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A 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion Retreat with Anna Friis and Mara Elwood

August 21, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - August 26, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

$1,245.00 – $1,700.00
Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags of various colors

The Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Based on pioneering research by Kristin Neff and integrated with the clinical perspective of Chris Germer, MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult emotions with kindness and understanding.

Self-compassion is the emotional attitude of mindfulness when we contact suffering. Whereas mindful awareness is typically directed toward moment-to-moment experience, self-compassion focuses on the experiencer. Mindfulness says, “Open to your suffering with spacious awareness and it will change.” Self-compassion adds, “Be kind to yourself in the midst of suffering and it will change.” Mindfulness asks, “What do I know?” and self-compassion asks, “What do I need?”

Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who find it embarrassing to be kind to oneself. It’s a courageous mental attitude that stands up to harm, including the discomfort that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, and self-rumination when things go wrong. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, and respond to ourselves and others with care and respect, and be fully human. Rapidly expanding research has clearly demonstrated that self-compassion enhances emotional well-being, reduces anxiety and depression, helps to maintain healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and is related to better personal relationships.

Mindful Self Compassion Retreat at Mana:

Program activities include meditation, short talks, experiential exercises, group discussion, and home practices. The MSC program is not group therapy, although participants are encouraged to share their experiences on the path of mindful self-compassion. The emphasis of the program is on enhancing emotional resources and personal capacities.

Participant guidelines:

The MSC program is a journey—an adventure in self-discovery and self-kindness. Compassion has the paradoxical effect of both soothing and comforting as well as opening us to emotional distress that we may have been unconsciously holding inside, often for many years. Therefore, some difficult emotions are likely to surface during the program as we grow in our capacity to embrace and heal them. The teachers are committed to providing an environment of safety, support, privacy, individual responsibility, and a common commitment to developing compassion for oneself and others. It is recommended, but not required, that participants read the following two books before the training retreat: Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer

What the retreat includes:

  • Training with Anna Friis and Mara Elwood, intensive 5-day format
  • A greater sense of ease, happiness and better health
  • Shared Accommodation including linens and towel (limited single room accommodation available)
  • 3 wholesome, vegetarian meals per day
  • Exclusive use of facilities for your retreat

What do others say about this retreat:

“Working with you has changed the most important relationship in my life .. the relationship with myself. For that, I am truly grateful.” Vanessa


The Teaching Team

Anna Friis Bio PhotoDr Anna Friis PhD  Anna is a health psychologist working in private practice in Auckland New Zealand, with a particular focus on mindfulness and compassion-oriented therapy. Following a high-paced corporate career, she has a particular interest in helping people find balance, ease and joy within their lives and workplaces. Anna has a PhD in  Health Psychology from the University of Auckland, during which she created new scientific knowledge of the mental and physical health effects of self-compassion among diabetes patients. Her work has been published in several leading endocrinology journals. She is a certified teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion and speaks regularly on this topic at conferences and workshops throughout New Zealand.  Anna’s Website >>>

Mara Elwood, BA, BEd. MA, PGDip AT, has been a mindfulness practitioner for over 20 years and has taught and worked with all ages. She is a certified teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and leads courses and intensive retreats. Mara has experience with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Transcendental Meditation, Non-Violent Communication (NVC), Focusing-Oriented Arts Therapy (FOAT), Nature-Based E

xpressive Arts, Soul Collage, Open Studio Process (OSP) and Mandala Assessment Research Instrument (MARI). Mara calls herself an insatiable creative and loves to upcycle in the art she produces. She is currently in her final year of study for a Clinical Master of Creative Arts Therapy. Mara offers regular creative practice sessions online for wellbeing and for exploring aspects of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion with creativity. She also brings her MSC and creative arts practice and training together for deepening the MSC learning during the retreats she leads. No artistic skill or training is required, and all materials are supplied.
You can find out more information about Mara on her website: , contact

her at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @bodymindcreative .


August 21, 2022 @ 4:00 pm
August 26, 2022 @ 2:00 pm
$1,245.00 – $1,700.00
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Mana Retreat Centre
608 Manaia Road, State Highway 25, RD1
Coromandel, 3581 New Zealand
+64 7 866 8972
View Venue Website


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67 people are attending A 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion Retreat with Anna Friis and Mara Elwood

Elsa Taylor Erin Miller


Payment is required in full at the time of booking, by credit or debit card, or direct bank transfer using our secure POLi payment gateway.

We draw special attention to two of our guidelines before registration: Mana provides lacto-ovo vegetarian food only, this means no fish or chicken and is an alcohol and drug free environment.

Mana caters for Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Vegan.

Cancellation Policy

This group requires a minimum number of participants to go ahead, if that number is not reached we reserve the right to cancel the event.

Should you, for any reason, decide to cancel your registration; please note our cancellation policy :

  • A $50 administrative fee is applied to all cancellations.
  • A Tuition cancellation fee may apply in certain circumstances.
  • These policies are reassessed in certain circumstances.


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