If you have always wanted to learn to meditate, a retreat immersion is the perfect way to start. Because meditation is, put simply, the delicate art of emptying one’s mind, learning the practice in a peaceful atmosphere can be a great enabler. You’ll also connect and co-learn with people on the same journey as you are. In our experience, the bonds formed during retreats are long-lasting and remain some of the most supportive and meaningful relationships in one’s life. You’ll also have dedicated wellness experts and instructors to walk you through your doubts about your practice and life situations in general, with zero judgment.
Location. Look for a location with a lot of space to walk around without running into traffic and noise. Being surrounded by nature to explore is invaluable. Try to find a location that offers Ayurvedic therapies or other holistic treatments that attend to the body, mind, and spirit and you won’t be disappointed. Explore the accommodations and meals (if included) and the policies regarding technology use, etc. The goal should be finding a place that you feel comfortable, safe, and unstressed. Be sure to do a vibe check! Read reviews to find out what people are saying about the place and how they felt while there.
Choose your retreat length. Decide how many days you want to spend in retreat. In our 3-day program, you spend your time learning a mantra-based meditation technique you can take home and benefit from immediately. You can extend your stay to continue practicing in our supportive environment. How long you choose to retreat is entirely up to you, but keep in mind that for most people the first couple of days are spent catching up on sleep, letting your body and soul get re-acquainted, and for beginners, learning the practice. If you can add a couple more days to actually dive into a new rhythm, all the better.
Curriculum. Know what a day at the retreat is like and what you need right now. There should not be too many activities packed into your schedule, or so few activities that you struggle to make sense of your time, especially when you are starting out. Some of our meditation and mindfulness retreats focus on cultivating creativity, others give you the opportunity to dive deeper into the practice, and then there are those that offer opportunities to explore and heal a particular emotional issue.
Yoga. For beginners, adding yoga to the retreat is ideal. Yogic exercise followed by meditation are spiritual boosters that give you calmness and a state of no-mind as a result. The transition from body (outward) to the self (inward) happens effortlessly.
Tips for the best experience…
Be open minded. It is recommended to go with an open mind and take it as it comes. Here is your chance to dive deep and find gems about your own self that you did not know you had in you.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip or aren’t able to follow certain requirements. You are on retreat to let go of the burdens you are carrying within—don’t add to them while you’re there. Remember, there are millions of people who are living with stress and worries, and only a few decide to do something about it and find a way to have real joy and peace in their lives. You are one of them; give yourself credit!
Ask for help. Retreats have teachers and staff who are there to answer any questions you may have. Do not miss out on the fullest retreat experience because you were afraid to ask! There is no judgment, only excitement in being part of your journey and acceptance of you exactly as you are.
Trust the process. A subtle but very important step. Have faith that this is going to benefit you and give you all that you need from it. Trusting the process will help you move through the realm of logic to beyond the barriers of intellect, which is where wonder lies and miracles happen.
It is not easy to change the habit and patterns in the mind. Just be willing to do the work. At first, the change of routine may make you uncomfortable. Stick to it and you’ll see the magic unfold. You’ll feel more energized, fit, and happy. Staying away from the distractions of television, phones, people, cars, and food may be boring. Lovingly accept it. For most of our lives, we have been controlled by our gadgets and objects of our senses. This is a rare opportunity to reclaim control of your mind and what you do with its infinite potential.
When you return home from a retreat, you will be a different person. You will have practices to help you create a mini retreat at home to recreate that same bliss whenever you want. You will find subtle changes in how you are dealing with what life throws at you. You don’t get angry at your co-workers or lose patience with your children as much. You are no longer interested in foods that are unhealthy or life supporting. Your natural life choices are shifting toward ones that help you stay calm and relaxed. You will sleep better, feel more balanced and energized, and find more creativity or confidence.