Bay Area — California
North Bay Attractions
Woodacre near San Rafael
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
"Mindfulness helps us to regain the paradise we thought we had lost... If we sit firmly in the present moment, it is as though we are sitting on a lotus."
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Spirit Rock Meditation Retreat
Spirit Rock Meditation Center is dedicated to the teachings of the Buddha — find peace, compassion and wisdom within yourself through the practice of mindfulness and insight meditation ("vipassana"). It's a great place to get away from it all, relax and rejuvenate.
Year-Round Classes & Retreats
The rustic Buddhist Zen Center sits on 400 acres in Marin, near San Rafael. Spirit Rock offers a year-round schedule of day-long, weekend, week-long, month-long (and longer) classes and retreats.
One-Day Meditation Retreat
We recently attended a "one day" retreat of Insight Meditation, alternating between a series of guided and silent sitting and walking meditations — dharma talks and Q&A. It was a very satisfying experience. We highly recommend the day-long retreat to anyone who is new to meditation or for those wanting a refresher in traditional instruction. Click here to read more about our fun adventure.
Weekly Drop-In Classes
Spirit Rock also offers weekly Drop-In Classes — 30-40 minute meditation, followed by a meditation talk and spiritual practice. Mindful yoga and discussion may also be offered. No pre-registration is necessary. Classes take place in the Community Meditation Hall.
— Prayers & Blessings
Be sure to take a peak inside Spirit Rock's Gratitude Hut - located just a short walk from the Meditation Hall. The walls inside the tiny wooden structure are filled with pictures, including those of the Dalai Lama. A sign on the wall reads "Please offer your prayers and blessings in the monks' bowl. They will periodically be put into our prayer wheel." I wrote out a short prayer and placed it in the bowl — a good start to our day's journey.
What To Bring
Layered comfortable clothing is recommended for both indoor and outdoor meditation sessions. Chairs and cushions are available, however many people bring their own yoga cushions. Wear warm socks as shoes must be removed prior to entering the Meditation Hall. Bring your own lunch - there are a few benches outside and ample space on the grass and on the hill (think picnic). Hike up the hillside trail if you have time after lunch — the views are spectacular.
Spirit Rock Bookstore
Have fun browsing and shopping at Spirit Rock's Bookstore - it's jam-packed with a wonderful selection of "spirit" meditation and yoga gifts.
Directions & Parking
Spirit Rock Meditation Center is located just west of Fairfax in Woodacre, (off Sir Francis Drake Blvd) — about a 20-minute dive from downtown San Rafael and only 30 miles northwest of San Francisco.
A large parking area is located on the grounds. Parking is complimentary.
Spirit Rock Google Map