self-awareness and introspection can be used in post-secondary education, economic decision-making and creating and sustaining well-being. With the support of a Contemplative Practice Fellowship in 2008, he has developed courses that integrate contemplative exercises designed to enable students to gain deeper understanding and insight. Along with experimental research on choice and awareness, he is currently editing a group of papers on examples of contemplative pedagogy across the disciplines with Arthur Zajonc. His latest book (co-written with Mirabai Bush), Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning, was released in 2013 by Jossey-Bass.

Registration Information

Retreat fee
Lunch included: $95
Lunch NOT included: $80

Tickets with lunch included will be available until March 13, 2015. After this date, tickets without lunch included will be available until March 20th. More information on lunch is listed below.

Financial Aid

All of our available financial aid for this retreat has been awarded.

Ticket/Refund Policy

Prior to March 12, 2015, we can grant 90% refunds for registration cancellations. After March 12th, we are unable to grant refunds.

Registration closes on Friday, March 20, 2015.

Registration payments are due by Friday, March 20th.



Tickets with lunch included will be available until March 13, 2015. After this date, tickets without lunch included will be available until March 20th.

Participants who choose the ticket option with lunch included will be provided with lunch on the day of the retreat. Lunch options include vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Participants who are purchasing a lunch ticket should indicate any food allergies or restrictions on the registration form.

Participants who choose the ticket option without meals should bring a bagged lunch, as there will not be time to go to a restaurant. Thank you!

Directions to CCSU

Please visit for directions to the campus. Directions to the retreat space on campus will be emailed to participants.

Dialog at an Academic Retreat

“The Center is a great guide to developing contemplative practices. ‘Poetry and Meditation,’ the experimental course I taught in Spring 2000 at West Point as a Fellow of the Center, changed much of what I thought I knew about teaching and learning, and by doing that, changed my life.”

— Marilyn Nelson, chancellor, Academy of American Poets; author, A Wreath for Emmett Till and Carver: A Life in Poems

Retreat Schedule

Retreat for Educators: Contemplative Practices in Teaching and Learning
Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT

9:00 – 9:30 am Registration and coffee/tea
9:30 – 10:15 Centering practice and introductions
10:15 – 10:45 Welcome and framing of the retreat, sharing of intentions
10:45 – 10:55 Break
10:55 – 11:40 Guided sitting practice
11:40 – 12:15 pm Deep listening practice
12:15 – 1:15 Lunch
1:15 – 2:00 Movement practice
2:00 – 2:35 Journaling with prompts
2:35 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 4:45 Small group discussion: How do we bring this into our work?
4:45 – 5:00 Grounding and integration practice
5:00 – 5:30 Compassion practice and retreat closing

Past Retreats:

Contemplative Retreat for Educators: A Day of Practice
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Friends Meeting of Washington, Washington, DC
with Paul Wapner and Nicole Salimbene
Contemplative One-Day Retreat for Educators: Mindfulness, Lovingkindness, and Simple Yoga
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Amherst College, Amherst, MA
with Mirabai Bush and Anna Neiman Passalacqua
November 18 – 21, 2012
Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY
With Mirabai Bush, Paul Wapner, and Anna Neiman Passalacqua
Read the report (.pdf)
November 17 – 20, 2011
Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY
With Mirabai Bush, Arthur Zajonc, and Anna Neiman Passalacqua
Read the report (.pdf)
November 11 – 14, 2010
Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY
With Mirabai Bush, Arthur Zajonc, and Sunanda Markus
Read the report (.pdf)
November 12 – 15, 2009
Marconi Conference Center, Marshall, CA
With Mirabai Bush and Arthur Zajonc
Read the report (.pdf)
November 13-16, 2008
Menla Mountain Retreat Center, Phoenicia, NY
With Mirabai Bush, Arthur Zajonc, and Sunanda Markus
Read the report (.pdf)


Past Retreat Faculty

Mirabai Bush was a co-founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Executive Director until 2008. Under her direction, The Center developed its programs in education, law, business, and activism and its network of thousands of people integrating contemplative practice and perspective into their lives and work.

Mirabai holds a unique background of organizational management, teaching, and spiritual practice. A founding board member of the Seva Foundation, an international public health organization, she directed the Seva Guatemala Project, which supports sustainable agriculture and integrated community development. Also at Seva, she co-developed Sustaining Compassion, Sustaining the Earth, a series of retreats and events for grassroots environmental activists on the interconnection of spirit and action. She has worked on educational programs with inner-city youth of color. She is co-author, with Ram Dass, of Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service, published by Random House.

