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10 Best Meditation Retreats — Wellness Retreats to Visit

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10 Best Meditation Retreats — Wellness Retreats to Visit

Travelers are making meditation retreats increasingly popular. Wellness tourism is growing at twice the rate as the tourism industry overall, according to the Global Wellness Institute. Some of these trips last for a day, while others can span a week or more — and they’re often held at a meditation center or in nature, where attendees engage in mindfulness activities, sometimes in complete silence.

“This period of extended meditation practice gives you a chance to focus without the usual distractions or responsibilities of daily life,” says Ted Meissner, online program and community development manager for the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society.

That doesn’t mean you spend your hours sitting cross-legged on a cushion. Instead, everything you do during the retreat — walking, eating, yoga, or hiking — is done mindfully. This constant state of mindfulness gives your body and mind the opportunity to experience its effects more deeply than shorter spurts do. “Common outcomes retreatants experience are states of calm, reduction in tension, and a lower heart rate,” Meissner says.

Looking for some zen? Check out these top meditation retreats.

1

Kadampa Meditation Center NY

If you’re a meditation newbie, this center in the Catskills of New York is for you. Kadampa Meditation Center NY offers a variety of personal or group retreats throughout the year, all held at the World Peach Temple just two hours outside of bustling New York City. Choose from 24-hour, weekend, or five-day beginner retreats that seek to help visitors find their inner peace.

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2

Shambhala Mountain Center

Sitting on 600 acres of mountains, forests, meadows, and valleys, Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, is a nature lover’s delight. The center offers an array of mindfulness and retreat offerings — such as yoga, hiking, and workshops — and it also welcomes day visitors looking for a shorter burst of zen.

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3

Rolling Meadows

Quiet the mind in the beautiful New England countryside at Rolling Meadows in Brooks, Maine. This center hosts small group retreats of up to 11 people. Expect to participate in yoga, shared meals, and unstructured “me” time where you can explore the landscape. The center also hosts international retreats in locations like Costa Rica and India.

4

Esalen

What better way to rejuvenate your soul than on the beautiful California coast? Esalen in Big Sur, California, offers workshops in yoga, meditation, dance, art, and more. There’s also a farm and garden that guests can volunteer at, or you can choose to zone out in its hot springs. And if you’re worried about trying to disconnect, don’t be — there’s no cell service.

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5

Kripalu

Nestled in the Berkshires, Kripalu Yoga and Meditation Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, lets you create a retreat that’s just right for you. Choose from guided workshops or simply spend your days exploring the hiking trails, sweating it out in the fitness center and sauna, or floating in the lake.

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6

Ala Kukui

At Ala Kukui in Maui, there’s a retreat for everyone. Opt for a wellness or family experience, or try their Hulu retreat, a cultural deep dive into Hawaii where participants engage in spiritual activities and learn traditions like lei making. You can also customize your visit and fill your time with everything from yoga to reiki to massage therapy and even life coaching.

7

Simple Peace Retreats

Visitors have visited Simple Peace Retreats in Assisi, Italy, since 1985. Guests engage in yoga, meditation, meditative walks, and soak in ancient baths — and while trips to sacred sites are offered, the retreats cater to all faiths.

8

Spirit Rock

Whether you’re looking to unwind for a day, a week, or even a couple months, Spirit Rock in West Marin County, California, has something for every type of schedule. What sets this meditation center apart is that most retreats are held in silence.

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9

The Raj

The Raj is an Ayurvedic health center in Fairfield, Iowa, that’s known for its award-winning healing programs. There’s a five-day retreat focused on the practice of transcendental meditation, but visitors can also choose more general packages that provide on a variety of wellness offerings.

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