Information for summer retreat participants
August 12 @ 1:00 pm - August 23 @ 11:00 am
SUMMER MEDITATION RETREAT 2019 with Dr Kumar
York, YO62 4ER
The nearest train station is York which is under 2 hours from King’s Cross. Ampleforth is about 40 minutes from York Station by car and is located in the Howardian Hills which is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.
For detailed directions by road, rail and air please see this webpage: www.visitors.ampleforth.org.uk/directions
Taxi Contact Details
York Station Taxis 01904 623332 – £44 from York Station to Ampleforth College (quoted June 2019)
764 Taxis of York 01904 764764 – £40 for 4 seater, £60 for a 6 seater (quoted June 2019)
Other local firms who may be available are:
Morse Taxis 01347 878969
Five Star Travel 01439 770923 or 07811 261458
RED Taxis 07760 160244
JEB Taxis, Thirsk 01845 525105
JEB Taxis, Helmsley. 07971 777666
Ampleforth Contact Details
Should anyone need to contact you while we are in silence, contacts are Gillian and Andy in the Lettings Department.
Phone: 01439 766479/on-call mobile 07813 563626.
They will pass on messages to Dr Kumar and the retreat mentor.
Retreat Start and End Dates and Times
The retreat will begin on Monday 12th August at 1.00 pm. Please do not arrive later than 1:00 pm as late arrivals hold up the start of the course. Lunch will be available but it is necessary to book so, if you have not already done so, please email me if you would like to join us for lunch at 12:30 pm. If you are arriving on Sunday, rooms will be available from 5.00 pm.
The retreat will end on Friday 23rd August, mid-morning. Lunch will not be available as most people prefer to get away, however, there is a cafe in the grounds of Ampleforth which serves lunches, sandwiches, etc.
Code of Conduct
During the Meditation Retreat we go very deeply into the practice. The process is delicate and powerful and the retreat offers the rare opportunity to skillfully work with the mind at its subtlest level. So, for this process to be as smooth and fruitful as possible we need to carefully maintain the right conditions throughout the course. This is for the benefit of our own practice as well as to ensure that we do not disturb the progress of others. For this reason we respect a strict code of conduct that has been handed down in traditional systems for centuries. The more mindful we are of our behavior (by thought, speech and body) during the course, the more we will get out of the experience.
The first step of the great sage Patanjali’s Noble Eightfold Path is Yama and represents the resolution to give up any action that causes harm to others or ourselves by body, speech or mind. It is the foundation that enables progress in meditation. Buddha calls these principles ‘Sila’ and they are also the first principle of Buddhist Dhamma. The goal of Yoga and Dhamma is to remove the negative tendencies of the mind that cause unhappiness to self and others.
The Five Yama are observances outlined by Patanjali:
- Ahimsa – nonviolence, to remove anger or hatred from the mind
- Asteya – non stealing to remove greed from the mind
- Satya – truthfulness to remove fear from the mind
- Brahmacharya – non sexual misconduct to remove lust from the mind
- Apaarigraha – non addiction to prevent slavery of the mind
In particular during the course:
Please do not purposefully harm any insects.
Avoid picking flowers or taking anything found at the retreat centre.
Please refrain from intoxicants including coffee, nicotine and alchohol.
Please do not take food or utensils, cups etc to your room without seeking permission first.
Students are requested to avoid wearing perfume, aftershave, scented creams or products. Meditation leads to the senses becoming very keen and sensitive, so what usually smells pleasant can be overpowering.
It is customary not to wear jewelry and make-up.
Clothes should be modest, loose and comfortable for yoga and meditation.
Please do not practice any other forms of meditation that are not part of the course as this will cause confusion to the practice.
Please maintain the noble silence.
We will be recording the meditation sessions for the Traditional Yoga archive. Please do not make any personal recordings without permission. We provide a guided meditation recording for your use at home following the retreat.
Noble Silence means silence of body, speech, and mind. We avoid any form of communication with fellow students, including family members and resort staff. It is fine to communicate with course volunteers.
Noble silence includes refraining from:
Sign language and gestures
Phone including text messages
Reading and writing
Radio, TV and music.
Please let your friends and family know that you will be out of contact during the retreat. We will supply a phone number that would be picked up by a volunteer who would immediately notify you in case of an emergency.
