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zen mountain center yokoji entrance gate
meditation cushions zendo

may 30 - june 2, 2024
@ yokoji zen mountain center

wisdom maps
complex humans


a meditation, movement & contemplation

This 2024 retreat will center around teachings connected to the Bodhisattva - an archetypal figure of wisdom & compassion. A key feature of the power of a bodhisattva is that they acknowledge the impossibilities of the human experience-- with all of its limitations, confusions and griefs-- and they aspire to radically loving and awakened actions nevertheless. 

-- We will anchor in teachings on emptiness (or boundlessness) as offered in The Heart Sutra of the Zen tradition, and through this avenue, we'll explore topics such as grasping, self & other, liberation and more.  

-- We will explore meditation forms & techniques from the anapanasatti sutta of the Pali Canon, metta practices, as well as Soto Zen structures.


-- Through the yoga practices, we will cultivate more sophisticated and subtle understandings of siddhi, bandhas, prana and more.  We will weave other somatic and art practices into these explorations.


-- A contemporary understanding of the nervous system weaves throughout our process, helping us access stability, pleasure, courage and a wider range of being.  

  • Daily Practices

    • lots of sitting & walking meditation​

    • chanting

    • yoga movement, breathing & energy practices

    • somatic inquiry practices

    • rest

    • dharma talks​​

    • communion with nature

    • technology-free experience; no phone zone

    • work practices to support the community while on retreat

    • noble silence, most of retreat 

      • sarah will offer support & teaching around entering, being in, and exiting silence practice​​

      • we enter silence together thursday night and exit silence together sunday morning

      • optional opportunities for intentional speaking & listening practices​​ throughout retreat

  • This retreat is a refined, consciously-crafted container, upholding a clear and boundaried space into which you can enter as you are--  therein lies the potential for transformation and meaning for those who participate.  

The retreat is grounded in a thoughtfully designed schedule that includes both structure and spaciousness.  These two qualities enables participants to feel well supported in the process of unbinding what is tangled.


Magic unfolds on retreats like this through the cooperation of an intentional and kind community, articulate and wholehearted teaching, and the energetic force of the practices themselves.  

  • Tucked between the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains near Idyllwild, this Southern California retreat will take place amongst the pines, chaparral and stars of these beautiful Cahuilla ancestral lands.


  • Additional supports ​​ 

    • zen housing accommodations - rustic and simple

      • communal living

        • small group housing accommodations ​

        • possible opportunity for individual housing (depending on enrollment totals)

    • clean, healthful meals

      • gluten free and vegan menu, with occasional additional options​ offered

      • tea, coffee and simple snacks available throughout the day

    • body self-treatment corner​

    • zafus (meditation cushions), zabutons (larger cushion base for the zafu), meditation benches & chairs available for use throughout the retreat

      • please bring your own yoga mat and additional yoga props (more details upon registration)​

  • For whom:

    • all kinds of folx welcome, of all identities and backgrounds​

    • this retreat is open to all levels of practitioner, however is not appropriate for a brand new beginner practitioner

  • Payment & Dana Structure


The payment structure for this retreat is offered on a sliding scale.  We aim to make this retreat as financially accessible as possible and are interested in financial transparency.  Participants are encouraged to offer what they can with generosity and also without strain or regret.  Let’s bring heartfelt mindfulness to this fiscal exchange.


Each participant must pay a minimum base level of $340 to attend the retreat.  This cost covers payment to Yokoji Zen Mountain Center for housing, food and administrative support ($300 per person) + cost of additional supplies ($40 per person).  


Beyond this required base level, any additional payment directly supports Sarah for her administrative work and coordination of the event, as well as her teaching and facilitating while on retreat.  This aspect of your payments is part of the practice of dana, or generosity, in the realms of giving and receiving. 


Participants may choose from 5 tiers of payment options.  The amount in each tier is all-inclusive for the retreat (4-day/3-night) and covers housing, food, materials and teachings.


  • $340 - Foundational Roots Tier 

    • This tier covers the base level of required costs with no additional dana for Sarah.


  • $540 - Solid Trunk Tier

    • ​This tier includes the base level of required costs plus $50/day of dana to Sarah.


