Outdoor retreat 2.-9.9.2021 in Kittilä, Lapland: Kirsten Kratz and Juha Penttilä

Being touched by this World

This outdoor retreat offers a precious opportunity to practice Dharma (Buddhist teachings) in the wild beauty of Lapland, together with a like minded community of practitioners and fellow humans: a community co-created by each of us; held by and being part of the wider community of the natural world.

Entering the wilderness of Lapland with respect, receptivity and sensitivity our presence and explorations may become a discovery of  the unfathomable depth of our heart. This human heart with its capacity to hold that what is difficult and its ability for kindness and compassion, joy, beauty, connection and meaningfulness.

We will devote time for walking in noble silence and cultivating meditative calm, as well as exploring ways to nurture spiritual companionship. There will be dharma reflections, formal practices and instructions and also space for sharing and simply enjoying hanging out with each other.

On this retreat we will practice Insight meditation, also known as vipassana. The word vipassana means seeing things just as they are. This meditation practice is over 2500 years old and draws from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. However, taking part in the retreat does not require an adherence to Buddhism or any adaptation of personal faith.

May this be a time of nourishment for all of us. May it deepen wisdom and compassion in our hearts for the welfare of all beings everywhere.

What happens in the retreat? Who can join?

After years of offering much appreciated hiking retreats, this year we are looking  forward to offer an additional  ‘Outdoor Retreat’ in the wilderness of the artic circle. This will be the first of its kind and we are hoping to co-create something supportive, nourishing and magical with you, combining meditative  presence with each other and the natural world  with the basic ‘luxuries’ of a camp. 

You can join us if you have previous experience of meditation retreats (at least one 5-day silent retreat). As we will spend a lot of times outdoors and may walk occasionally longer distances you will also need a reasonable level of fitness. However, this retreat is an easier option for those who might find the trekking retreat physically too challenging.

The retreat will be held in Kittilä at the edge of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. We will use the cabin of Helsingin Seudun Lapinkävijät as our base and set up our tents around it. The cabin is situated by beautiful Kukasjärvi Lake and we will do daily walks in the surrounding areas. The cabin can be used as an inside space for meditation, if the weather is rainy or cold. Our camp will stay in the same location during the whole retreat (unlike on our ’traditional’ trekking retreats).

The retreat is taught in English. Personal guidance is also available in Finnish.

Who are the teachers?

Kirsten Kratz has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. She started teaching in 2006 and since 2015 she has been ‘teacher in residence’ supporting those on personal retreat in Gaia House. Her love and understanding of Dharma has been strongly influenced by, among others, the teachings of her friend and teacher colleague, Rob Burbea. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time, and Kirsten sees her involvement in activism as an important expression of her practice. Kirsten is co-initiator of the “Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement” (DANCE) and supporting teacher of Freely Given Retreats. Kirsten led the trekking retreats in 2015, 2017 and 2019 and fell in love with the wilderness of Lapland already the first time. Talks by Kirsten can be found here.

Juha Penttilä has been practicing meditation since 2002. He has spent extended periods of time on retreats and in monasteries in Asia and Europe and he is one of the founding members of Nirodha, the Finnish Insight Meditation practice community. Juha has also completed the Gaia House teacher council Community Dharma Leader -programme. In addition to emptiness practices Juha’s meditation teaching is influenced by the current climate crisis and engaged perspectives into the Dharma.

How much does it cost? How can I sign up?

The base price of the retreat is 250 €, but it is also possible to pay more or less than this. More information about the price, signing up and other details can be found here.


Heini Repometsä (practical arrangements, heini.repometsa@gmail.com, +358 45 6755043)
Marianne Kautiala (registrations, +358 50 531 8228)