Cultivating Joy in Uncertain Times

In a world that feels like it's increasingly fracturing, beset by one crisis after another, many of us wonder how best to respond. How can I be of help in this world?  

In these times, joy and happiness may seem frivolous or selfish, but as Zen Master, peace activist and poet Thich Nhat Hanh taught, they are actually all the more important.

He famously wrote: “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” By this he means, we must embody in ourselves that which we want to nurture in the world.

So in a world that can often feel scary, uncertain and unstable, it's all the more important to sing, dance, and find the human connection that is the wellspring of our joy. To be joyful is not selfish, but an act of love for the world, keeping alive the light of human goodness for those who may be in the dark. 

On the 23rd April, join us for a retreat focused on nurturing joy and happiness.

We're offering this retreat in the spirit of the gift

This means there's no cost to register and no set price. Instead, once the retreat is over, we'll ask that you give what you can.

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Live guided meditations

Meditating with others is a powerful way to nourish our practice of mindfulness.

On this retreat we'll engage in mindfulness and gratitude practices focused on bringing lightness and positivity to body and mind.

The practices will be guided live by our experienced facilitators, Lorna & Michael.

Teaching on mindfulness & compassion

Inspiration is key to our practice. It reminds us of why we meditate. It fuels our motivation and strengthens our intention to transform ourselves.

In this retreat, you'll hear from Lorna Walker and Michael Bready on how mindfulness can enable us to meet life with more joyfulness, strength and clarity.

Find inspiration and connection with others

We've been amazed at the level of connection and intimacy that can emerge on zoom calls. We think of it as a digital campfire.

Over the course of the retreat, you'll spend time with everyone as part of the whole group, but there'll also be times where you'll breakout into smaller groups and have the chance to share and learn with people from all over the world.

Retreat Schedule

The online retreat will have a mix of teaching, guided meditations, and opportunities to share and connect with others in zoom breakout rooms. The schedule for the day will be as follows...

  • 8am-9am morning sitting & movement meditation

  • Break

  • 10.30am-10.45am Meditation

  • 10.45am-12.30pm Workshop on nurturing joy

  • Lunch break

  • 2.00pm-3.00pm bodyscan / deep relaxation

  • Break

  • 3.30pm-3.45pm Meditation

  • 3.45pm-5.15pm afternoon workshop / sharing

  • 5.15pm-5.30pm Closing Meditation


Lorna Walker

Lorna is a mindfulness teacher and trainer with decades of experience in the education and social care sectors. She was previously a principal teacher and wellbeing advisor at Quarriers and is one of Youth Mindfulness’ lead trainers and co-author of the Youth Mindfulness SOMA Programme. Lorna has a passionate interest in building compassionate communities, and takes a systems-based approach to nurturing the wellbeing of staff teams. She has a particular specialisation in harm reduction and works closely with CALM Training to bring mindfulness and compassion training to staff teams both in the UK and internationally.

Michael Bready

Michael is the founder and director of Youth Mindfulness. He has’s taught mindfulness to thousands of children, teenagers and adults and developed numerous mindfulness curricula including the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme, SOMA Programme, Mindfulness for Life and Inner Strength Programme for young men in prison. His current passion is exploring what the latest science is telling us about the nature of human beings and how that can lead to a brighter, wiser, and more humane future.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I really just pay what I want?


    We're offering this retreat in the spirit of the gift. We want to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

    As a small charity we do have costs, and it takes considerable time and energy to host this retreat, so we do hope you'll pay something. But if you're in a situation where you can't pay anything, you're still very welcome to join!

    To register your place costs nothing. After the retreat is over we'll ask you to give what you can, and what you feel reflects the value you got from the experience.

    Our suggested contribution will be £35-£50.

  • How much time do I need to set aside for this retreat?

    The retreat will start at 8am on Saturday 23rd April and runs until 5.30pm There are breaks in the schedule for breakfast and lunch as well as shorter breaks between sessions. We recommend that you keep the entirety of day free so that even when you're not on a live session you can still keep the energy of mindful practice alive.

  • What happens if I miss a session or I can only make part of the day?

    We've put this retreat together as a complete experience so we think you'll get the most out of it if you attend all the sessions. However, if for some reason, you have to miss a session, it's not the end of the world.

    What's most important is that you commit to the experience as much as you can - that's the way you'll get the most out of it.

  • How should I prepare?

    Clear your diary and set up a comfortable space where you can be undistracted. Commit to putting aside other distractions - like your mobile phone and other devices for the duration of the day. Let any people you live with know that you'll be going on this retreat and think ahead to how that can work best in your household.

  • I live with other people, can I still join?

    Absolutely! You don't need to live in a hut on a mountainside to participate in this retreat. In fact, part of the learning on this retreat can be an exploration of how to deepen our mindfulness practice in the context of our own home. It'll be helpful to talk with the people you live with before the start of the retreat to let them know your plans and that you'll need to be undisturbed during the sessions. Closer to the start of the retreat we'll send information on how to prepare.

  • Who is the retreat for?

    The retreat is for anyone looking to deepen and refresh their mindfulness practice. We expect many people who have completed training with Youth Mindfulness, but we also welcome people who have never trained or followed a course with Youth Mindfulness.

  • I'm new to mindfulness, can I join?

    Yes! You're absolutely welcome to join if you're new to mindfulness. In this retreat, we'll assume that participants have at least started a meditation practice and have been practising for a few months. As such, we'll expect that most participants will understand the basics. However, if you're brand new to mindfulness you'll still be able to follow a long.

  • Is this retreat suitable for children and young people to join?

    No. This retreat is aimed at adults. While our mission is to support the teaching of mindfulness to children and young people, we also believe it is essential for adults teaching mindfulness to children and young people to nourish their own practice of mindfulness. This is the reason we're offering this retreat. Importantly, that doesn't mean you need to be working with children and young people to join this retreat. It's open to any and all adults.

Book your place

We're operating a pay what you can model for this retreat. Register now at no cost to book your place.

Tech questions

  • What equipment do I need?

    We'll be hosting the retreat through zoom. You can access zoom through your web browser or by downloading the app. You can test zoom is working on your machine by going here:

  • I don't have a very stable internet connection, will this be a problem?

    This could be an issue when you join the breakout rooms - it might be difficult for other participants to hear you.

    If you can watch youtube videos alright with your internet connection, you should be able to follow the talks and the guided meditations.

  • Do I need to have my camera turned on?

    While not essential, we do encourage this, as it creates a sense of connection amongst the whole group.

  • Can I join the retreat from my phone?

    Yes you can. But we think the best experience will come from joining on a device with a larger screen - like a laptop or tablet. If a phone is most convenient for you - you're most welcome to join in this way.