Women's Meditation Retreat: The Alchemy of Joy

Women's Meditation Retreat: The Alchemy of Joy

Thursday 9 April – Wednesday 22 April at Vijayaloka Retreat Centre in Minto Heights

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are no longer offering the 4-day weekend version of this retreat. The full 13-day version will go ahead, public health guidelines permitting.

The world around us is struggling with unprecedented challenges. Nothing is certain, and suffering is rife. It might seem insensitive to seek joy when the planet is in crisis. But we don’t have to be doomed to a joyless life! 

The alchemists may have failed to transform base metals into precious, luminous gold, but in the realm of consciousness, the potential for transformation is ever-present. If we are to be of help to this world and its inhabitants, finding the secret source of deep joy is not a luxury but a must.

Join us on retreat to explore this potential through meditation, silence, ritual, poetry, chanting, Qi Gong, simple community living, meditation reviews and more. 

As our guide, we’ll use some of the songs of the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa. 

        “The more ups-and-downs, the more joy I feel. 
         Happy is the body with no sinful Karma, 
         Happy indeed are the countless confusions! 
        The greater the fear, the greater the happiness I feel.”
                                                (from Milarepa, The Song of a Yogi’s Joy)

Open to all women* with an established meditation practice. Arrive any time from 2pm, with official start time at 6:30pm. The last day ends by 3:00pm.

* This retreat is for anyone who identifies as a woman, and for genderqueer folk.

Typical Daily Program

Time Activity
7am Meditation
9am Breakfast
10:30am Talk / Meditation / Reviews
1pm Lunch
4pm Qi Gong & Meditation
6pm Dinner
8pm Chanting, Meditation & Pūjā

The program might vary from day to day, with less discursive activities and more silence as we enter deeper into the retreat.

More questions? Get in touch

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need to have been practising?

The retreat will be best suited for those who have an established meditation practice. If you are comfortable meditating for up to 50 minutes at a time, several times a day, you should find this retreat suitable.

Do I need to be a Buddhist?

Although our inspiration and practices come from Buddhist teachings, you do not need to be a Buddhist to attend or benefit from the retreat.

What does the cost include?

The retreat cost covers the full cost of the retreat, including all food. Retreatants participate in a work roster for cooking and cleaning.

When does the retreat start and end?

The retreat will begin with a 6:30 dinner on the first evening. It is normally not advisable to plan to arrive later than this. If you think you might need to, please contact us before booking. You are welcome to arrive any time from 2pm.

On the last day, we'll depart around 2:30-3:00 pm.

What will the accommodation be like?

Vijayaloka provides simple, but comfortable accommodation. Living communally is an important and enjoyable part of the retreat. We will be in shared single-sex rooms with 2-4 people in each, and will eat together communally. Camping is possible if you bring a tent (check with us about borrowing one).

Living communally means caring for each other. The team leading the retreat are volunteers who are on retreat as well and we will ask you to help out with simple chores. Working together is a good way of getting to know each other, and it also helps us keep the cost of the retreat to a minimum.

Can I have a single room?

In order to allow us to accommodate as many people as want to come, we are not normally able to provide single rooms. If you have a very special circumstance which requires a single room for you to be able to attend, please contact us before booking to discuss.

What will the food be like?

Many Buddhists practice veganism as an expression of non-violence. As such, all food will be vegan.

If you have any allergies that aren't listed on the booking form, please contact us before booking to ensure we can cater for you.

What do I need to bring?

Unless you are coming a long distance we ask that you bring your own sheets and blankets or a sleeping bag (we have plenty of pillows).

It can be surprisingly cold in the early mornings and evenings, and quite hot in the middle of the day, so bring clothes suitable for all weather: we suggest you bring layers as well as a warm jumper or jacket. You'll also need a good sun hat and suitable shoes, especially if you want to walk in the bush. There is a river you can swim in so you may also want to swimwear if you want to swim.

In addition you'll need to bring any toiletries you need including a towel, insect repellent, and sun block. It is also a good idea to bring a torch if you have one and you may also want to bring a notebook and pen.

We have meditation gear (cushions, etc.), but you are welcome to bring your own.

The Team


About Vijayaloka

Our retreats are held at Vijayaloka Retreat Centre which provides simple shared accommodation for approximately 40 people in a beautiful bush setting on the George's River.

Where to Find Us

The retreat is at Vijayaloka Retreat Centre in Minto Heights.


Vijayaloka's address for use in sat-navs is 36 Howard Road, Minto Heights NSW 2566. Travel time from central Sydney is about one hour.

There is a blue sign at Vijayaloka's entrance. Enter there and then park the car park immediately on your right.

If you are able to offer a lift to others travelling from Sydney, please let us know.


Vijayaloka is very each to access by train. The closest train station is Minto which is on the T8 Airport Line towards MacArthur and Campbelltown. Travel time is about 50 minutes from Central.

We can normally arrange for those travelling by train to be picked up from the train station. Please indicate when booking if you need to be picked up and aim to be at Minto around 5:30-6pm. We will contact you shortly before the start of the retreat to confirm. Alternatively you can take a taxi from the bottle shop across the road from the station, or an Uber.

If you are travelling from outside Sydney and don't have an Opal card, you can use any contactless credit/debit card to travel on Sydney Trains.