IMC offers a variety of programs from beginners’ classes to retreats for experienced practitioners. Anyone is welcome to come to any of the programs we offer at IMC.
No Cost – No Registration
Registration is not required except for the rare programs where this is clearly specified. Although there is no cost for our programs we are grateful for donations to support our activities and teachers.
Programs for Beginners
Basic Meditation Instruction
Brief instruction in the basics of meditation. Attending the weekly drop-in class once or twice can be helpful in beginning a meditation practice.
Introductory Course in Mindfulness Meditation
These 5- or 6-week series are offered several times a year. This is a great way of learning the foundational teachings and practices offered at IMC. Through Audio Dharma, one can listen to recordings of introductory classes or participate in an online introductory course offered twice yearly.
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Daylong Retreat
Once or twice a year we offer an all day introduction on Saturdays. The retreat format provides a great opportunity to learn how to apply these instructions. For people who have gone through the introductory series, the daylong is a great way to review the instruction and to experience the benefits of a full day of practicing them.
Beginners Practice Group
This 5-week series is offered a few times a year, and is for those who have taken a beginning meditation class and would like further support in building their practice. There will be a short sitting, teachings and discussion.
Weekly Sittings and Talks
Several times a week we offer scheduled times of sitting meditation followed by Dharma talks which discuss aspects of mindfulness practice and Buddhist teachings. You are welcome to come to the sitting, the talk, or both. Being able to meditate regularly with a group can be very supportive way of maintaining a regular meditation practice. Regular sittings are offered Monday and Thursday evenings and Wednesday and Sunday mornings. The meditation sessions during these sittings are usually silent and without instructions. Please see the weekly schedule for details.
Mindfulness-based yoga classes are available Monday evenings and Thursday mornings.
At least once a month we offer silent daylong meditation retreats, which usually include alternating sitting and walking meditation. These are important opportunities to “retreat” from one’s daily life in order to cultivate greater mindfulness, concentration, tranquility and insight. Participants are silent throughout the day except for asking questions of the teacher. People may come to any part of these retreats. If you arrive during a period of sitting meditation, we request that you take a chair in the outer hall until the end of that session. There is a lunch break during which you can silently eat a bag lunch. We usually have three kinds of daylong retreats:
- Basic Daylong Retreats (9:00 am – 4:30 pm): These retreats include 35 minutes of sitting meditation alternating with 35 minutes of walking meditation. Instruction is given throughout the day in some of the various aspects of mindfulness meditation practice. During the walking periods the teacher is available informally to answer practice questions. Sometimes these days end with a Dharma talk.
- Core Daylong Retreats (8:30 am – 5:00 pm): These retreats have 45-minute sitting meditation sessions alternating with walking meditation sessions of either 45 minutes or 15 minutes. No instruction is given. The day is silent except for a 45-minute Dharma talk at the end of the retreat. Fifteen-minute interview slots for one-on-one practice discussion with the teacher are available on a signup basis.
- Intensive Daylong Retreats (6:00 am – 9:00 pm): This yearly retreat is usually offered on the first Saturday in June. This is a silent day of practice with two or three short Dharma talks and signup interviews available with the teacher. The meditation sessions are 45 minutes long. Usually, breakfast and a light supper are provided.
- Thematic Retreats: These periodic retreats focus on special themes, such as lovingkindness.
Please see the Special Events & Daylong Retreats page for details.
The Insight Retreat Center (IRC) is a community-based retreat center just outside of Santa Cruz, CA. We offer silent meditation retreats throughout the year primarily focused on insight meditation (Vipassana) and the liberation teachings of the Buddha.
IRC is entirely supported by a wide community of practitioners, volunteers and donors whose generosity is the foundation for the center. With no paid staff, the running of our retreats expresses the integration of the practice, service and goodwill of our volunteers.
Retreats at IRC are offered freely, as gifts to those who attend. This means there is no cost for retreats. Donations by those who attend our retreats make it possible to pass this gift forward to others who come to IRC.
Please see the Insight Retreat Center site for more information.
Dharma Mentoring Program
The Dharma Mentoring Program is intended to provide one-on-one support for more fully incorporating the Eightfold Path into your life. Readings and practices connected to the Eightfold Path will be assigned every month. The monthly mentoring meetings will be a chance to discuss and receive support for how one understands and practices each of the steps of the Eightfold Path. These mentoring sessions are not psychological counseling or support for personal challenges beyond exploring how each path factor may help with these challenges. Space is limited for this program.
You will be assigned to a mentor for the eight months of the program. You will need to discuss with your mentor what might be a mutually convenient time for your monthly meetings.
If you are interested in the program, please fill out the application.
Dharma Practice Days
One Friday a month, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Starting in September or October each year, Gil offers a 7- to 9-month practice program. Each year the focus of practice and study is a different theme, sometimes emphasizing meditation practice and sometimes emphasizing broader aspects of Buddhist practice. Each Dharma Practice Day explores the theme of the day in different ways, generally including teachings, guided meditations, and discussion. These days are usually quite interactive, including the lunch period, which offers a chance to get to know fellow participants.
Past series have focused on the following themes: Ten Perfections, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, The Eightfold Path, Mindfulness of Breathing, and the Five Hindrances.
Details can be found on our Special Events page.
A twice-yearly program which integrates formal practice and Dharma discussion with daily life by surrounding our usual workweek and workdays with practice and discussion.
When the program is being offered, details can be found on our Special Events page.
Other Special Events
There are many special events throughout the year, highlighting various areas of practice. We are fortunate to have a variety of guest speakers teach at IMC.
The Sati Center for Buddhist Studies is a sister organization that offers periodic programs at IMC. Their focus is to support the study of Buddhist teachings. For information about their programs, see their website.