Retreats FAQ

Retreat FAQs

About the Retreat Process

What is a Spiritual Retreat?



“Unless we awaken them, our capacities will always lie dormant.”
-Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan


The spiritual retreat fosters an inner experience and a respite from the routine and business of everyday life for a number of days of guided reflection. The purpose of a spiritual retreat is to develop greater self-understanding and to rekindle a sense of meaningfulness and wholeness. It strengthens one’s personal integrity and healthy relationships with others. The retreat is a process of healing, transformation and rejuvenating to one’s body, mind, heart, soul and spirit.


The Abode offers retreats in both a universalist Sufi tradition, as well as and custom retreats. In both types of retreat a trained retreat guide will meet with you to discuss your thoughts, feelings and goals for your retreat. Interested individuals from all spiritual traditions or those with no particular spiritual background are welcome to take retreats at the Abode.



Who may benefit from a Spiritual Retreat?



A retreat is for those individuals who seek to deepen their self-awareness, to nourish and renew their spirit, and find ways to better manifest their highest ideals in life. It is grounded in a holistic perspective on health and spirituality, one which views meaningfulness and creativity as emerging from the nurturing of physical, mental and spiritual well-being.



I’ve taken group retreats. Why should I consider an individual retreat?



An individual retreat starts with a deeper understanding of your goals, intentions, and proceeds according to your level of experience. It unfolds at your pace and often permits a deeper experience of a person’s inner life than is possible on a group retreat.



What type of retreats are available?  How do I choose?



Sufi retreats


Alchemical Retreats use practices of breath, mindfulness, sacred sound, light, meditation and walks in nature in the framework of alchemy to develop the schedule for a spiritual retreat that leads one through the experience of transformation.

Healing and Raphaelite Retreats emphasize healing and transformation and combines practices of presence and awakening of the heart with those of integration and healing of the whole being.

Nature / Ziraat Retreats focus on spiritual practices to enhance one’s connection with nature.


Custom Retreats

While all retreats take into considerations the interests and current situation of each person, custom retreats accommodate those who want to focus on mindfulness, yoga, a particular spiritual path other than Sufism or an eclectic approach to spiritual growth.



Where will I stay during the retreat?



Many retreatants choose to stay in one of our newer cabins nestled near a whispering stream. The heated cabins are comfortably furnished with a bed, mini-fridge, fan, kettle and meditation cushions and have access to a heated composting toilet. Showers and toilets are located an easy five-minute walk away. Another option is to stay in a more rustic hut, located in a meadow a 5-minute walk uphill from the main community buildings.


Each hut and cabin has heat and electricity, and is simply furnished with a bed, altar, lamp, hot pot, fan, and meditation cushions and benches. There is an outhouse located in the retreat meadow; showers and toilets are available in the bathrooms of the Abode Meditation Hall. Some people choose to stay in a room above the Meditation Hall or one of the other Community buildings, giving them direct access to an indoor bathroom.



What is the role of the Retreat Guide?



A trained retreat guide meets with you every day and suggests a schedule of practices. All retreat guides have undergone extensive training in the retreat process, have taken many individual and group retreats, and are individually certified. Some retreat guides are counselors, psychologists or healing practitioners by profession and all are familiar with the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of the retreat.



How do I choose a retreat guide?



All retreat guides are trained, experienced, and certified by the Inayati Order, a Sufi tradition which honors all the world’s spiritual traditions. They have been guiding retreats for many years. Feel free to ask to speak with any of us. If you don’t know the retreat guides on staff, call the Abode’s retreat coordinator. S/he will ask you what your intention is for the retreat, about your background and experience with spiritual practices, and if you have a preference for a female or male guide. S/he will then choose someone who is a good match for you. Usually you will call and discuss your retreat with the retreat guide prior to the retreat.



What happens when the retreat guide visits?



Visits may be once or twice a day. The guide will meet with you every day at least once. They will sit in silent meditation with you for a few minutes. Then they will suggest practices for you that generally include work with breath, light, sound, walking in nature as well as meditations and prayers from the Sufi and other spiritual traditions. They will explain and demonstrate all the practices as needed and will answer any questions you may have. They may also provide meditation and music CDs for you to listen to. Those in a custom retreat may plan their own retreat schedule ahead of time and discuss it with the retreat guide.



Do I spend the whole time sitting in the hut or room?



Not unless you choose to. Some retreatants continue their daily yoga or tai chi practices while on retreat. Many do practices while walking on the hundreds of Abode acres, sit by the pond or meditate in the Abode’s meditation hall. Being in nature is an important part of a retreat and you and your retreat guide will discuss how and when to incorporate outdoor activities. Most retreatants observe a vow of silence during the retreat.



What and where will I eat?



Typically you will eat breakfast and lunch and dinner in your cabin hut or room. We provide a large container of simple vegetarian foods from which you may prepare your own breakfasts and lunches: granola, juice, rice cakes, fresh fruits, dry soup cups, almond butter, herb teas etc. Each evening a delicious, freshly prepared, vegetarian meal is served. If you have any food allergies or concerns, we will try to accommodate them.



When should I arrive/depart?



Arrival and departure can be scheduled at your convenience. Typically some people arrive for a 3-day retreat on a Thursday afternoon/night and leave Sunday afternoon. You can also arrive on a Sunday night for a 5-day retreat and finish your retreat on Friday afternoon. There are many options.



How much does it cost?



The retreat fee is $129 per day for universalist Sufi retreats. Pricing for custom retreats will be set during consultation with our retreat coordinators.  The fee will include accommodation, a container of food for preparing your own simple breakfast and lunch in the hut and one warm meal (dinner) delivered daily to your room; and the service of a trained retreat guide who will meet with you at least once daily. Please see the Payment page on this website for more information.



How do I get to the Abode?



Please visit our Travel Information page. We look forward to seeing you!


To ask other questions, request a brochure, or to schedule a retreat:


Call the Retreat Center at the Abode at:
(518) 794-8090 x 116 or you may use email: [email protected]


Our contact information is:

Address: Retreats at the Abode, Attention: Yaqin Aubert, 5 Abode Rd. New Lebanon, NY 12125

Phone: (518) 794-8090 x 116

Email: [email protected]