Spirit Rock Meditation Center
Spirit Rock Meditation Center is one of the most well-known and well-respected meditation centers in the United States and West. A hub of the insight meditation tradition, Spirit Rock has many offerings to meet many different needs.
Spirit Rock History
Spirit Rock was founded in 1987 as Insight Meditation West by Jack Kornfield, James Baraz, Sylvia Boorstein, Anna Douglas, and Howard Cohn. Having previously met in private residences and churches, the group purchased the land in Woodacre with the help of an anonymous donation.
Meditation classes were hosted in portable units from 1990 until 2016, when Spirit Rock constructed their beautiful new community meditation hall. They opened a residential retreat center in the summer of 1998 and have current plans to add more residence halls and a hermitage.
Spirit Rock’s Offerings
Spirit Rock offers a variety of drop-in classes, daylongs, residential and non-residential retreat, as well as online programming. They have four weekly drop-in meditation classes that are open to people of any experience level. In fact, most of their programming is suitable for people who are new to meditation or experienced with it.
They generally host upwards of 10 daylong programs or special classes per month. If you are interested in deepening your practice without having to go far, a daylong can be a great option. Their daylongs are taught on a variety of topics by many different experienced meditation teachers. Daylong retreats are especially great for people who are already in the area.
Spirit Rock offers numerous residential retreats. They hold upward of 40 retreats on the property every year. Again, the teachers and topics vary. These retreats range from 3 days to two months. Spending some time at a retreat center can be an incredible way to strengthen your meditation practice. Getting out of your daily environment and into the meditation container is a wonderful experience for new and seasoned meditators alike.
For many people it is difficult to go on a residential retreat. Especially people with families or different needs it can simply be impossible to go away for a week. One option that Spirit Rock offers are multi-day non-residential retreats. For this type of program you sleep at home but go every day for meditation and instruction to Spirit Rock.
Online Meditation Groups
Spirit Rock has weekly online meditation groups as well as special events or class series. Their Monday meditation group is live streamed online every for people who want to watch but cannot physically attend. Online classes can be a wonderful way to hear teachings from prominent Buddhist teachers without ever having to leave your home.
In addition to all of their other offerings, Spirit Rock has family programing for children and parents. They have family retreats, summer children’s programs, and teen groups. These programs are a great way to get the entire family involved in meditation.
Spirit Rock is committed to making their programming available to everyone who needs and wants it. The weekly drop-in classes generally cost $15-30. However, no one is turned away from these groups for lack of funds. Additionally, no one is turned away from daylongs for an inability to pay. Pricing is always offered on a sliding scale so that people who have the ability to pay more can and those who do not can pay less.
For residential retreats there are a number of scholarship opportunities. For people who are 26 or under they can register for a retreat and request the young adult discount. Additionally seniors who are 65 or older, people with life threatening illnesses, as well as people of color are eligible for scholarships.
Even if you do not fall into one of the categories above if you want to come to a retreat and do not have funds you are encouraged to apply for financial aid. Spirit Rock also offers work-study programs where you can volunteer your time doing extra chores in exchange for a reduced retreat fee.
People come from all over the world to visit Spirit Rock meditation center. Located in West Marin County, California Spirit Rock provides a beautiful location for weekly sitting groups as well as residential retreats. It is in the small town of Woodacre which is only 26 miles from San Francisco. There are generally airport shuttles or ride sharing options available for transportation from both San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport.
Spirit Rock is located on 411 acres of sprawling hills and woods. There are many hiking and walking trails on the property where you can explore the picturesque campus. The facilities provided for both residential retreats and day programming provide a serene place to meditation. Toward the top of the property is the residential retreat area with a large meditation hall, four dorm buildings, a dining hall, and a small managers office.
The retreat are provided cushions, bolsters, and blankets for sitting meditation practice. There is also space for walking meditation both inside and outside. There is a lower meditation hall that provides space for yoga or other movement meditation practices. Most retreats will have dedicated time for movement meditation that is guided by a teacher.
The lower part of the property has the new community meditation hall. There is a spacious room for meditation with all of the necessary supplies. Additionally there is a room for tea and snacks where people are encouraged to get to know one another before and after groups. There is also an adorable gift shop where you can pick up something to remember the experience by.
We at Find a Sit have attended many meditation retreats and day programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. We love the location as well as the facilities. It is clean and well taken care of. The people who run Spirit Rock as well as the teachers are consistently fantastic. From the kitchen staff, to retreat managers everyone is kind, friendly, and there to support your meditation practice.
If you are on a residential retreat we are sure that you will be struck by the quality of the experience in every way. The food served in the dining hall is all vegetarian and incredibly tasty. They are fantastic at accommodating food allergies and sensitivities. They also do a great job of keeping everywhere fragrance-free for people who are coping with chemical sensitivities.
They have dorm rooms for two people as well as single rooms. Each room has its own sink, a twin bed, and if it is for two people they provide a divider. They make bedding available or you can bring your own if you prefer. There is a bathroom on both floors of the two story dorms. We really like that there aren’t too many people per dorm so it feels like there is plenty of personal space.
The hiking trails are fairly well attended, although you might be in tall grass depending on the time of year. In the summer it can be helpful to find yourself a nice shady spot for walking meditation. There is also so much incredibly wildlife to watch. Including turkeys and deer that are always wondering around the property.
The new addition of the community meditation hall is a great way to encourage Sangha. There is plenty of space to hang out and get to know your fellow meditators. The facility is really quite beautiful and can hold an incredible amount of people without feeling too crowded.
As far as meditation centers go, Spirit Rock is one of our favorites!