A meditation retreat is a peaceful environment to focus upon your mental well-being. Are you on a quest to enhance yours during mental health awareness month? Whether this is your focus or you’re dreaming of a desirable destination to relax in – read on.
As the year unfolds the allure of a relaxing holiday or stay at a meditation retreat can grow stronger. Meditation retreats are attractive places to relax with plentiful health benefits. Here are some of the best meditation retreats within desirable destinations.
Tibet is a Buddhist country and has been since the 8th century AD so as you’d expect meditation has become part of everyday life for locals and visitors. Also, Tibet’s stillness allows visitors to find a sense of calm, inspired by the teachings and lifestyles of the ancient monks and Dalai Lamas.
Today, meditation retreats welcome people who wish to escape life’s challenges and find inner peace. During your trip, find a meditation retreat in the lower valleys where the weather is mild. The most well-known cave retreat is the Drak Yerpa Monastery. Five day meditation tours are available in Lhasa, including a day at the Monastery.
During your tour of this holy land – full of misty mountain terrain – you may be inspired to adopt a slower pace of life. Meditation retreats in Lhasa are blissful places where only the sounds of trickling streams and bird songs can be heard. This setting creates a natural aura for relaxation. As you sit in peaceful environments like these, only a few thoughts will be in your mind. This allows you to be present and achieve the self-awareness you have been looking for.
Another place in Asia known for its meditation retreats is the Land of Smiles – Thailand.
Meditation is common practice in Thailand. Mainly because the majority of Thais are Theravada Buddhists, belonging to the oldest school of Buddhism, which focuses on meditation. This makes Thailand the best place to learn how to practice meditation techniques (Shamatha and Vipassana). Thailand also happens to be a charming country full of contrasts.
For example, plan a trip to Thailand’s capital – Bangkok – to watch whizzing whirls of people, and admire competing skyscrapers. It may be difficult to picture finding serenity in a non-stop city of 11 million people. However, with over 400 Buddhist temples, there are plenty of peaceful sanctuaries to be found. When you have explored enough, head to Koh Samui Island. Koh Samui is a tropical paradise with lots to see and experience. Chill out on white sandy shores, refresh yourself under wistful waterfalls and visit ancient temples to learn about Thai culture.
In recent years, mindfulness and meditation workshops have appeared across Koh Samui. Attend one of the many resorts and wellness retreats, such as Koh Samui Kamalaya. Some resorts teach Thai Buddhist Vipassana Meditation which teaches you mindfulness meditation. If you decide to practice this, you’ll help yourself to find inner peace.
Another place that practices Vipassana Meditation is India…
Vipassana Meditation is a 2,500 year old remedy that’s practiced in India through Hindu teachings. Many practice it to quiet the disturbances in their minds and regain a sense of control. In the long term, memories, abstract and creative thinking skills improve.
There are many Vipassana Meditation Centres across India to practice Vipassana Meditation. For instance, spend a couple of days in its megacity Mumbai. You can always shop till you drop. However, to learn more about Mumbai’s past book a walking tour. On route you’ll see a combination of Gothic, Victorian, Indo-Saracenic and Contemporary architecture. Not to mention many traditional temples.
To see a glorious, golden temple head two hours northwest of Mumbai, to the coastal village of Gorai (Dharavi Bhet). Book into a hotel along Gorai Beach and you’ll soon notice The Global Vipassana Pagoda. At almost 100 meters tall and surrounded by tropical palms it may take your breath away. To focus on your breathing go inside where up to 8,000 people at a time can peacefully meditate. The pagoda also houses the relics of religious teacher Buddha.
To find another place for meditation on the coast travel to Greece.
When we think of Greece our thoughts may consist of whitewashed buildings, sandy islands and ancient architecture. However, what’s also existed since the ancient Greek Empire is the practice of meditation.
Today, you’re welcome at many Greek retreats to try meditation for yourself. For example, travel to the Greek island of Lefkada, where a luxury yoga and meditation retreat sits on a breathtaking beach surrounded by turquoise waters. While it is true you can meditate on any beach, the Greek air and sea has many unique health benefits.
Due to where it is situated, Greece is full of exotic vegetation alongside coniferous forests. The forests provide the air with useful elements to help people with respiratory conditions breathe more easily. Also, the Greek islands lay within the Mediterranean Sea, which is high in natural, saturated salts. Thus, taking a dip here will soothe skin conditions because the salty water exfoliates and cleanses our skin to leave it brighter and healthier.
So, during your stay at a Greek meditation retreat you’ll not only learn how to meditate. You’ll come home with beautiful skin and clear lungs after a week in the sea air.
5. Meditation Retreats in Spain
Although Spain is home to rich cultures and traditions (such as Flamenco dancing) it doesn’t have a huge history in meditation. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find somewhere magical to meditate. It’s one of the sunniest destinations in Europe after all. So, escape your usual routine and discover what Spain has to offer.
For instance, stay in a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza and book a guided mindfulness walk to admire the island’s beauty. Along Spain’s south-eastern shore, experience an enchanting yoga retreat in Alicante. Or visit the island of Fuerteventura and go on a hill or volcanic hike. When you reach the top it won’t be hard to find a quiet spot.
Whichever way you choose to meditate – while travelling solo or at an organised retreat – by learning to be aware of your mind and body, you’ll help yourself to make healthier decisions after leaving.
Travel insurance for meditation retreats
The experiences above may contrast with your usual holiday if you usually pack in as many activities as possible – within a short timeframe. However, time spent in the stillness of nature or at a retreat after an energetic few days away will erase holiday burnout before you return home.
To travel with peace of mind after booking time away to meditate take Free Spirit travel insurance.