Nestled deep in the wilderness or harbored in the midst of aqua ocean paradise, yoga meditation retreats conjure images of exotic experiences and profound spiritual enlightenment.
Beauty and wondrous relaxing imagery captures merely the outer shell of a retreat; the heart of the experience penetrates straight into the soul —channeling new beginnings and creative awakenings. At a retreat in India under the guidance of famed guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles practiced Transcendental Meditation and crafted the songs that would comprise the White Album. The song “Dear Prudence” from the album was written about Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence, who became fixated on her meditation experience at the retreat.
The famed retreat where the Beatles studied Transcendental meditation is once again open to the public after decades of closed doors. While the India retreat is the most iconic, many yoga meditation retreats exist across the globe to allow practitioners to relax the body and awaken the mind. Every retreat offers a uniquely rich and personal experience.
When selecting a retreat, think about what the experience means. If an individual is looking more for a fun vacation, a meditation yoga retreat is the wrong option. A meditation yoga retreat should be treated as a spiritually enriching experience. Yes, retreats serve as a vacation, but the body must be prepared and so must the mind.
Booking and scheduling a retreat involves a number of considerations:
Know how much you can spend. Retreats—like every excursion—vary in price. You can go all in by spending tens of thousands of dollars, or you may be much more limited. Research if meals are included in the price of the retreat. All-inclusive packages are almost always the best bet. Also price out the cost of classes. How many yoga or meditation sessions are included? Do you need to purchase additional sessions? Consider other experiences offered by the retreat like massages. Exotic locales also will cost more in airfare.
Think about why a retreat is beneficial to you personally. What do you hope to gain from the experience? If the retreat is about learning yoga and meditation, research retreats that specifically cater to guided instruction.
Research the staff.
Before booking any retreat that offers yoga and meditation, research the instructors and the type of yoga they teach. There are different forms of yoga, and some are much more involved. Bikram Yoga is intense and involves a heated studio. Know before you go. Don’t hesitate to send an email or call the retreat with any questions.
Nourish and eat well.
Some retreats serve strictly vegan cuisine. Many will serve organic foods. Food fuels the body, and many practitioners obey dietary restrictions to keep the body cleanly nourished. If you happen to be a finicky eater, check the menu. Those with food allergies should always communicate any dietary special needs.
Everywhere you go, there you are.
While every location offers a unique experience, the individual makes the experience what it was meant to become. Find the location that speaks to you. If the heart and soul gravitates towards the ocean, choose a destination retreat that allows views of the water. Green trees and forest beauty inspiration can be found in rainforest destination retreats or even locations in the U.S. Find the beauty of nature that inspires and go there.
Yoga meditation retreats create enriching life-changing experiences. Relaxation and mindfulness balance to help the body to find inner peace. Choose the retreat that speaks to the soul and soothes the mind. The experience of a meditative yoga retreat will be what the individual allows—enter with an open mind and heart.