Updated on January 27, 2014.
Considering going on a meditation retreat?
Do you desire a more meaningful travel experience? One in which you renew your body, mind and spirit. And where you experience personal growth, or take an “inward” journey among serene and beautiful scenery? It’s impossible to deny the benefits of a holiday at the beach or a week hiking in the mountains. But imagine taking that sense of calm back home with you after your vacation is over. That’s exactly the point of a meditation retreat.
Meditation retreats are increasing in popularity around the globe. They offer different styles of meditation and varying degrees of comfortable accommodations. But they all serve the same purpose–to immerse the visitor in a meditation retreat experience and to send patrons home with a sense of peace that remains long after the physical vacation is over.
If you’re planning a meditation vacation, you might try one of these 9 top retreats for the inner journey of a lifetime. (Based on a compilation by Travel+Leisure)
Featured Meditation Retreats
1. Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
Learn how to meditate, delve into the wisdom teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, stretch beyond your limits in a yoga retreat, or practice mindfulness in one of the contemplative arts programs. And if R&R is what you’re seeking, consider one of the relaxing, rejuvenating Retreat & Renewal weekends. Discover this and more at the pristine six hundred-acre mountain valley meditation retreat center, a sanctuary and training ground for body, mind, and spirit.
2. Ananda in the Himalayas in Uttaranchal, India
Ananda is the spiritual pathway to the ultimate, discovered through the union of body, mind and soul. This retreat center is located in the tranquil Himalayan foothills, close to the mythological cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh. At 3,000 feet high, it is surrounded by graceful Sal forests, and overlooks the peaceful Ganges River. On retreat at Ananda you can experience the well-known traditional Indian wellness regimes of Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta, combined with the best of international wellness experiences.
3. The Middle Way Meditation Retreat in Loei, Thailand
This meditation course is designed to provide a balanced mind and body relaxation experience. As you breathe in the fresh air of the mountains and hear the birds sing in the morning, you will feel you are one with nature. You will feel peaceful, refreshed and ready to take on life’s challenges. And, with meditation lessons from experienced instructors, you will gain more mental energy, new insights and, more importantly, “Inner Peace”.
4. Osho Meditation Resort in Pune, India
This lush contemporary 28-acre retreat campus is a tropical oasis where nature and the 21st Century blend seamlessly, both within and without. It’s a place where you can simply relax and where you can also enjoy the company of visitors of all ages from over 100 countries. You can learn simple Osho Active Meditations, techniques specifically designed for the contemporary over-charged mind and stress-impacted body. You can nourish your body-mind-soul with a stunning selection of individual sessions, like bodywork and massage, and longer workshops and courses. These are all designed to help you become more aware of yourself. Or you can experiment by learning new life skills and acquiring tools to take home. Skills that will help you remain relaxed even in the busiest of workaday environments.
5. Holy Isle in Isle of Arran, Scotland
At the north of Holy Isle there is the Centre for World Peace and Health where ongoing retreats and course programs take place. Anyone willing to abide by the Five Golden Rules is welcome to stay in the Centre for retreats and holiday breaks. Holy Isle is open all year round, though courses only run between March and October. When visiting the Centre, you are free to spend your day in any way you wish, though most courses and retreats have their own individual daily programs.
6. Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Muir Beach, California
Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, also known as Green Dragon Temple (Soryu-ji), is a Buddhist practice center in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition offering training in Zen meditation and ordinary work.
At Green Gulch the aim is to awaken the bodhisattva spirit within–the spirit of kindness and realistic helpfulness.
7. Simple Peace in Assisi, Italy
Simple Peace in Italy offers year-round meditation retreats where you can cultivate inner peace and happiness. The retreats help restore well being through Heartfulness meditation and silence. You can enjoy daily life in the silence that nourishes reflection and clarity, and experience the healing presence of nature. At Simple Peace you can disconnect so that you can reconnect. Each bedroom has a private bathroom, and there is a complete kitchen available for all.
8. Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts
The Insight Meditation Society’s Retreat Center first opened its doors over 30 years ago, providing meditation instruction based on the teachings of the Buddha. Today, it offers a yearly schedule of meditation courses, designed for both new and experienced practitioners. Retreats can last from a weekend to three months. Most retreats run for 7-9 days, and are taught by recognized Insight Meditation teachers from all over the world.
This 100-acre yoga retreat center overlooks the hills of coastal Maine. It provides a rural, pastoral setting for personal and spiritual renewal supported by the practices of yoga and meditation. The retreat center offers scheduled silent yoga and meditation retreats for up to 10 participants throughout the year.
This list of retreats is based on a compilation by Travel+Leisure.
Have you been on a mediation retreat recently? Where would you recommend? Leave your comments below.