Most Dharma centers these days offer people the chance to deepen their meditation practice by offering retreats, anywhere from one day to a few months in duration. For many of us, even to take one day out of our lives to attend a retreat can be difficult, but the benefits are lasting and well worth making the effort to attend.
When I first started practicing meditation, I originally started with just 10-20 minutes a day; slowly working my way up to one-hour sessions. As I continued to read and became more inspired, I began doing semi-retreats at home on the weekend. I would practice noble silence and do up to seven hours meditation on the Saturday (breaking up my sessions with 45 minutes Shamatha meditation and 15 minutes walking meditation). Then on the Sunday I would attend my local center’s Sunday morning session and come home and do more practice.