We observe noble silence from the time Dr Kumar announces the start of the silence until he announces the breaking of silence. After this we can speak to each other but please continue to strictly maintain Yama, and please maintain silence in the meditation hall.
The exception to the silence is that communication with course volunteers and with Dr Kumar is allowed. However this should be relevant to the practice and not include general conversation as this will cause mental distraction and affect your meditation. You are very welcome to ask questions about the meditation and discuss experiences and anything that is related to the experience of the course. Also please don’t hesitate to contact a volunteer if you have any practical requirements.
Please do not make notes during the course or write a journal. Please make an effort to move silently and mindfully, particularly in the meditation hall.
In special cases, such as if you have relatives who are unwell or elderly, Dr Kumar can give permission for you to make phone calls during the course if it is necessary. Please speak with us about this before the silence begins.
The schedule will be outlined at the start of the course but timings may change throughout the course in response to the needs of the students. At the end of every session Dr Kumar will inform us when we will be meeting again and this may vary slightly from day to day.
The length of the meditations, rest periods and evening discourse may also vary but will stay within the basic course structure. In general there will be six meditations per day with breaks in between. There will be rest periods after lunch and breakfast. Dr Kumar will give a daily evening discourse after dinner.
We trust that you have informed us of any health issues in your application forms. If anything has arisen since then, please let us know in advance.
You are required to sign a medical form that will be sent to you ahead of the retreat.
Please bring with you any prescription medication or health supplements you are taking and continue to take them during the course.
Some supplements for sleep, blocked nose and constipation will be available during the course in the kitchen of the accommodation block. These will be labelled and should be taken as per the direction on the packets, please ask a volunteer if you have any questions.
If you are having trouble sleeping please let a volunteer know as this can be problematic for the meditation and maintaining balance of mind.
If you are constipated this can cause back pain and problems in the meditation so we suggest you use some gentle herbal laxatives.
If you are experiencing any form of anxiety, excitement or agitation please let a volunteer know.
If you have any severe pains or physical problems please let us know, particularly if you are experiencing them outside of meditation.
Please practice the physical yoga to your own capacity and be aware not to stretch beyond your limits as this may cause strain.
The food will all be vegetarian but not vegan. Vegan and gluten free options are available only if requested in advance when booking.
If you have any allergies or health issues affected by diet please let us know in advance of the course on your medical form.
Leading up to the retreat
Try to arrive at the retreat as well rested as possible. The retreat will be physically detoxifying and cleansing. In the lead up to the course you may wish to begin this process by avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Dr Kumar’s herbal tea formula is a good way to cleanse and prepare the body for meditation.
What to Bring
Ampleforth is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. By the end of August it can be quite cool, particularly in the early morning and evening so please make sure that you bring some warmer clothes and shawl(s)/blanket(s) to cover yourself during the Yoga Nidra relaxation sessions in the meditation hall when the body tends to cool down. We don’t have spare blankets or duvets for use in the meditation hall. If possible, please try to bring enough clothes for the whole retreat as it is may disturb your meditation if you have to launder items. Ampleforth do not provide a laundry service.
- Meditation cushion and any additional cushions that you may need (e.g. to support the knees when sitting on a meditation cushion or for under the feet when sitting on a chair). Chairs are provided.
- Yoga mat
- All towels that you require as Ampleforth does not provide any towels.
- Non-plastic water bottle that can be refilled.
- Alarm clock and spare batteries. Mobile phones should be switched off during the course so it is better to bring a separate alarm clock & spare batteries. Please check beforehand that it works.
- Comfortable, modest clothing for meditation and yoga. Warm clothes for chilly days. It is customary to wear white for meditation, but it is not compulsory.
- Shawl(s) and/or blanket(s) that you can cover yourself with during the meditation and rests after yoga. We will not be able to supply spare blankets or duvets for use in the meditation hall.
- All the personal care items that you will need including shower gel, shampoo & soap, avoiding perfumed products, toothpaste, toothbrush (and charger if applicable).
- If you use a hairdryer, please bring one as they are not provided.
- Shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
- An umbrella and/or rain wear.
- Your medicines, supplements, any first aid items you may need such as plasters, etc.
Additional items you may like to bring:
Earplugs, eye mask, eye pillow to use during the Yoga Nidra relaxation sessions, electric toothbrush charger, torch with spare batteries, dressing gown, lip salve.