Workshops & Retreats

Workshops & group retreats provide refuge from everyday life, immersing participants in a healing process of insight and tranquility.

Saturday workshops begin at 10 AM and conclude at 4:45 PM unless otherwise noted, and include a vegetarian buffet lunch. Workshops and group retreats are open to all levels of students unless a prerequisite is specified.

Extend the benefits of your day-long workshop by making it a weekend retreat. Workshop participants may arrange to stay overnight in one of the Institute’s comfortable guest rooms for an additional $125 per night. Overnight guests are offered complimentary Sunday morning meditation and Tibetan Yoga class. Learn about our rooms and rates.

Upcoming Workshops & Retreats

June 23, Joy and Spaciousness (KNR406), Saturday 10 AM – 4:45 PM

Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga is a gentle, slow-moving practice based on Tibetan healing modalities. It offers students a unique way of unfolding one’s awareness and creating deep relaxation by becoming exquisitely attuned to movement.

In this day-long workshop, gentle Kum Nye movement and breathing practices enhance a sense of spaciousness and develop joyous feelings.  If the weather is conducive, we will practice outdoors in the meditation garden, where the beauty of nature can help foster and expand inner joy.

This workshop is suitable for all levels of practitioners, from beginning to advanced. Come for a day of tuning into and exploring the senses, mind, and body in refreshing and subtle ways.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s): Santosh Philip.


June 30, The Wheel of Life (DHS408), Saturday 10 AM – 4:45 PM

The Wheel of Life, or Bhavachakra, is a striking visual instruction and reminder of fundamental Buddhist teachings that is often painted on the outside wall of monasteries. Its symbolism demonstrates the chain of causality and how mental patterns evolve and take form. What is the process that keeps us in samsara, and how can we reverse it?

In this workshop, students will:

  • Learn to unpack the rich symbolism of the Wheel of Life
  • Explore how the themes of this visual teaching can connect to their own lives
  • Be guided in meditative practices from the Nyingma Buddhist tradition

Cost: $80. Instructor(s): Hugh Joswick & Mark Henderson.


July 21, Walk Yourself Well (KNR418), Saturday 10 AM – 4:45 PM

Walking is a fundamental functional activity, as well as a source of engagement, pleasure, and healthful movement when we walk well. Like most things that we do repetitively, the way each of us walk is a matter of habit. These habits can be more or less efficient and healthful. Come explore walking as a healing practice for body and mind, and discover its healing potential for you.

We will work with both walking meditation, and walking as a healing practice in our daily lives.

This workshop is informed by: Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga, awareness practices from Nyingma Tibetan Buddhism, and a therapeutic perspective on posture and alignment.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s): Donna Morton.


July 28, Communicating Well (SKM402), Saturday 10 AM – 4:45 PM

This workshop guides students in a thoughtful exploration of how we relate to one another, through a mix of solo and pair practices.

We explore communication together experientially in a lighthearted way. We try out verbal and nonverbal communication, emphasizing communication heart to heart. We seek to stand in each other’s shoes. We share knowledge to develop fresh understanding, and gain new insight into human potential.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s): Barr Rosenberg.


August 4, “Cutting Off Negative Thoughts” (MED415), Saturday 10 AM – 4:45 PM

The aim is to turn the mind around, to put an end to self-delusion and unending confusion, to transcend all limited views and limitations on the heart’s natural capacity for love and joy. Tarthang Tulku, Path of Heroes.

Through meditative action even adverse conditions can fuel our search for wisdom. In this advanced meditation workshop, we cut off negative thoughts as they arise through applying potent antidotes that protect heart and mind. Reading: Gateway to Knowledge, Volume II, pages 150-158.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s): Hugh Joswick & Mark Henderson.


August 4, Death, Dying, and the Bardo (NPR404), Saturday 10 AM – 4:45 PM

Tibetan Buddhists, especially in the Nyingma tradition, have developed many powerful practices for use at the time of death. All of them are alike in recognizing the immense power of our mind—thoughts, attitudes, and openness—to shape experience.

These teachings describe the states that one experiences after death, known as the ‘Bardo,’ in great detail and also instruct us in how to move through these states in the best possible way. We are taught that the transition between one life and another presents a unique opportunity for spiritual development for those with a stable meditation practice.

This workshop introduces Tibetan Buddhist practices for the time of death, including specific mantras and prayers that we will practice together. We will draw from sutras and tantras on this topic, especially teachings from Padmasambhava, the founder of the Nyingma tradition. We will also address dying on a practical level, discussing what one can do when a loved one is dying or has passed away and how to prepare for our own death. You’ll also make a connection between simple practices, including ones you may already know, and the time of death, so that a useful and direct method is always near-at-hand.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s): Lama Palzang, Elissa Slanger.


