Frequently Asked Questions
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a set of highly effective, proven tools to strengthen the mind and bring greater happiness to life. It is not a religion, though many traditions use the practice.
People have been using meditation for thousands of years to bring their lives into balance, to ease suffering, to discover happiness, and to live more compassionately.
How can meditation help me?
Meditation has been scientifically proven to:
- Improve overall physical, mental, and emotional health
- Decrease stress
- Alleviate anxiety and depression
- Manage chronic pain
- Improve sleep
And that’s just the beginning….
Why do a meditation retreat?
Meditation retreats offer opportunities for deepened, focused, and extended practice under the guidance of expert teachers. A “momentum of mindfulness” and multiple insights can develop in a retreat setting that would be far more difficult to attain when one is in their “daily life” with all of the responsibilities, duties, and distractions that exist in that setting. During a retreat, everything is taken care of for you, so all you have to do is focus on your practice.
How do I register for a “Solo Hybrid” retreat?
Visit our Upcoming Retreats page and click “Register Now” for the specific retreat dates in which you are interested. This will take you to a registration form to reserve your room and board options. NOTE: you will have to register separately for the online retreat content corresponding with your chosen retreat dates. If you are not able to register online, contact the Retreat Manager listed for the specific retreat dates in which you are interested.
How much does it cost to attend the retreat?
Solo Hybrid Retreats rates are as follows:
- Bring Your Own Food Option: $85/night
- Meal Prep Kits Option: $85/night + $25/day
- Fully-Catered Meals Option: $85/night + $45/day
NOTE: Online Retreat Content is not included. Online Retreat Content is offered through our content partners and registration is directly with the content partners, not with Big Bear Retreat Center
How do I know if I’m accepted into the retreat?
You will receive an email confirmation upon receipt of your registration form and deposit. This retreat is being offered on a first-come first-served basis. If you’ve registered after the retreat is full, you will be notified within 48 hours and placed on the waiting list. If you do not have email access, the Retreat Manager will contact you by phone.
Can I re-register if I have already cancelled?
Yes, if there is room. But, if the retreat is full, you will be placed on the waiting list.
What if I need to cancel?
Please notify the Retreat Manager by email or phone as soon as you know that you are unable to attend.
Cancellations made 30+ days prior to arrival are entitled to a full refund.
Cancellations made 14-29 days prior to arrival are entitled to a full refund.
No refunds will be given for cancellations made 14 days or fewer from arrival date, unless due to a weather-related road closure (Winter season). For additional information on Winter travel conditions please visit our Getting to BBRC page.
Can I transfer my deposit to another retreat?
Generally no. However, we may consider such requests on a case-by-case basis.
Can I transfer my deposit to my partner or another person?
General Retreat Information
What time do retreats begin and end?
Typically, check-in is from 2 to 4 pm followed by a welcome and orientation at 4:30 pm. The retreat usually ends by 11 am on the last day. Times for your specific retreat will be listed in your registration materials.
What is a typical retreat day like?
The daily schedule varies from retreat to retreat. However, a typical day is as follows:
- All retreats are in silence unless specified otherwise.
- Wake-up bell: 6 or 6:30 am
- Alternating 30 to 45-minute periods of sitting and walking meditation
- Guided yoga
- Meditation instruction and daily dharma talk
- Breakfast, lunch and a light supper are provided (also available through the day are bread, nut butters, and fruit).
- A daily work meditation period, typically kitchen, housekeeping or grounds-keeping.
- Periodic group practice discussion with the teacher(s).
- Sleep: 9:30 pm.
What are the practice discussions with teachers?
Sometimes called interviews, these are an opportunity to discuss your meditation practice and retreat experience with a teacher. They usually occur in small groups with a teacher. Specifics will vary depending on the the teaching team and specific online retreat offerring.
What is Work Meditation?
A daily 30 – 40 minute period of work as meditation practice. Jobs include helping with meal preparation, kitchen cleanup, housekeeping and grounds-keeping. These are optional.
Can I arrive early on the day my retreat begins?
Plan to arrive during the check-in period unless special arrangements have been made.
Can I stay extra nights before or after a retreat?
Sorry, the Retreat Center is currently booked.
Can I participate in less than the full retreat?
Requests for late arrivals or early departures must be approved by Big Bear Retreat Center before the start of the retreat.
