Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2024: Weeklong Meditation Retreat – 5 WAYS TO LET GO: Releasing the Hindrances

Peterkin from the sky

The Buddhist teachings warn of 5 main challenging and complicated mental states that block, confuse, or “hinder” our ability to more fully open our hearts and minds, and prevent us from finding freedom from suffering.

And while these hindrances are painful, they are also natural expressions of the heart and mind when we are suffering, and knowing how to work them is exactly how we can experience more relief and release, and deepen our spiritual path.

During this silent weeklong retreat, we’ll explore a variety of different ways that we can use our meditation practice to more clearly recognize these five mental states, discover how to work with them, and eventually learn how to loosen our grip on them in order to nurture more joy, freedom, and ease in our lives.

Our time together will include daily dharma talks, guided meditation, silent meditation, walking meditation, and q&a sessions about these transformative practices. In order to nurture a sense of stillness and deep listening, silence will be maintained throughout the retreat.

Check-in is from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, and the retreat will end at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by lunch.


Shell Fischer, founder and guiding teacher of Mindful Shenandoah Valley, offers more than 30 years of extensive mindfulness practice and study. She is a Buddhist teacher, trained in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition at Naropa University – the nation’s leading contemplative university – and in the Theravadan Vipassana (Insight) tradition by Dr. Tara Brach – one of the world’s foremost Insight teachers. She is also a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher-training program led by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Prior to teaching, Shell wrote about mindfulness and yoga for national magazines.

Shell’s main focus as a teacher is on metta (loving-kindness) practice. Her hope is to guide her students in nurturing even more kindness and compassion for themselves, and for all the situations they find themselves in throughout their lives, through the practice of meditation and mindfulness – which she believes everyone can learn.


Peterkin Camp & Conference Center, 286 Clubhouse Rd., Romney, WV

Nestled in a valley of unsurpassed natural beauty, and surrounded by the South Branch of the Potomac River, the sprawling, private campus at Peterkin offers a refuge of quiet, serenity, and peace amid the rush of our everyday lives.

Located near historic Romney, WV, Peterkin boasts 1,400 acres of private forest with clean mountain streams and miles of hiking trails. It is about 60 minutes from Winchester, VA, and about 2 hours from Washington, D.C. There is also a beautiful outdoor yoga pavilion, 200-year-old poplar trees, walking paths right along the roaring creek, and a walk to The Falls.

This serene, secluded retreat center includes comfortable beds in shared rooms (2-4) with shared bathrooms. The exquisitely quiet meditation hall on campus sits right next to the creek, and is heated and air-conditioned, with windows that also allow the sounds of nature to be enjoyed while practicing.

The food service staff provides nutritious, delicious vegetarian meals, and special dietary needs can be accommodated with notification prior to the retreat.

Peterkin sanctuary


I have attended five-day retreats with Shell in three different locations. All have been transformative in their own way, but the last retreat I attended at Peterkin was by far the most beautiful experience. The location is truly heavenly. I have always considered myself an ocean versus a mountain person, and the beach is usually my happy place; Peterkin has changed my mind. The flowing stream, incredible forests, starry nights, and overall peaceful feel made me aware of each moment. When I was leaving the retreat center, I longed to return. I cannot recommend this center or any retreat with Shell more highly. If you want to deepen your practice, this is the right place.” ~ Sandra Pinney

“The staff at Peterkin is wonderful, working very hard to make sure attendees have a meaningful experience by supporting the silence and preparing nourishing meals. It was clear the chef cared about providing a great dining experience for people with differing dietary needs – the variety of offerings and quality of the food was fabulous.” ~ Susan Woods

Peterkin is a wonderful place to steep in silence and in nature. The campus is quiet and peaceful, and each day is greeted with birdsong, the sound of running water, and the fresh smell of the woods. I live in a rural area, so being in nature is really important to me. This retreat center offers acres of it, and the cadence of the natural world is a perfect metronome for meditation practice. Because it has historically been used by people seeking community and higher purpose, there are decades of good spirit lingering there. The chapel meditation hall is mostly unadorned, so you notice how the natural light through the windows changes the color of the interior wood as the day progresses. When I meditate at home now, I often “go there,” and recall the peacefulness I felt there.” ~ Charlotte Fremaux

Peterkin is an ideal retreat center. The kitchen staff especially is dedicated to providing a variety of delicious vegetarian and vegan meals for retreat attendees and accommodating everyone’s dietary needs. When I attended a retreat there, they went out of their way to check on me because, as a gluten-free vegan who is allergic to peanuts, I am quite challenging to feed! But the food was absolutely delicious, and I felt thoroughly nourished at every meal.” ~ Carrie Miller

“This past fall, as the retreat at Peterkin progressed, I found myself so profoundly calm, content, and unburdened from agitation for the first time in many years. This is something I credit in large part to the unspoiled beauty and tranquility of this retreat location. In particular, the serene setting provided the perfect backdrop for a deepening of my walking meditation practice. I experienced such a deep sense of peace listening to the surrounding natural sounds while practicing this form of meditation. In the evenings I would often sit on a rocking chair on the porch and reflect on the day while watching the sunset over the mountains. This was an unforgettable experience – I’m already planning my return to Peterkin! “ ~ Ela Flynn


REGISTRATION: $1,100 for Room & all meals.  (*Registration does not include teacher dana

*Dana (generosity) offerings at the end of a Vipassana Insight retreat is an ancient, ongoing tradition that helps support the teacher. You can read more about it here.

You have the option of paying the full fee upfront, or making a 50% deposit to reserve your place at the retreat. After Aug. 29, full payment is required for registration. The administrative fee for cancellations made up to one month prior to the retreat is $350. We are unable to offer refunds – for any reason – for cancellations made less than one month prior to the first day of retreat. We are unable to offer credit or transfers to other retreats.

For more information prior to registering, please visit Frequently Asked Questions

TO REGISTER, please fill out the form below.

I declare that the information I have given Mindful Shenandoah Valley is true and correct. I have read and agreed to the refund policy. I also recognize that Shell Fischer is not claiming to be a mental health professional, and that it is my responsibility to seek out a professional mental health provider if I am experiencing any emotional difficulties. I knowingly release and hold harmless, for myself and my heirs, Shell Fischer, along with Mindful Shenandoah Valley, from any claim, liability, demand, action and cause of action whatsoever.