August 10 – 12, Silent Retreat: Introduction to Shamatha (MED508), Friday 5 PM – Sunday 3 PM

Stressed out? Need a break from a whirlwind of tasks, responsibilities, and cascading concerns? Research has shown that meditation and silence can both have profoundly positive effects on our mental states and overall happiness. “Shamatha” means calm abiding. It is a foundational practice that allows for and strengthens all following meditation techniques. It is also a classic, time-tested practice taught in all Buddhist traditions. This retreat focuses on Shamatha with supports, i.e. types of Shamatha where you rest your attention on an object of focus such as breath, a point of contact, or an image.

This is a gentle retreat for busy professionals and anyone else who would like to put aside a weekend to go inward and recharge. Come stay with us at Nyingma Institute. You’ll find that we’re a tranquil sanctuary located conveniently in Berkeley, with a beautiful meditation garden, caring instructors, and programs designed to help you reconnect, re-center, and bring more clarity and balance into your life.

On Friday night, you’ll check into a quiet retreat room in our tranquil environment. After a brief tour of the premises from our friendly staff, you’ll meet the instructor and settle into your first meditation session, followed by a tasty vegetarian dinner. On Saturday, wake up refreshed to a view of the bay or garden, and let yourself relax into the rhythms of retreat. Silence, meditation, and Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga usher you into deeper stages of calm and openness, carrying you until 3pm on Sunday when the retreat ends. You’ll return to your life renewed, grounded, and with a sense of inner stability and clarity.

Cost: $425. Includes instruction, two overnight stays, and meals. Instructors: Olivia Hurd (meditation), Santosh Philip (Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga).


August 11, Caring and Creativity from a Yogic Perspective (NPS418), Saturday 10 AM – 4:45 PM

A deeply healing sense of caring and creativity can be activated by working with the senses and attending to the field of arising at an early, emergent stage of experience, before thoughts, concepts, and judgments come into being.

By utilizing mantra, visualizations, and other practices, we can transform our experience at a nascent, ground level. This workshop draws from Kum Nye Dancing, Love of Beauty, Dimensions of Mind, and poetic contemplations from great yogis. We will also explore how the idea of artistry and a path of beauty can support us in shifting our experience.

In this workshop, you will:
-Engage with the senses and your field of experience
-Experience guided practices, including mantra and visualizations
-Hear the poetic contemplations of great yogis
-Explore caring, creativity, and beauty

Cost: $180. Instructor(s): Pema Gellek.


Breath, Energy, Feeling, September 8 (KNR416)

Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 AM – 4:45 PM. Includes lunch.

In this Tibetan Yoga retreat, breathing and movement exercises stimulate and direct the energy of body and mind; visualization practices awaken and sustain inner vitality; and movement practices foster serenity. These practices are simple and yet profound, gentle and yet deeply transformative.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s): Abbe Blum.


Medicine Buddha Practice (DHS406)

Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 AM – 4:45 PM. Includes lunch.

It is said that simply hearing the Medicine Buddha’s name and his mantra brings forth powerful blessings for the healing of body and mind. Medicine Buddha practice is for healing and releasing all kinds of accumulated negativity or impurities, including trauma and long-term illnesses. It also works on a subtle level to help cleanse and purify layers of imbalanced emotionality and confusion, removing all sickness, obstacles, traces of negative actions, and obscurations. By practicing and chanting together as a group, we support each other and strengthen the power of our practice. The blessings of this practice can be directed towards yourself; loved ones such as family, friends, or pets; and all beings in need of healing.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s):  Lama Palzang and Pema Gellek.


Loving Yourself and Loving Others (NPS411)

Saturday September 22nd, 10AM to 4:45PM. Includes lunch.

This workshop will focus on meditations, mantra and prayer specifically designed to heighten compassion.  Compassion is not an unattainable wish to help others; it is a way of living and being that has at its core the realization that all beings are intimately connected and worthy of love.  The key to loving others is to find unconditioned love within ourselves. Applying love and compassion to ourselves allows us to step beyond selfish concerns and do what is truly beneficial for ourselves and others.  Discussion will center on breaking through barriers to bring compassion into every moment.

Cost: $80. Instructor(s):  Olivia Hurd. Prerequisities: Some meditation experience required, or by permission of instructor.

Typical 1-Day Workshop Schedule

  • 10:00 AM Instruction Session
  • 11:30 AM Tea Break
  • 12:00 PM Instruction Session
  • 1:00 PM Vegetarian Lunch
  • 2:00 PM Instruction Session
  • 3:30 PM Tea Break
  • 4:00 PM Instruction Session
  • 4:45 PM Workshop Concludes

Please note that your workshop or retreat schedule may differ slightly; you’ll receive notice if this is the case. 

To see what else is happening at Nyingma, view our calendar of upcoming events.