Is there a number I can be reached at during the retreat in case of emergency?
Yes. This will be provided in your registration materials.
Can I practice yoga during the retreat?
Yes. Some retreats will feature guided yoga or other mindful movement instruction. Additionally, there are a number of areas that can accommodate yoga. Keep mindful to avoid distracting fellow retreatants.
Can I have a package sent to me while I’m on retreat?
To receive a package while on retreat, please inform the Retreat Manager. The Retreat Center is in a rural area and specific arrangements may need to be made to accommodate package deliveries.
Can I camp?
There is no camping available at this time.
Can I use my CPAP machine? Is there a place to plug it in?
What happens in case of Medical Emergency?
In the event of medical emergency the retreatant will be taken to a LOCAL hospital or Urgent care facility as applicable. We are not able to accommodate requests to other facilities.
BBRC currently offers wheelchair accessibility, but with limitations (we are hard at work improving this). Please contact our Retreat Manager with your specific needs / concerns / requests.
There is no smoking anywhere in the facility or grounds of BBRC. This includes electronic cigarettes.
What are meals like?
If you are choose either our Fully-Catered Option or Our Meal Prep Kit Option, we serve delicious all vegetarian meals (breakfast, lunch, and a light supper) prepared by our talented chefs. Vegan and gluten-free options are always available. BBRC does not accommodate individual dietary preferences, unless medically necessary. We thank you in advance for gratefully accepting the food we offer.
Do you serve tea and hot water?
Drip coffee makers and hot water pots are available in every cabin. If you choose the “Fully-Catered” or “Meal Prep Kit” options, your kitchen will be stocked with coffee, tea, and the necessary accoutrements.
I must eat meat for my health. What should I do?
We do our best to make special dietary accommodations, when medically necessary. Please contact the Retreat Manager if you have specific requests and/or concerns.
What to Bring
BBRC is committed to conserving water. Bring your own water bottle to help prevent having to wash glasses.
Sheets & Towels:
We encourage you to bring your own as it aids us in conserving energy, water, and staff and volunteer hours. All beds have twin-sized mattresses. We can provide sheets and towels for you at an additional charge.
No Scented Products:
Being mindful of some people’s allergies or sensitivities, please do not bring or wear scented cosmetics, soaps, or other products, including “natural” scents. Do not use fabric softeners or scented detergent in clothing worn on retreats. For resources about how to be fragrance-free, we highly recommend visiting EBMC’s site.
Clothing for all weather:
Indoor temperature is controlled by forced-air heating. There can be large temperature swings between day and night so bring appropriate layers.
Bring an umbrella and rain gear in the Spring, and winter gear in the Winter.
Bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Most buildings are shoe-free. Ideally closed-toe shoes in case your work meditation is in the kitchen. For some, it can be helpful to bring indoor shoes or slippers. We also provide indoor-only slippers.
Bring whatever you need. We are not able to shop for items you may have forgotten.
- Unscented toiletries: toothbrush/paste, shaving items, sunscreen, etc… (note: Shampoo, conditioner & soap are provided.)
- Medical and personal supplies: Tylenol/aspirin, cough drops, eye drops and lip balm…
- Sunglasses and sunhat for walking outdoors.
- Shawl or wrap for the mediation hall
- Indoor “slipper” shoes or extra warm socks. (No shoes in most buildings.)
- Flip flops for shower room
- Flashlight or headlamp (and batteries)
- Water bottle
Meditation Cushions and Mats (Zafus & Zabutons):
Zabutons (mats) and round cushions are provided in the meditation hall. Cushioned chairs are also available. The meditation hall floor is carpeted. Retreatants are encouraged to bring their own bench or special cushion.
If you feel you have to bring a hair dryer, it should only be used at times it won’t disturb others, typically right after meals for about 45 minutes.
Will I be able to do laundry?
The center’s laundry facilities are not available to retreatants. To help conserve water, bring enough clothes to not have to do hand laundry if possible.
Can I bring my Service Animal?
Trained service dogs in ADA-specified service are allowed. Please specify this on your registration or application form so we have maximum time to notify other retreatants, in case any have dog issues or allergies. Our Retreat Manager will also let you know our house rules regarding the care and exercising of your service dog.
Big Bear Retreat Center does not allow animals providing emotional support, comfort or therapy.