Meditation retreats have been a popular vacation option since the late 1960s as yoga and meditation gained a greater foothold in Western cultures, and today there are more retreat-style destinations available than ever before. There are several reasons for this – increasing popularity and marketing of mindfulness in the West, proven links between meditation and addiction and mental health recovery, and decreased affiliations with Christianity in favor of Eastern religious practices. Whatever your reason for pursuing such a trip, however, there are options to suit your preferences.
The Classic Approach
If you want to experience meditation practices where they were born, than India may be the destination for you. You’ll have plenty of options across the country, but one of the most popular is the Art of Living International Center, located in Bangalore. With 65 peaceful acres up in the Panchagiri Hills, you’ll enjoy quiet hiking trails, community service opportunities, a lake, and even a farm. The center provides a modern take on the traditional ashram experience.
Traveling with family members who aren’t interested in spending their vacation in meditation? No problem – India offers many other attractions, including the Taj Mahal, elephant preserves, beaches, and delicious food. They can roam Karnataka (the state Bangalore where is located) while you clear your mind for a few days.
The Beauty Of Shambhala
In the Red Feather Lakes region of Colorado, you’ll find a branch of the very popular Shambhala Mountain Center, a retreat based on Buddhist principles. In addition to its beautiful gardens and bird sanctuary, one of the best things about Shambhala is that it caters to meditation lovers at any phase of their journey. That means you can sign on for their Learn To Meditate class, a week-long endeavor or participate in advanced study. The kids can even enjoy meditation workshops targeted to children, and their are special offerings for writers and artists.
Stretch Your Mind And Body
For those who prefer yoga over seated or walking meditation, the Ashiyana Yoga Retreat is an ideal option that specifically targets those trying to escape fast-paced urban life. You can participate in their Urban Antidote retreat for anywhere from a week to three weeks and enjoy intensive yoga practices, an emphasis on stress reduction, and nutritious meals meant to rejuvenate your whole being. The retreat is also located along a beach and visitors stay in huts near the river or houses in a palm grove, both beautiful and refreshing settings.
Our busy, modern lifestyle can be stressful and exhausting, so why spend your vacation in another fast-paced urban setting? Instead, consider making your next trip a radical break from your daily grind and heading into the mountains or down to a beachside meditation retreat. By spending your vacation finding your center, you can be sure you’ll return home well-rested and with the skills to fend off a world of distractions and demands while keeping your focus.