One-week Cultivating Emotional Balance retreat in the Azores

9 days / 8 nights

Deposit (14%)
This is the upfront amount you have to pay in order to book your experience. The remaining amount can be paid later, depending on each organizers conditions. Here, the remaining amount should be paid 60 days before arrival.
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The path to a more balanced, happier life.

How to manage the everyday obstacles of our destructive emotions and cultivate a wholesome way of being?

These were the questions that sparked the meeting between H.H. the Dalai Lama with behavioral scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and sociologists, as well as Buddhist monks and scholars, at the VII Mind & Life Dialogue. One of the outcomes of these rich and fruitful discussions was the development of this program.

Cultivating Emotional Balance is a training program designed to increase happiness and well-being within yourself, as well as in relationship to others and the world around you. In particular, it focuses on how our emotions can often become problematic and an obstacle to our own and others’ well-being, and what we can do to transform them into a wellspring of genuine joy and growth.

This course aims at helping you:

  • Have your emotions work for you, not against you;
  • Have your experience of emotions be constructive, and not destructive;
  • Have you and those who know you intimately sense, by end of the course, that you have changed.

Awareness Brings Choice

Our emotions can either greatly help us and be a source of joy, or make us feel and behave in regrettable ways and create profound misery. The problem is, for most of us, emotions are beyond our conscious control – we don’t have a choice, they just happen to us.

The first step towards choice is becoming more aware of and familiar with our emotional experiences. Cultivating Emotional Balance training puts emotional awareness at its core to help participants move closer to a life of choice.

By becoming able to recognize the spark before the flame, we create a distance between stimulus and response, where we can choose if and how we want to emotionally engage.


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
~ Viktor Frankl


Emotional balance is just the tip of the iceberg

What’s behind emotional balance? What turns an emotion constructive or destructive? Our emotions are based on the state and characteristics of our mind. A balanced mind will lead to balanced emotions, while an unbalanced mind will lead to unbalanced emotions.

CEB training aims at cultivating and sustaining emotional balance from a solid ground of mental balance, grounded on:

A tranquil mind and stable attention are key to emotional regulation, self-discovery, and well-being in general.

Our views shape experience and emotions. The right ones bring us peace and growth, but delusion brings pain and unsatisfaction.

Meaningful aspirations such as love and compassion are what constitute the ground of genuine happiness.

The key components of CEB are:

  • Understanding how emotions work, and how they can work for and not against us
  • Recognizing and working with emotional triggers
  • Deepening awareness and stabilizing attention
  • Increasing compassion for the self and others
  • Cultivating happiness of being and mental balance


The curriculum:

Cultivating Emotional Balance is an evidence-based curriculum that draws from empirical research on emotion, coupled with contemplative practices that are rooted in Buddhist traditions.

CEB training integrates wisdom traditions, contemplative sciences, modern psychology, and scientific emotion research into a secular platform for human transformation. The CEB curriculum features useful and profound theory and practices from both the modern scientific method and knowledge, including psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, as well as from the time-tested contemplative tradition with millennia of experience and refinement of Buddhism.

Cultivating Emotional Balance only takes the core wisdom and practices from these traditions and is not associated with any religion, being a completely secular program open to everyone from any background.

The training will focus on learning the theories and practices of psychology regarding emotional balance, based on Dr. Paul Ekman’s work, and the relevant theories and practices of Buddhism, based on Dr. Alan Wallace’s teachings, particularly focused on the cultivation of attention, insight through the practice of mindfulness, and the qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity (the Four Immeasurables). This deeply experiential course features the complete 42-hour Cultivating Emotional Balance program, detailed below.

I. Setting an aspiration
    1. Introduction to genuine happiness
    2. The path of genuine happiness: attention, wisdom, and values
II. Understanding emotions
    1. What are emotions?
    2. What is their function?
    3. How do they work?
    4. Trigger, experience, and behavior: building a model for the emotional episode
    5. Recognizing emotions and facial expressions
III. Transforming emotions
    1. How can emotions become destructive?
    2. How can we make them more constructive?
    3. Before the emotion: cultivating mental balance and working with hot triggers
    4. During the emotion: recognizing (emotional awareness), regaining choice, and transforming
    5. After the emotion: healing and using destructive emotional episodses for growth and improvement
    6. Dealing with and helping improve others’ emotional episodes
IV. The 7 universal emotions:
    1. Anger
    2. Fear & Surprise
    3. Disgust & Contempt
    4. Sadness
    5. Joy
    6. Other important emotions (guilt and shame, envy and jealously, …)
V. Cultivating attentional balance
    1. Introduction to attentional balance
    2. Mindfulness of the present, body, and breath
    3. Settling the mind in its natural state
    4. Achieving mental quiescence and tranquility
VI. Cultivating cognitive balance
    1. Introduction to cognitive balance
    2. The importance of a balanced attention for the cultivation of wisdom
    3. The four applications of mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and phenomena
    4. The three marks of existence and the nature of reality: impermanence, emptiness (interdependence), and dissatisfaction
VII. Cultivating conative balance
    1. Identifying the true causes of happiness and suffering
    2. Hedonia and Eudaimonia
    3. The four immeasurables: Loving-kindness, Compassion, Empathetic-joy and Equanimity
    4. Bringing genuine happiness to daily life and out into the world


"The meditation side of the course clarified a lot for me. Thank you very much.”

