If you’re feeling overwhelmed by life’s seemingly endless babble of conversation and chatter, it might be time to get away from it all. Esalen was founded in the groovy ‘60s in order to explore what author Aldous Huxley called “human potentialities.” In many ways, it became the center of what is now thought of as the New Age movement.
The meditation practices at Springwater Center — which is located on 220 acres about an hour south of Rochester, NY — originally had their basis in the teachings of Zen Buddhism but subsequently evolved beyond that. Head to the dense forests of southwestern Washington state to find Cloud Mountain for retreats designed to explore the three pillars of Buddhism: ethical and moral behavior, generosity of giving, and the cultivation of wisdom. Located on 355 acres of mountain-topped redwood forest overlooking California’s Monterey Bay, Mount Madonna Center hosts a variety of opportunities for individuals looking to quiet their minds.
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Group Energization Exercises which were originated by Paramahansa Yogananda and are taught through the Self-Realization Fellowship home study lessons.
Away from the chaos of a busy city whose daily needs drain a person of his balance, a retreat is an occasion that helps mankind to kindle the link between his life and spiritual revelation. The retreat activities included morning and evening energization exercises, morning & evening long group meditations, along with the provision of watching audio and video screenings of various inspirational SRF teachings.
The observation of strict silence for a few days helped in anchoring the mind into its true state of being.
All facilities provided at the retreat were conducive to extracting maximum benefit out of the time spent there.
PachaMama holds several kinds of retreats, silent retreats, cleanse retreats and yoga retreats as well as self retreats. Treating oneself to a colon cleanse and liver flush can help to jump start the body into a more wholesome eating routine, the restaurant and wild treats help to support the cleansing process and transition to healthier eating.
The meditative atmosphere in PachaMama during meditation retreats, gives a feeling of being supported and held both physically and emotionally, creating a space to totally relax and not have to worry about preparing meals or other duties that occupy time in daily life. There are several therapists, whom have a great deal of experience, and offer sessions on a daily basis, these sessions can be really supportive for any process that is happening on a physical and emotional level, one can touch vulnerable spaces very quickly here, and these body workers are sensitive to these conditions. Coming up April 14–17, the Garrison Institute will encourage members of our community to embrace silence, contemplation and action to delve into what is unfolding in our bodies, hearts and minds. Situated on 27 acres of California’s spectacular Big Sur coastline, Esalen is not only a retreat center but also an educational institute and intention-driven community that’s part of a worldwide network for people exploring spiritual possibilities.

Today, their retreat formats include timed sittings, morning talks, short work periods where guests assist in preparing meals and cleaning up, and time spent appreciating nature, including the Center’s miles of walking trails, picturesque streams, rolling meadows, lush forests and a quiet reflecting pond. The Center is 600 acres of lush forests, rolling meadows and, of course, those famous rocky peaks. Most retreats at the center are held in silence; they range in duration from days-long beginner retreats to experiences for experienced meditators that can continue for several weeks.
Their “Vipassanna” weekend retreats focus on a form of insight meditation described by the Buddha. It is a 3-day retreat from the Friday evening meal until Monday after lunch, with an option to stay for 2 days only. Paramahansa Yogananda said, “Music is a divine art, to be used not only for pleasure but as a path to God-realization.
The fragrance of lush trees tickled my spirit while entering Hartzar Park, 1.5 hours out of Sydney, for a 3 day SRF retreat. Each service was conducted with utmost devotion and aspiring affirmations for one’s spiritual advancement. The Romanesque architecture of the chapel overlooking the vast green fields helped to provide an environment satiated with calmness and natural magnificence. And I felt better equipped to endeavour again in my daily responsibilities, with a fresh outlook, faith and gratitude towards God. This scenery just by its own nature provokes and inspires, making PachaMama one of the most ideal places to retreat in Costa Rica, allowing a much needed pause from the normal activities of daily life. Each of the retreats stand alone but the combination of them which takes place in PachaMamas transformation cycle is a unique opportunity for a life-changing experience.
A cleanse retreat is offered as a group schedule or alternatively privately if the timing is not right. Mind and body retreats are offered here in PachaMama, with daily yoga and other therapeutic workshops, self retreats are especially done during the rainy season; it is during this time that there is the opportunity to dive into aloneness surrounded by the peaceful and comforting sound of the rain, and the vibrant green of the forest, while at the same time being able to join the daily meditations.
We checked out six such destinations offering programs for both beginners and more seasoned practitioners.
The Institute is not-for-profit, non-sectarian, and located about an hour north of New York City on a beautiful 77,000–square foot former Capuchin monastery with enough space for groups of 175 people. They recently hosted a New Year’s Silent Meditation Retreat, which was meant to allow participants to focus inward, connect with themselves and discover life goals and personal intentions for the year ahead.

Shambala’s seven-day mindfulness meditation retreat is co-sponsored by the Center of Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society.
It is meant to help practitioners develop wisdom, compassion and peace by learning to be mindful of the present moment and discover “the path to happiness.” These retreats include meditation instruction, silent sitting meditations, walking meditations and unique dharma talks. For more great articles like this, subscribe here or download Metrosource for iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle. Vibrations resulting from devotional singing lead to attunement with the Cosmic Vibration or the Word. The vegetarian meals prepared by nuns were scrumptious, they were light and supported the physical attribute of meditation.
As Paramahansa Yogananda said, “On the doors of silence I knocked loudly with my persistent blows of faith, and the doors of space opened.
Living and working in the cities takes its toll, PachaMama is built on 220 hectares giving a feeling of spaciousness, the set up has been carefully planned so the buildings are surrounded by and look out on forest and tropical plants, some of the accommodations have sea views, further enhancing the retreat atmosphere.There are several Costa Rica retreats available, each with their own uniqueness, however PachaMama has a simpler style than other retreat centers in Costa Rica and to that matter, than other retreats centers in the world, in that the retreats are taking place in a community of likeminded people, who have lived here for some years and who maintain a daily group meditation, and a healthy lifestyle.
They may provide the very first vacation where you’ll never once worry about a lull in conversation at the dinner table. It’s an immersive, teacher-led silent meditation based on mindfulness-based stress reduction principles developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Quiet walks on the property feature a small lake, a fish pond, and visits from black-tailed deer, raccoons, and blue herons depending on the season. Despite the center’s title — as far as we know — our favorite Material Girl hasn’t gotten her Shanti on there yet.
The week includes instruction, individual interviews, talks by teachers, and guided sessions of meditation practice, movement exercises and mindful eating. This is a good opportunity to give the body a break from coffee, smoking and other damaging habits.

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