If only there was time!
There doesn’t seem to be room for mindfulness and meditation in between the delicate balancing act you perform daily (involving cleverly juggling home, work, social, and family commitments).
You are an expert at squeezing the most from your life, but sometimes you just want to press pause for a moment. To retreat from the daily grind and just take the tiniest moment to stop and smell the coffee, rather than just gulp it down on your way to the office.
You dream of embarking on your own spiritual journey, of taking a break and losing yourself in the serenity of a yoga retreat.
You imagine soaking up the rays and unwinding by the ocean at one of the many beach retreats, or perhaps you visualise yourself enjoying the peace and tranquillity.
Why fantasise when you can turn your dreams of a well-earned break into a reality?
Time To Retreat
Summer brings with it vibrancy and feelings of warmth – it’s the perfect time to pack a bag and check into a retreat.
You don’t have to be an expert in all things holistic, no-one expects you to launch into the firefly pose and you won’t be expected to spend hours on end repeating a mantra “I will master guided meditation, I will, I will.”
Attending a summer retreat is about taking some time for yourself, it’s about enjoying a massage, going for a long walk and just taking some time to actually think.
Of course, while you are there you can also learn (if you can rouse your mind from it’s restful state).
Many retreats offer activities for all – whether you’re a well-being novice or a fully-fledged devotee to all things healthy.
If you’re a newbie look out for activities specially tailored to you, such as yoga for beginners and meditation for beginners.
Without further ado let’s check a few of the best places to go to re-charge those batteries.
Walk It Off
Walking is not only a great way to exercise but it also blows those cobwebs away. Inhaling fresh, clean air (oxygen) provides your brain with added energy that makes you feel more invigorated through a process called “cellular respiration” (cells in your body use oxygen to break down sugar, producing energy).
We spend far too much time indoors, glued to the laptop, completing endless chores and watching television programs about people watching television programs.
Why, when there is so much more to discover?
Take a look at The Sharpham Trust walking retreat, located on the banks of the River Dart in Devon.
Sharpham combines mindfulness with movement. You can expect to cover around 7 miles each day and will be able to take in the amazing Devonshire countryside as you amble.
The retreat also offers guided meditation, so you can ease your mind following an embracing hike.
Explore Your Potential
Operating for over 40 years, Skyros holidays are veterans in the health and well-being retreat stakes.
There are two venues to choose from, The Skyros Center and Atsisa Bay, both located on the beautiful Greek island of Skyros.
All are welcome and you will be made to feel particularly at home if you are flying solo (there are endless opportunities to form new friendships with likeminded guests).
This is a retreat for those who want to rediscover their passion for life and there’s plenty on offer; for instance, you can write, paint, take photographs, learn to windsurf or stretch out with a spot of yoga.
Afterwards take some time to simply gaze at the sea, the perfect place for contemplation and meditation; quiet your mind and allow the waves to wash over your thoughts. Bliss.
If you are new to the joys of joining a retreat you might feel a bit daunted in case you turn up and find yourself surrounded by yoga gurus and well-being experts who will confound you with their knowledge on the merits of Zazen Meditation.
Have no fear, there are retreats that are designed with the novice in mind.
At the Jivamukti Yoga Retreat in Ibiza, Spain you will spend 7 days in the company of renowned yoga teacher Andrea Everingham.
Here you can participate in yoga for beginners and meditation for beginners, the perfect way to dip your toe into the pool of wellness (under the watchful eye of an expert).
There are daily yoga classes (for intermediate and advanced students as well as newbies) and you can also enjoy sound meditation and an excursion to the local hippy market.
Life’s A Beach
There are beach retreats, and then there’s Surya Samudra in Kovalam, Kerala.
More than just pure white sands and crystal-clear water, Surya Sumudra offers seclusion and comfort, where better to enjoy rest and relaxation by the bucket load?
This place marries tradition and modish design exceptionally well, there are 31 cottages dotted around, providing pretty accommodation that’s shaded by the tropical coconut palms.
You can relax by the infinity pool or spend some time in the Ayurvedic spa – the “spice massage” is particularly rejuvenating. In the evening head to one of two on-site restaurants, both have inspiring views of the Arabian Sea.
Alongside delicious delicacies, India is also synonymous with mystical charm and celebrating your spiritual side. It’s a beautiful country and the perfect place to go if you are seeking some time out from your hectic life.
You can’t get much more spiritual than land that was once used by Native Americans for spiritual rites. On this land sits the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, located in Marin County (which is about an hour from San Francisco).
You can stay for a day, a week or even two months (sometimes you really do need a proper break)!
Meditation is the order of the day here, guests learn how to focus their mind and how to heal their heart and body.
Meditation can help you to see your thoughts more clearly and sharpen your mind.
That said, some people find it tricky to quiet their thoughts – attending a retreat can really help you to gain a sense of perspective and practice freeing your mind.
Free Your Mind And Spirit
Whether you are seeking spiritual enlightenment, the chance to improve your yoga poses, or a massage below a flower-strewn canopy, there’s a retreat for you.
Perhaps it’s time to be your own best friend and take the time to not only smell the coffee but to savour a whole cup.