“I didn’t know what to expect in the beginning (of CEB), but every week was full of revelations and clarity. I have definitely taken a wise step towards emotional regulation by attending this program and would recommend it to everyone!”

“The thing I enjoyed most and found really useful was how the course has given me much more clarity about the subjects covered—clearly defining the emotions and the variety of meditation practices. I feel I am beginning to understand more clearly a lot of the practices that I have already had in my life (and will continue to have). The main difference is between recognizing intellectually and experiencing—immeasurably valuable!”

“I wonder what other awesome stuff is in the CEB curriculum that there was no time to cover? Or maybe it would have made my brain explode. Thanks heaps, immediately useful for me in life and work.”

“I can’t see anything more important for people’s happiness and also for a better peaceful world as emotional and mental balance. CEB gives me the amazing opportunity to be a part of it.”

“For me, (CEB) was a life changing experience. I signed up for a meditation course and found much, much more.”

General information Review Like

Yoga Styles

  • Vipassana Yoga

Natural & Holistic Therapies

  • Meditation

  • Mindfulness

  • Active Meditation

  • Vipassana


6 / 9 days with instruction
English Instruction language
English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian Spoken language(s)

Difficulty Level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Minimum age allowed is 18 years
  • The maximum participants in the group is 12 person
  • Seasonality


    Daily Program Review Like

    Typical day schedule:

    07:30-08:30 - Breakfast
    08:30-12:30 - Session (inc. break)
    13:00-14:00 - Lunch
    14:30-18:30 - Session (inc. break)
    18:30-19:30 - free time / optional activities
    19:30-20:30 - Dinner
    23:00-07:00 - Silence

    4th day is free (trail included)

    Check-in on September 11 from 14:00
    Check-out on September 19 until 11:00

    Accommodation Review Like

    Quinta Minuvida Orchard Lodge

    Set in an acre of traditional fruit orchards, Quinta Minuvida is the perfect spot for intimate small groups, offering ample space for meditation and seclusion.

    Quinta Minuvida offers intentional, sustainable accommodation. Lovingly restored in 2017, the property preserves its vintage Azorean character dating from the orange era. Quinta Minuvida is only 20 minutes from the airport and capital Ponta Delgada, but a world apart, transporting you to a bucolic lifestyle of early bedtimes and wild canaries announcing a new day.

    Quinta Minuvida offers five suites with private baths that can accommodate 10 - 12 guests in private or shared accommodation. Their style can be classic Azorean or more contemporary. They feature vintage furniture or large beds made from reclaimed pallets. If necessary, we can accommodate extra people in the neighbor partner farm. The accommodation types available are:

    • 2 suites with 1 single room, 1 double room, and a private bathroom
    • 4 rooms with a double bed and private bathroom
    • 2 rooms with 2 single beds and a private bathroom

    Amenities include five thoughtful suites, outdoor pool, yoga studio, guest kitchen, livingroom with fireplace, outdoor grill, firepit, observatory, organic vegetable garden, and one acre of orchards; a fully equipped studio, a large lawn, a banana grove and terrace space with stunning views. Near beaches, walking trails, hotsprings, bike paths, ...


    "The property itself is breath-taking... each room is welcoming and beautifully decorated, and the orchard is filled with gorgeous plants and fruit trees."

    "If I could give Minuvida 100 stars I would. Stay there. I promise you will have an amazing and authentic Azorean experience that you will never forget!"

    "The pool is large and beautiful, and so was our room. We will recommend this place to whoever wants to discover the real Azorean way of life."

    "More than just a comfortable place to sleep, Minuvida provides a place to restore your health, balance, and sanity, through the well-cared-for verdant grounds."

    Food Review Like

    Included Meals

    Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner , Snacks, Drinks

    Food Types Supported

    Gluten Free , Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, Lactose Free, Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Food, Plant Based

    Staff Review Like

    Filipe Gonçalves Rocha
    Filipe is the founder and main teacher and author of the Center for Human Flourishing. He is a teacher, trainer, and author in the fields of mental and emotional balance, emotional intelligence, awareness, and regulation, meditation and contemplative practices, mental health, happiness and well-being, and personal growth and transformation. He is also a Medical Doctor, having graduated from the Abel Salazar Institute for Biomedical Sciences – University of Porto (ICBAS-UP) in 2021.

