Compassion can be defined as "sensitivity to suffering and the willingness to alleviate it”.
Many people can be kind and supportive of others, whilst struggling to apply this same attitude to themselves. All too often we slip into patterns of judging and criticising ourselves, a habitual yet unhelpful strategy, making the challenges that we face more difficult.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in practices that cultivate self-compassion and kindness. There's an expanding body of research showing the positive effect such practices have on emotional well-being, self-care, physical health and personal relationships.
Some of these benefits appear to be specific to compassion practices rather than standard mindfulness practice alone.
These retreats, involving skilled and trained leaders, draw on recently-developed and evidence-backed approaches such as Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living (MBCL) and the work of Paul Gilbert, founder of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT).
*Given the nature of self-compassion practices, it is common for old trauma to arise, particularly around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). We ask that if you have been subject to any ACEs that you discuss with a psychologist or therapist before attending to see if this retreat is appropriate for you at this time.
Lucy Chan, one of the leaders on this retreat, gave this TEDx talk about the need for cultivating fierce compassion.
She also leads this downloadable meditation on the same aspect of compassion, helping to halt people-pleasing and enabling you to protect, say no or disagree with tender strength:Listen Here
If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter that we send out after you've booked.
You can also find out more about staying with us on our Frequently Asked Questions page, including
If you're coming to stay with us on retreat, it is important to make a commitment to arrive in time for the first group meeting and to attend all the days.
This ensures you experience the retreat programme from start to finish and helps your group of participants to gel.
All our retreats include periods of silence as a way of deepening into mindful awareness.
If you are new to spending time in silence in the company of other people, it can feel awkward to begin with. But we encourage you to explore the silent periods with a spirit of openness and curiosity - people usually find it to be a positive experience.
The retreats typically move into silence each evening from 9pm - 10.15am the following day
Day 1: Arrive between 3-5pm for welcoming talk and settling in
|7.00am - wake up
|12.15pm - meditation
|7.30am – mindful movement
|1.00pm - lunch and household tasks
|8.00am - meditation
|3.30pm – personal time or group walk
|8.30am – breakfast and household tasks
|5.00pm - teaching/meditation
|10.15am – daily meeting, break the silence
|6.00pm – supper and household tasks
|11.30am - personal time
|8.00pm – evening session
|9.00pm – House moves into silence until 9.50am the next day
Final day: There is a closing meeting at 10.15am, and your departure by 12noon.
My first retreat. Didn’t disappoint. I read a lot about the beautiful scenery and food which don’t get me wrong helped massively but the teaching was what matter most to me. Jo and Steve truly embody mindfulness and their teaching was gentle yet insightful. I did the 3 day silent retreat and I would have happily stayed far longer. Appetite and excitement for this project very much refuelled. Paul
My experience of staying at Sharpham House for a 3-day silent meditation retreat was extremely positive... the venue and grounds are stunning but really the teachers and organisers, and all involved in making it a place that feels safe, grounding and supportive, is what makes it such a special place. As someone who has been on several meditation retreats, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Sharpham House. Thank you to everyone involved
THE most magical and amazing place for a retreat. I cannot recommend Sharpham highly enough, I'm telling all my friends! The food is divine, the location is breathtaking and the facilitators are highly skilled. I'm creating space in my diary for the next one very soon!
Sharpham House is the perfect place to experience a mindfulness retreat: a Grade I-listed Georgian mansion at the centre of the stunning Sharpham Estate, where you're nurtured with delicious vegetarian and vegan food (much of it grown organically in our Walled Garden).
The House is set in beautiful gardens, surrounded by a parkland designed originally by Capability Brown, offering calming views over the River Dart, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Get Directions View Venue
There will be a maximum of 20 guests on this retreat.
All rooms are single occupancy, giving you your own space in which to relax.
If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact the Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-serve basis.
Book easily and securely online or by phoning 01803 732542
Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy
Limited 50% bursaries offering reduced-price retreats are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Programme Administrator at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.
Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here