Whether you want to travel to a far off, exotic destination or find something closer to home, these absolutely blissful retreats will allow you quiet your mind, open your heart and explore the realm of your inner world. Hop on a plane, or journey by car, to escape to an oasis of relaxation and spectacular views.
Ananda in the Himalayas, Uttaranchal, India
Ananda in the Himalayas offers the ultimate meditation retreat on a 100-acre estate with sweeping vistas of the Ganges River and the temple villages of Haridwar and Rishikesh. The property receives an eclectic mix of clientele, ranging from jet-setters looking for comfort and tranquility to serious meditation practitioners. One-on-one guided meditation sessions are tailored to each individual’s needs, possibly incorporating yogic breathing techniques or Buddhist teachings. The sessions can be held outside or indoors, lasting from an hour or an entire afternoon. In addition to meditation and yoga pavilions spread throughout gardens and the former maharajah’s palace, you’ll also find a 21,000-square-foot-spa, a tea lounge and antique billiards room. Rooms, suites and villages are rather lavish, with colors that echo the natural surroundings along with balconies that provide spectacular mountain views.
Spirit Rock, Woodacre, California
Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, an hour north of San Francisco sits upon picturesque lands once used by Native Americans for spiritual rites. The center hosts a full program of daylong and residential retreats as long as two months, as well as ongoing classes, all exploring the themes of meditation and its relation to life in modern society. Founding teacher Jack Kornfeld says, “Some come for healing, either the healing of the heart or the healing of the body. Some come because they are in life transition and need to listen deeply to what is the next thing that is asked of them or how to deal with some great change.”
No matter why they come, the time spent in nature and stillness is like a facelift inside and out. After a week of retreat, he says, guests look 10 years younger – and, their spirit has been renewed.
Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
At this 600-acre retreat in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains about 50 miles northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, guests can create a personal retreat package or register for a variety of programs ranging from “Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” to “The Path of Simply Being” and nature-based programs with an interdisciplinary focus on astronomy. Stay for a month, week or just a weekend, embarking on a journey of self-exploration focusing on mindful living, body awareness or personal transformation. Lodging options include everything from tent platforms providing the chance to immerse yourself in the spectacular surroundings to lodge suites with modern amenities. Eight miles of trails offer the chance to practice active meditation by running, hiking or snowshoeing.
Rolling Meadows, Brooks, Maine
Rolling Meadows offers the chance to do some serious unplugging with a silent meditation and yoga retreat overlooking the hills of coastal Maine for up to 11 participants. Retreats are held throughout the year and are designed to increase awareness and simplify life with a daily schedule of multiple meditation session, yoga and free time between sessions for reflection, solitude and enjoying the beauty of the land. Talking is encouraged during guided sessions that offer the chance to ask questions and talk about how to integrate the experiences into daily life. The property is set across 100 acres and features hiking trails as well as a spring-fed pond for swimming.
Simple Peace, Assisi, Italy
Simple Peace, located in the ancient Umbrian city of Assisi, offers nurturing meditation retreats focused on helping participants connect to peace, beauty and love that emanates from inner stillness. The center sits in the rolling hills overlooking acres of olive groves. Husband and wife team, Bruce and Ruth Davis, lead the weeklong, largely silent meditation retreats where participants of all religious faiths are welcomed. Modest bedrooms are available in a renovated historic Assisi monastery for retreat participants. Each room includes a private bathroom, and all share a verdant garden and terrace with valley views.