Winter Retreat

Our annual 10-week retreat offers an opportunity for deepening ones meditation practice.

10 January 2020 - 20 March 2020

Leader: John Emery (Sherab Drimay)

Cost Information: See below

Course outline

The 10-week Winter Retreat on Holy Isle is an opportunity for deepening ones meditation practice. The retreat especially offers a supportive environment for those wishing to dedicate themselves to the Mahamudra Ordinary and Special Preliminaries - 'Ngondro' - although we welcome mindfulness practitioners and others, as long as they have some basic meditation experience.

It is important that those who are intending to practice the Ngondro, or who intend to deepen their practice of silent sitting, should have received relevant instructions prior to starting the retreat.

The minimum period for attending this retreat is two weeks.

John Emery (Sherab Drimay) - a very experienced and appreciated meditation practitioner - will be present all through the 10 weeks and will be available for advice and one-to-one chats. 

You are welcome to join the daily Green Tara and Chenrezig group sessions that are part of the Holy Isle regular schedule, but please note that the Winter Retreat is designed essentially for individual practice, carried out by people in their own rooms. We ask all guests, moreover, to join in karma yoga, by helping out with certain basic tasks like chopping vegetables, washing up and cleaning.

Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, Abbot of Samye Ling and Director of the Holy Isle Project, asks that all people attending the Winter Retreat take advantage of this opportunity to practice by keeping to the scheduled times, as follows:

6 am                                   Rising Gong

6.30 - 7.30                          Green Tara or Individual Practice Session

7.30 - 8.15                          Breakfast

8.15 - 9.00                          Karma Yoga (work period)

9.00 - 10.30                        Individual Practice Session

10.30 - 11.00                      Tea break

11.00 - 12.30 pm                Individual Practice Session

12.30 - 2.30                        Lunch

2.30 - 4                               Individual Practice Session

4 pm - 4.30                        Tea break

4.30 - 6                               Individual Practice Session

6 - 7                                    Soup

7 - 8                                   Chenrezig or Individual Practice Session

 There will be silence every day from 7 p.m. until 1 p.m. the following day. A gong will be rung to end the period of silence.

The retreat starts on the evening of Friday 10th January and departs on Friday 20th March in the morning.

Applications to join the retreat:

Please do not use the 'Book now' button! Please send an email to reception@holyisle.org indicating your preferred dates of arrival and departure (note that ferries to Holy Isle in the winter only run on Tuesdays and Fridays).

If you are new to Holy Isle/Samye Ling, we will then send you an application form. Once we have reviewed your form to check that you have the appropriate retreat experience and background, and that we can accommodate you for the proposed dates, we will then confirm your place.


These include full vegetarian board, accommodation in a single room:

Up to 28 nights £26 per night

29 to 56 nights £24 per night

57 to 70 nights £22 per night