Mindfulness Retreat - Insight Into Life: Inhabiting the Heart of Mindfulness






A 5-Day Residential Silent Mindfulness Retreat

with Saki Santorelli

28 April - 3 May


Soutelo, Vila Verde, Braga, Portugal


Mindfulness is a path of human unfolding, insight, and the cultivation of a virtuous life.  Embedded in mindfulness, for forty-five years MBSR has introduced and opened this path to people around the world.

The power, harmony, and beauty of MBSR resides in the mingling of meditative awareness, Buddhist and other contemplative psychologies, Western science and psychology, and an imaginative, emancipatory pedagogy.  Attuning to and embodying this mingling from the inside out, we’ll dwell in the heart of mindfulness as a practice and vehicle for reducing the causes of distress when a human being’s innate capacities for awareness and devotion to freedom from the conditioned self are aroused, developed, and gradually integrated into everyday life. 


Insight into life is the real religion, which alone can help one to understand life.

- Hazrat Inayat Khan





Grounded in practice and approached in the spirit of curiosity and befriending, this retreat is an immersion in the essential aspects of mindfulness meditation practice and their expression in MBSR. Together, we’ll cultivate wakefulness through the intimacy of sitting and walking meditation, mindful movement and yoga, daily practice instructions and evening talks, and group practice meetings with Saki.  The retreat will be taught in English without simultaneous translation in Portuguese.



The retreat will include mindfulness meditation, mindful walking meditation, mindful yoga, dharma talks and group discussions with Saki. The daily schedule is subject to change according to the unfolding needs during the time of the retreat. See the general schedule below.




- 28 April -

4.30pm - 6.00pm: Arrival

6.30pm – 7.30pm: Dinner

7.30pm - 9.30pm: Welcome and Introductions | Walking and Sitting Practices

9.30pm Closing for the Day or Further Practice


- 29, 30 April & 1, 2 May -

6.30 am: Wake up

7.00am - 8.00am: Sitting Meditation

8.00am - 9.30am: Breakfast

09.30am - 10.30pm: Sitting - Instructions / Q & A

10.30am - 13.00pm: Meditation Practices

1.00pm - 2.00pm: Lunch

2.00pm - 3.00pm: Rest

3.00pm - 5.30pm: Afternoon Practices

5.30pm – 6.30pm: Dharma Talk

6.30pm - 8.00pm: Dinner

8.00pm - 9.00pm: Evening Practices

9.00pm  Rest or continue pratice


- 3 May -

6.30 am: Wake up

7.00am - 8.00am: Sitting Meditation

8.00am - 9.30am: Breakfast

09.30am – 11.00 am: Talk, Breaking Silence, Closing Circle: Self-Care, Resources, Q&A

12.30pm: Farewell & Lunch



During this retreat, participants will be able to:

  • Practice mindfulness meditation
  • Inquire into personal dimensions of their mindfulness practice
  • Integrate mindfulness meditation into their personal and professional life
  • Understand the foundational underpinnings of MBSR and other MBPs
  • Realize embodiment as central to becoming an MBSR teacher
  • Connect with & contribute to a community of practitioners & mindfulness-based professionals



The retreat requires no adherence to a particular faith tradition. It is suitable for those seeking an immersion in mindfulness and silence as well as anyone teaching or aspiring to teach MBSR and other MBP’s in a range of institutional and social settings. It fulfills one of the silent retreat requirements for becoming an MBSR or MBP teacher. No prior meditation/mindfulness experience is needed; however this is an in-depth retreat with multiple practice hours per day and noble silence during the entire 5 days.




Pic saki


Saki F. Santorelli, EdD, MA is an educator, meditation guide, writer, gardener, and pioneer in integrating meditation and mindfulness into medicine, health care, and the broader society. In 2017, he retired as professor of medicine, executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (2000-2017) and director of the internationally acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic (MBSR) (1996-2017) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


His entire forty-year career in medicine and healthcare has been oriented around the integration of mindfulness into public health fueled by an abiding trust in the innate brilliance and nobility of human beings. He has plumbed the nature of the healing relationship by working with thousands of medical patients, educating and mentoring generations of medical students, healthcare professionals, educators, and researchers of mindfulness and MBSR. Through his vision and leadership, the Center for Mindfulness transmitted the ethos, practice, teaching, and science of mindfulness to individuals and organizations around the world.