Mirabai has organized, facilitated, and taught workshops, weekends, and courses on spirit and action for more than 20 years at institutions including Omega Institute, Naropa Institute, Findhorne, Zen Mountain Monastery, University of Massachusetts, San Francisco Zen Center, Buddhist Study Center at Barre, MA, Insight Meditation Society, and the Lama Foundation. She has a special interest in the uncovering and recovery of women’s spiritual wisdom to inform work for social change. She has taught women’s groups with Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Sharon Salzberg, Joan Halifax, Margo Adler, Starhawk, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Vicky Noble, and other leaders.

Her spiritual studies include meditation study at the Burmese Vihara in Bodh Gaya, India, with Shri S.N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra; bhakti yoga with Hindu teacher Neemkaroli Baba; and studies with Tibetan lamas Kalu Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kyabje Gehlek Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and others. She also did five years of intensive practice in Iyengar yoga and five years of Aikido with Kanai Sensei. Her earlier religious study included 20 years of Catholic schooling, ending with Georgetown University graduate study in medieval literature. She holds an ABD in American literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Sunanda Markus Sunanda Markus has served as program coordinator for the Academic Program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society for 8 years. She also works as the Managing Director of Nights Publications Inc. in Montreal, Quebec.

Her non-profit experience includes serving on the boards of the Seva Foundation, Seva Service Society, the Insight Meditation Society, the Eyak Preservation Council, the Montreal Zen Centre, and the Learning Alliance. As a board member for Seva Foundation she served as chairperson for 3 years and was also an active member of the Seva Guatemala Project which supports integrated community development.

She took her first course in meditation in 1972 in India with the Theravadan Buddhist teacher Shri S.N. Goenka and has been a student of Vipassana meditation since then. She also studied bhakti yoga in India with Hindu teacher Neemkaroli Baba and has been a student of yoga for over twenty years.

Anna Neiman Passalacqua teaches Hatha yoga and Peaceful Weight Loss™ through Yoga. After working at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, Anna began teaching yoga full time with a focus on yoga therapeutics. In addition to teaching group yoga classes, Anna works with private clients of all ages, helping them to connect with their own best selves and make lifelong change. Based in Northampton, Massachusetts, Anna has coordinated and taught yoga retreats at centers including Kripalu, Yogaville, and Garrison Institute. Her yoga sessions are an opportunity to move, stretch, and enhance body awareness. The sessions are designed for all levels.
Nicole Salimbene is a visual artist, working with unconventional materials to explore themes of sustainability, spirituality and archetypal poetics. Her paintings, installations, photographs, and sculptures draw on sacred and profane images to encourage self-inquiry and contemplation. Her work has been exhibited in juried shows and galleries nationally and internationally, as well as reproduced for publications and purchased for private collections.Nicole has created a unique method for using the artistic process to gain clarity, emotional access, and expansive sensitivity, and has brought this approach to various academic disciplines and professional associations to enrich vocational wellness. She has led workshops in contemplative art-making practices in affiliation with American University, Clark University, the Lama Foundation, and Ghost Ranch. By opening to the practice of making art, participants grow attentive to the symbols, metaphors and materials that hold meaning in their lives.
Paul Wapner is Professor of Global Environmental Politics at the School of International Service at American University, and author of Living Through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism and Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics. His research focuses on Environmental Thought, Transnational Environmental Activism, Environmental Ethics, and Global Environmental Politics. Paul Wapner is a 2008 Contemplative Practice Fellow.
Arthur Zajonc Arthur is the President of the Mind & Life Institute and was previously the Andrew Mellon professor of physics and interdisciplinary studies at Amherst College, where he taught since 1978. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan. He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and the universities of Rochester, and Hannover. He has been Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

His research has included studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between science, the humanities and the contemplative traditions. He has written extensively on Goethe’s science work. He is author of the book Catching the Light, co-author of The Quantum Challenge, and co-editor of Goethe’s Way of Science. In 1997 he served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama. He again organized the 2002 dialogue with the Dalai Lama, “The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life,” and acted as moderator at MIT for the “Investigating the Mind” Mind and Life dialogue in 2003. The proceedings of the Mind and Life-MIT meeting were published under the title The Dalai Lama at MIT.

He previously directed the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Out of this work and his long-standing meditative practice, Zajonc has authored Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love. He has co-authored a book with Parker Palmer, The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal. Zajonc blogs for Psychology Today on meditation. He has also been General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, a co-founder of the Kira Institute, president of the Lindisfarne Association, and a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute.