Retreating at Kevala Retreat

Please familiarize yourself with all the information on this and linked pages before contacting us about retreats here.

Lodging for retreatants now includes the hermitage in the back valley, one large tent (on wooden platform), a guest room in the Guest House, and a small "garden hermitage" near the Guest House. The latter two are primarily for those with mobility limitations or other needs to be close to central facilities. The other dwellings (details) require walking up and down our hills and are more intimate with the valley's nature. Guest House facilities include kitchen, bathrooms & showers, laundry, library, meeting room, and porches.


There is no specific charge for retreats here. However, Kevala Retreat subsists solely on donations and volunteer labor. Generosity is an important aspect of Dhamma practice. Contributing to grounds upkeep can be another. Please consider a generous contribution that is respectful of what you have received, benefits to others, and of your current means.

Retreat overview & guidelines

Offering space, support, and guidance for personal retreat is important in Kevala Retreat's long-term vision. Our infrastructure is geared more for solo retreats and very small groups (self-organized). We try to keep things simple, yet safe and adequate. Sufficient amenities are now on-site. You are responsible for your own food. The shared kitchen in the Guest House is available for food storage and cooking. You will be directed where to put food when you arrive. You may be navigating one or more other retreatants during your retreat. If you can bring some pre-prepared foods that just need to be heated up it makes the shared kitchen experience easier. We ask that a vegetarian diet be observed while visiting Kevala Retreat.

We encourage intelligence & creativity in designing a retreat to meet your own needs & circumstances. Your retreat can include meditation, movement practices (e.g. qigong and yoga), study, journaling, chores & work, and walks in the woods. Or, you might want all-day meditation. Regular consultations with Santikaro or Jo Marie are encouraged. We endeavor to support you in mindfully, skillfully cultivating a noble, well-rounded path through immersion in Dhamma. (We do not encourage outside and on-line excursions during your retreat.)

Quiet & silence
Simplicity & solitude
Settling into meditation
Deeper Dhamma study
Intimacy with Nature

We offer retreatants these resources & supports

What to Bring & Not Bring

You are responsible for supplying

  1. Your own food, simple & healthy.
  2. Towel.
  3. Personal toiletries, including insect repellent (non-toxic/non-insecticide recommended). All soaps and shampoos must be non-detergent based as they go directly into the ground water (castille, olive oil, or other natural products are acceptable.)
  4. Outdoor clothing appropriate for the season, including rugged shoes and rain gear.
  5. Flashlight, batteries, and alarm clock if needed.
  6. Water bottle
  7. A sleeping bag and pillow, only if staying in the tent.

Please do not bring

  1. Drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products
  2. Companion animals (unless special arrangements are made - under certain special circumstances dogs, horses, or other companion animals may accompany their human on retreat)
  3. Radios.
  4. Computers, ipads, and the like (unless truly necessary for Dhamma study).

Planning your retreat

Recommend daily schedule of practice

Orientation Booklet (essential reading)

Getting here

Air: The La Crosse airport (40 minutes from us) is served 3 times each day by American (via Chicago) and Delta (via Minneapolis). Generally, we can meet you at airport if you check with us before booking.Bus or train: Greyhound has multiple trips between Chicago and Minneapolis. Amtrak's Empire Builder is once a day each direction. Both stop in Tomah, WI, 15 miles away. We can drive you to and from the stations.

If you are interested in a retreat here, please email us.

Long-Term Practice

Kevala Retreat can host long-term retreats and residency when there is a good fit. For both, the starting point is for you and us to develop familiarity with one another. Long stays will depend on a compatible understandings of Buddha-Dhamma, practice, and the lifestyle at Kevala Retreat. We will ask you to come for a visit or personal retreat as the first step, along with email and phone communications. We look forward to exploring the options for Dhamma-centered life and service.