Saki has been a student in the universal Sufi lineage of Hazrat Inayat Khan for nearly fifty years. In 1980, his teacher, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, suggested he also become a student in the Buddhist Insight Meditation tradition. He did so. A year later, he met Jon Kabat-Zinn. As their decades-long relationship unfolded, they became colleagues, friends, and dharma-brothers transmitting the taste of mindfulness, the fragrance of the Sufis, and the vision of a grounded, lively contemplative science and education to people around the planet.


Saki teaches, writes, presents workshops, seminars, and leads retreats internationally. He is the author of Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine now translated into fourteen languages and founder/director of the website and online community, GuestHouse Awareness.com.




The retreat will be guided in English, without consecutive translation.



Casa da Torre, Soutelo, Vila Verde, Braga, Portugal (info here)



The accommodation at Casa da Torre is in individual and double rooms with private bathroom. The rooms are not luxurious, but rather very simple with all the comfort for you to have a pleasant and peaceful stay during the retreat. The Center has several gardens in the exterior that you can use during the entire duration of the retreat. It also has a beautiful terrace with an amazing view over an extensive natural area.

                                                 Jardim Entrada Casa da Torre    IMG 04623 

                    IMG 04566   IMG 04586  IMG 04633

                    Terraco Casa da Torre    Jardim Casa da Torre  Floresta Casa da Torre

                                                     Quartos Individuais Casa da Torre 004   Quarto Duplo Casa da Torre 007   Quartos Casa de Banho Casa da Torre 008 

* Casa da Torre is a Jesuit Monastery and the choice of this type of retreat center is not because of the religious thematic of the place, which is not essential for a mindfulness retreat but rather because it meets several criteria that we find important for a retreat: silence, simplicity, high number of single rooms with private bathrooms available and great quality of the meals (variables that are requested for many of the people that are interested in our services)



Meals are vegetarian and they will include: complete breakfast, lunch and dinner & snacks at the bar (coffee, tea, biscuits)

If you need any special adaptation in terms of meals please let us know.






Retreat Tuition:

Standard Rate: 675 euros euros (participants registering in individual name) (Payment can be completed in full or in two installments - one at the time of registration and another in January 2024)

Standard Rate for Companies: 675 euros + 23% VAT (for participants registering through companies)

Financial Difficulties: 500 euros

Low GPD countries (see below conditions): 337,50 euros (50% of the Standard Rate)


Meals and Accommodation:

400 euros (individual ensuite rooms and if you wish we can accomodate double ensuite rooms)


Please note that the crucial factor for the reduced Low GDP fee is not the country of origin but the country of residence.

The only countries eligible for the low GDP(Gross Domestic Product) reduction are:

  • African countries
  • Asian countries (with following exceptions: Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong SAR, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Macau SAR, Qatar, Singapore, UAE)
  • Latin American countries (exception: Bahamas)
  • and the following countries in wider Europe:
    Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia,Turkey and Ukraine.



The limit date for registration is the 20 April 2024. After this date we won’t accept any further registrations.


The number of places is limited, so we advise your registration as soon as possible.


To register in the retreat:

  • Make the payment of the value of the retreat using the payment options below:

Mindfulness Retreat: Insight Into Life: Inhabiting the Heart of MindfulnessMindfulness Silent Retreat: Cultivating Wisdom and Compassion


Mindfulness Retreat: Insight Into Life: Inhabiting the Heart of Mindfulness (Financial Difficulties)

Mindfulness Retreat: Insight Into Life: Inhabiting the Heart of Mindfulness (Two Installments or Low GPD Scholarship)


In the first day of the retreat you will have to pay your accommodation/meals fee directly to Casa da Torre in the total value of de 400 euros.


After the reception of your email we will send you a reply confirming your place in the retreat and with information relating to the retreat. If you don't receive our reply please contact us. 



  • If your retreat is canceled until the 30th of January 2024  you will receive a full reimbursement of the retreat minus an administration fee of 50 euros plus fee for the international bank transference. After this date we won’t make any reimbursements.
  • If the event is canceled due to an unexpected reason, Ser Integral: Centro Português de Mindfulness, will provide a reimbursement of 100% of the value paid for the retreat, but we won’t be responsible for any other costs (i.e., travelling and accommodation) associated with your participation in the retreaT

- The retreat will occur with a minimum and maximum number of participants (limited places available). In the eventuality of the retreat not having the minimum registrations established Se Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness will have to cancel the event.