    Additional Things to do Review Like

    We highly recommend that you arrive earlier or leave later to explore and experience all the beauty and adventure of São Miguel and the Azores. If you wish to stay at Quinta Minuvida, please contact the property directly. We can assist you in planning and booking excursion, trips, and other activities.

    What is included Review Like

    • Teachings of the full 42-hour CEB program
    • Accommodation for 8 nights
    • Bed linen, towels, hygiene products, wifi
    • Daily room cleaning
    • 3 daily delicious & nutritious vegetarian meals
    • Unlimited tea, coffee, and biscuits
    • Use of the common spaces, studio, kitchen & barbecue, gardens, and pool
    • Exclusive use of the center for the group
    • Dedicated coordinator
    • Organization of activities/excursions/trails
    • 1 trail in the lushing green vulcanic beauty of the Azores led by our hosts Rimi and João, certified guides
    • 1 complimentary yoga class by our host Rimi, certified yoga teacher
    • Airport transfer
    • Course manual
    • Guided meditation recordings
    • Certificate
    • Support (plus 25% discount in any Individual Sessions for 1 year)
    • Emotions, growth, friendship, and a good time

    What is not included Review Like

    • Travel and insurance;
    • Accommodation before and after the retreat;
    • Extra activities (excursions, yoga classes, massages, etc.);
    • Lunch and dinner for the free day (you may want to travel somewhere around the island and eat there, or choose to eat at the center).

    Know before you go Review Like

    Weather information

    The weather in the Azores is spring-like most of the time; capricious, with days of sun interlaced with low clouds, a shower, a rainbow - and then sun again. Seasons run the same as everywhere else in the northern hemisphere, although it is said that the Azores can have the four seasons all in just one day (or hour!).

    We are blessed with a cool to warm subtropical climate, heavily influenced by the ocean. We get enough rain to look lush and green year-round :) Never too cold (seldom drops below 10ºC/50ºF during the coldest winter nights) or too hot (rarely rises above 28ºC/82ºF during the warmest summer days). Humid and often cloudy. Perfect for the outdoors.

    Electricity and outlets

    For Portugal there are two associated plug types, C and F. Plug type C is the plug that has two round pins and type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Portugal operates on 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

    Visa stuff

    Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days (or at all for EU nationals); some nationalities need a Schengen visa. Check with your local embassy or consulate for information specific to your country.

    What to bring

    Sunglasses and hat
    Layers for the evening

    Vaccinations requirements

    WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that all travelers should be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio, regardless of their destination. Since most vaccines don’t produce immunity until at least two weeks after they’re given, visit a doctor at least six weeks before departure.

    Travel insurance suggestions

    Travel insurance is always a good idea! Depending on the policy you go for, it could help with delayed, canceled or missed flights; theft or damage of belongings, and emergency healthcare. It's not the most glamorous part of planning a trip, but it means you can relax knowing that you'll be covered if anything happens.

    How to get there Review Like

    Airplane: Fly to João Paulo II Airport (Ponta Delgada - PDL).
    From there we will pick you up and take you to the retreat center.
    If you prefer to go on your own, or can't join the organized airport transfer, you can either rent a car or take a taxi (20 min travel).

    Azores Airlines and TAP Portugal offer regular flights from Boston and we recommend online booking.
    From Europe, Ryanair offers low-cost fares from London and Lisbon. Many other charter companies operate from Germany and other destinations, as does Azores Airlines.

    Booking Review Like

    Cancellation Policy

    Refundable up to 60 days from start date

    Deposit Percentage


    The rest of the payment should be made 60 days before arrival

    Features Review Like

    • Boating

    • Cycling

    • Diving

    • Hiking

    • Horse Riding

    • Hot Tub / Jacuzzi

    • Kayaking

    • Kitesurfing

    • Surfing

    • StandUp Paddle Boarding

    • Sailing

    • Mountain Biking

    • Trail running

    • Massage

    • Swimming

    • Swimming Pool

    • Golf Course

    • Whale Watching

    • Paragliding

    • Air-Conditioned in Public Areas

    • Air-Conditioned Rooms

    • Balcony

    • Beach

    • Café

    • Dining area

    • Eco-Friendly

    • Fireplace

    • Garden

    • In-Room Safe

    • Kitchen

    • Lake

    • Lobby

    • Lounge

    • Luggage Room / Storage

    • Meditation Garden

    • Mini Bar

    • Multilingual Staff

    • Picnic Area

    • Restaurant

    • Terrace

    • Yoga Deck

    • Yoga Studio

    • Patio

    • Waterfall

    • ATM / Banking

    • Bicycle Rental

    • Convenience / Grocery Store

    • Free Bicycle

    • Free Drinkable Water

    • Free Parking

    • Free Wi-Fi

    • Hair Dryer

    • Internet Access

    • Local Market

    • Room Cleaning

    • Tour Assistance

    Availability Notes / comments. Review Like

    EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT - for the first 6 registrations, made until July 4.

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