  • $740 - Outstretched Branches Tier. 

    • This mid level tier includes the base level of required costs plus $100/day of dana to Sarah.


  • $940 - Green Leaves Tier. 

    • This scholarship level tier includes the base level of required costs, plus $100/day of dana to Sarah, plus an additional $50/day as “scholarship” offerings to help supplement another participant who cannot afford to pay more than the base costs.


  • $1,140 - Blooming Flowers Tier

    • This benefactor level tier includes the base level of required costs, plus $100/day of dana to Sarah, plus an additional $100/day as “scholarship” offerings to help more generously supplement another participant who cannot afford to pay more than the base costs.

  • Cancellation Refund Policy​

    • after April 1, 2024, 50% refunds offered (of total dana amount chosen).

    • no refunds after May 1, 2024.

  • ​​Illness Policy

It is of great importance that each of us involved in this retreat do all that we can to protect the health of everyone attending, as well as the health of the ongoing residents, monastics and Abbot of Yokoji Zen Mountain Center, with whom we will share the grounds and meals during our stay there..

  • General

    • Please do not attend retreat if you are ill or are positive for Covid-19.

    • We will do our best to maintain good ventilation in the zendo and there is always outdoor seating options during meals; please keep in mind potential swings in temperatures with mountain weather.

    • We trust you to use basic good judgment throughout retreat, and inform Sarah or other support people if you feel unwell during retreat.

    • If a retreat participant becomes sick during retreat, they will be asked to stay in your room /isolate from others and if serious, return home. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they must leave the retreat. 

      • We will have rapid tests for Covid -19 on hand if needed.

  • Leading up to Retreat:

    • We highly recommend that you take extra care in the 10 days leading up to the retreat to minimize risk of exposure to Covid, Flu and other communicable diseases as much as is possible.  

  • Covid-19 Specific Cancellations: ​

    • If a participant cannot attend because of a positive Covid test within 7 days leading up to the retreat, their payment will be fully refunded. Documentation of the positive test with the date will be required in order to process the refund. 

  • Frequently Asked Questions

-- What time does the retreat begin and end?​

On Thursday​, arrival hour is between 3-4pm pacific.  

On Sunday, the retreat wraps by 2pm pacific.

-- I'm flying in from out of town.  What airport should I use?

San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Springs airports can all work well for this retreat.  Please see next question for driving times.

-- What are driving times like to Yokoji Zen Mountain Center from the surrounding metropolitan areas?

From both San Diego and Los Angeles, Yokoji is approximately a 2.5 hour drive, in non-rush hour traffic.  If traveling to Yokoji from these areas after 2pm, the commute can run upwards of 4 hours.  

From Palm Springs, Yokoji is approximately a 1.5 hour drive. 

-- Will there be ride sharing options on this retreat?​


-- Will options be offered around how people are able to sit for meditation?

Yes, of course.  In addition to zafus (meditation cushions) and meditation benches for those who prefer to sit either cross-legged or in a supported kneeling posture, there are also chairs for use throughout the zendo.  There's also a corner of the zendo with other props available for folks who may to take a posture other than upright (such as reclined or supine) during any given sitting period.

-- I have limited yoga asana practice / my yoga practice is pretty rusty.  Should I be concerned about that?

No.  The physical and energetic practices-- which draw from yoga, somatic practices, dance modalities, and functional movement techniques-- are designed to be accessible to all sorts of folks with all sorts of levels and types of experiences, who may be meeting all sorts of different conditions.  Sarah will guide in a way that offers lots and lots of options throughout the process, as well as encouragements around how to make skillful choices.

-- Can you say more about the set up for housing?

Fundamentally, the housing accommodations are communal; however, you will see on the registration form, we ask several questions about folks' needs and preferences regarding housing.  We do our best to accommodate everyone as much as we are able. Flexibility regarding accommodations largely depends on how many people ultimately sign up for the retreat, as well as how many residents are practicing at that time at Yokoji-- ie it simply comes down to the math of how many spaces are available intersecting with folks' overall requests. 

Payment & Dana Structure
FAQs Retreat
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