- Please bring confortable clothing, a meditation cushion, yoga mat and blankets for your own comfort in the practice room. Also bring confortable walking shoes to use on the gardens/forest and you might also be interested in bringing a mosquito repellent.

- The program is subject to minor changes according to the needs met during the retreat.

- The room has bed sheets, towels, blankets, but you should bring all the toiletries that you usually need (e.g., shampoo, soap, etc)

- Individual rooms are limited and they will be offered on first registration basis. The cost of a private room per person is the same as a double room per person.



How to get here?

Please see the information on: http://casadatorre.org/arrive/arrive.html

The closest airport is PORTO (OPO). From here you can rent a car to drive to Vila Verde (use the GPS coordinates and address below), take a taxi to the Bus Station in Porto (http://www.renex.pt/, Address: Campo Mártires da Pátria, 37, Porto) to get a bus from Porto to Braga and from Braga please see the details below: 

By Bus: Between 7am and 8.15pm you can find several buses that leave the Bus Central Station of Braga to Vila Verde, Arcos and Monção. You need to get out at the stop – Rio Homem, make a left and you will have Casa da Torre ahead (with a big gate).

By Taxi: From the Central Bus Station or Train Station of Braga to Casa da Torre you will pay around 12 euros.

By Car: GPS coordinates :41º36’.08”N 8º26’17.05”W or the address: Casa da Torre, Avenida Viscondes da Torre, nº 80 4730-570 Soutelo – Vila Verde.

By Shuttle: Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness will organize shuttles from the airport to the retreat center if a minimum number of participants from other countries registers in the retreat. There will be a fee for this service (to be determined).

At what time should I arrive? When will we finish?
Arrival is on the 13th of November between 4.30pm and 6.30pm so that we can process your arrival and registration. You will then be assigned to your room and we will meet  at 6.30pm for dinner. In the last day of the retreat we will have lunch at the retreat center and after this we will all leave the retreat center.

Is there wireless and mobile phone connection?

Yes, but usage of mobile phones and internet is not allowed during the 5 days of the retreat.


Is it possible to arrive earlier or stay after the retreat ends?

Yes, if you need more nights at the retreat center you have to contact Casa da Torre directly.

What do I need to bring?

It is advised to bring confortable clothing, a meditation cushion, a yoga mat and blankets for your comfort during the practices. The room has bed sheets, towels, blankets, but you should bring all the toiletries that you usually need (e.g., shampoo, soap, etc). Also bring confortable walking shoes to use on the gardens/forest and you might also be interested in bringing a mosquito repellent.


Is this retreat accepted as a pre-requisite for the teacher training in mindfulness?

This retreat meets the pre-requisites for the teacher training program in MBSR. If you want to know if this retreat is acceptable by other institutions, please contact them directly.


I’ve completed the MBSR in a retreat format or 8 week format. Should I expect the same dynamics in this silent retreat?

No, a silent retreat in mindfulness meditation does not follow the same dynamic of an MBSR program. This retreat will have almost no guided meditation practices, in order to help you cultivate the ability to practice in silence. There will be group discussions daily after the morning Dharma talk, and at the beginning and end of the retreat, but no other group discussions.   You will also have the opportunity to meet individually with the teachers throughout the retreat.


What do previous participants have to say about their experience on other retreats organized by Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness?

"Thank you so much for organizing this retreat in Braga, it was a true gift for me and I got so much out of it...words cannot even describe. The organization was excellent, I loved the monastery and Paul and Anna were wonderful teachers!" - Myrto Legaki, Greece (2017)


"I flew from Denmark and joined a 5-day silent retreat organised by Ser Integral in Porto. The retreat place was perfect and I was very impressed by the genuine care of the organisers. They were truly helpful, professional, attentive and loving throughout the whole event. We stayed in single rooms and having this privacy was very helpful for me to extend deepening the silence. And if you are wondering, the food was great as well!:) I am looking forward to coming back for more retreats." Esen, Denmark (2017)


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