Rodeo Beach, the site of the Berkeley Law retreat.
Above, the crashing waves and rugged cliffs of Rodeo Beach serve as the backdrop for the March retreat.

Berkeley Law Meditation Retreat

March 8-9, 2014

NatureBridge Conference Center

1033 Stennis Street, Sausalito, CA 94965

We're delighted to invite members of the Berkeley Law community to join us in March for our annual overnight meditation retreat at NatureBridge Conference Center, a beautiful facility located near Rodeo Beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Meditation is a scientifically validated practice for stress management, and has been shown to develop a variety of other cognitive and physical benefits of particular value to law professionals--from increased focus to greater resilience and emotional balance.

Over the course of 24 hours, we will practice sitting meditation, qi gong, walking meditation and other mindfulness practices to calm the mind, renew the body and connect with the joy of the present moment. We will also engage in some guided discussions of how to manage the unusual stresses and challenges of law study and practice. Space is limited so we encourage you to register early.

This can be a great first retreat for those who are relatively new to mindfulness practice, and a wonderful refresher for those who have a longer-standing practice. No prior meditation experience is required to attend. Our goal is to create a supportive space where participants can breathe deeply, find inner stillness and spend a weekend in meditative presence. Whether you are new to meditation or a "regular," we hope you will join us!

The program runs 10 a.m. on Saturday to noon on Sunday, and registration includes accommodations for one person and all meals. To register, please follow this link. We will facilitate carpooling for those who need a ride. If you would like to attend, but are concerned about cost, please contact dan.carlin@berkeley.edu to discuss scholarship options. We will not turn anyone away for lack of funds.

Please note that spouses and significant others are welcome to attend this retreat. If another family member would like to attend, please contact Dan Carlin (dan.carlin@berkeley.edu) with details. Those requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Some logistical details:

Retreat program: The retreat will include periods of silence and mindful discussion. The program consists of a mix of walking, sitting and moving meditation exercises, with brief periods of mindful discussion and breaks for lunch. The practices are presented in a secular, non-sectarian way. It is not necessary to have any prior meditation experience to participate, and we encourage experienced meditators to approach the weekend with a "beginner's mind." The primary moving practice we do is Qi Gong, an ancient Chinese energy practice. For an example of Qi Gong, please see this video.

Schedule: We ask that participants arrive at NatureBridge between 9:00 and 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, allowing time to settle in, drop off bags, and receive an orientation. At 9:30 a.m. the NatureBridge staff will give us a brief orientation. The silent portion of the retreat begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and ends at noon on Sunday.

Meals and accommodations: The registration covers all meals and accommodations. Meals are served buffet-style and consist of simple, nutritious vegetarian dishes conducive to meditation. Those with special dietary needs should indicate any requirements in their registration form. Men and women have separate dormitories, and accommodations are simple, consisting of either bunks in a large dormitory room or semi-private rooms of four beds each. There may be a very limited number of private accommodations available for an extra fee. Please contact Robin Fisher (robinarfisher@me.com) to discuss this possibility.

Teachers: The retreat will be led by Shivani Ray and Charlie Halpern. Shivani is a Fellow of the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law, an experienced meditation teacher and Founder of Key Meditation. She has been teaching mindfulness at Berkeley Law since 2008. Charlie is Director of the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law. He has taught meditation and Qi Gong for more than 10 years. He teachers the popular seminar Effective and Sustainable Law Practice: The Meditative Practice at Berkeley Law, as well as a Sustainable Lawyering: An Introduction to Mindfulness in Law for 1Ls. He presents seminars and workshops on mindfulness in law throughout the year.

Cost & registration: The deadline for registration is February 24, 2014, however space is limited and we encourage you to register early. The registration fee for students, recent alumni (3 years or less since graduation), and their significant others is $60; registration for faculty, staff, alumni and significant others is $120. To register, please click here. Once you enter your information you will be taken to a credit card payment page. If you prefer to pay by check, please make it out to "UC Regents -- BIML" and drop off your check with Meg Garstang in 322 Boalt.

Cancellation policy: Please note that we cannot reimburse for cancellations made less than two weeks before the retreat (i.e. after February 21, 2014).

Location & transportation: The address for NatureBridge is 1033 Stennis St, Sausalito, CA, 94965. We will arrange carsharing for those who wish to carpool. The drive from Berkeley usually takes about 40-45 minutes.

Gratitude: The retreat is made possible in part by a generous gift from Norman Oberstein, '65, and Margrit Oberstein, in honor of Frederick P. Lenz. We are deeply grateful for their support.