Immerse Yourself in a Meditation Retreat
“The practice of meditation has been essential to expanding my awareness. I know more clearly who I am, what I really want, and how I really feel. This all leads to making more nourishing food choices and living a life full of meaning and purpose,” says Sarah McLean, director and meditation teacher at the Sedona Meditation Center. After studying extensively and gaining certification with health and wellness guru Dr. Deepak Chopra, Sarah studied on sabbatical in India, learned ayurveda under Dr. John Douillard and worked for Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul before opening her own center in 2001. According to McLean, the best way to learn meditation is at a structured retreat, which can teach you all the basics of how meditation works, as well as how to progress further in your studies.
Travel and Leisure Magazine lately listed their top ten internationalretreats to learn meditation. Topping their list was Ananda in the Himalayas, a stunning 100-acre estate in Uttaranchal, India, which offers sweeping views of the Ganges River, the Himalayan mountain foothills and the temple villages of Rishikesh and Hardiwar. Amenities incorporate a yoga and meditation pavilions, a 21,000 square foot spa, an antique billiards room, a maharajah’s palace, and a tea lounge.
Here, people will be given one-on-one guided meditation tailored to their personal needs. Stretching, yoga, Buddhist meditation teachings and breathing techniques are taught in hour long classes throughout the day. This retreat appeals to all kinds of people, including quite a few luxury travelers who have never been to a spiritual getaway till now.
The Middle Way Meditation Retreat in Loei, Thailand is in a modern compound adjacent to the Phu Ruea National Park, with all its tree-topped mountains and hiking trails. Individuals learn meditation in gardens next to waterfalls and outdoor meditating spaces. Men and women will stay separately in wooden bungalows, adhering to strict religious codes that refrain from killing flies, telling lies or engaging in any type of destructive behavior. Instruction focuses on Dhammakaya meditation, a Tibetan Buddhist practice that involves locating the body’s energy center and tapping into higher consciousness.
A third destination to learn meditation is the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. Located on a 200-acre property surrounding a grand mansion, you’ll find 79 dormitory-style single and double rooms with shared bathrooms, dining facilities, outdoor Buddhist shrines and meditation spaces. For a more intense pilgrimage, you can stay at the Forest Refuge, a long-term retreat center set several miles back into the countryside. The practice here involves Vipassana (insight) and Metta (loving kindness) meditation. You’ll sit and you’ll walk, but your meditative practices will all be done in complete silence. Eventually, through silence, you will find insight and self-awakening.