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From floating star-gazing to mandala arranging, labyrinthine reflection to shaman ceremonies, the means to relax at resorts and spas are growing more creative and, in some cases, more esoteric. A new type of meditation retreat is emerging around the world, offering menus ranging from beginners' relaxation classes to short-stay intensive programs. The trend is being driven by people reassessing their approach to life in response to global financial pressures, says the German founder of the hospitality group Healing Hotels of the World, Anne Biging.
While Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love and the subsequent film have generated interest in spirituality and mysticism, overwork and everyday stress are driving the demand for relaxation techniques. Despite meditation's austere roots, she sees a place for it in luxury lodgings that offer wellness packages. For those who prefer more than a little pampering, few specialised meditation retreats are as lavish as Ananda in the Himalayas. Less regal but equally impressive are the sleek grounds of Osho Meditation Resort, a couple of hours' drive south-east of Mumbai. A one-day Balinese cultural experience at Four Seasons Resort Bali, at Sayan, begins with meditation, then a temple tour and cooking class. At The Farm on Luzon island in the Philippines, guests learn about the symbolism of mandalas through therapeutic flower-arranging classes, in which petals and leaves are floated in bowls of water. For the archetypal cave experience, at least three retreats have meditation grottos - the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Malaysia, Kamalaya in Koh Samui and the re-named Six Senses Sanctuary Phuket. Musical influences are obvious at one of Thailand's best-known health resorts, Chiva-Som, where visiting consultants lead sound and vibration meditation using harps, bowls and tuning forks. The obvious destination for spa-seeking animal lovers is Anantara Golden Triangle Resort and Spa in northern Thailand. Beginners looking for something simpler will find most health retreats and spas offer introductory classes. Longer group retreats, such as those offered at Como's signature Shambhala Estate in Bali, allow the more committed to deepen and develop their practise. Five- and seven-day specialist meditation retreats are held every couple of months in the Hunter Valley at the Golden Door Health Retreat, Elysia. Elsewhere in Australia, specialist retreats such as Gaia Retreat and Spa near Byron Bay, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland, Lake House in Daylesford, Qualia on Hamilton Island and the new Harmony Hill Wellness Retreat and Organic Spa in Margate, a short drive south of Hobart, offer meditation as part of their regular suite of services. A handful of retreats are introducing meditation into clever spa treatments to enhance relaxation. Further afield, spa-goers at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Rosewood's rustic-luxury resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, prepare for their treatments with a twilight candle ceremony held in an open-air solarium. If all this still sounds like too much effort, consider a new bespoke "sleep-in" and spa treatment package at Bedarra Island Luxury Resort in north Queensland. Spend a day in blissful seclusion while staff deliver provisions to your door, including a gourmet breakfast, barbecue lunch and canapes and champagne at dusk.
Participating in a silent meditation retreat is the surest way to learn mindfulness meditation, to deepen your meditation practice, and to integrate the Buddha’s teachings fully into your life. At the peak of his career, former CEO and Editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine, Phillip Moffitt, traded in his worldly aspirations to explore the inner life. How to Live More Skillfully, Make Better Decisions, and Find Purpose in LifeEmotional Chaos to Clarity can be purchased in bookstores and on the Internet.
Please consider making a donation to Dharma Wisdom to assist us in carrying out our mission of helping individuals live a values-based spiritual life in alignment with Buddhist principles. Since Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) was started in 2003, the number of people utilizing this open source system of full-scope yoga practices has grown steadily around the world. Bli forst att betygsatta och recensera boken Retreats - Fast Track to Freedom - A Guide for Leaders and Practitioners.


Meditation is a powerful method to change our mind from an agitated, uncomfortable state, to a calm, positive and peaceful one. Walking is actually used in many different religions and spiritualities, all of which have their own different names for their walking practices.
Traditionally Zen monks would walk clockwise around the room while holding their hands in a specific position. With their hands in Shashu position, Zen monks would walk slowly around the room, consciously focusing on the movement in their legs. By practicing Zen walking meditation we become more conscious of our bodies and more conscious of movement. I tend to receive a lot of questions on the Facebook and Twitter pages regarding Zen walking meditation. One of the questions I get asked the most as a teacher is “How do you find the time to meditate?” Many people live very busy lives. Another great exercise is to go for a Zen Walking Meditation with the family or with friends. Many go beyond conventional floor-cushion techniques, offering a taste of esoteric practices. This grand estate and restored palace about 260 kilometres north of New Delhi overlooks the Ganges and combines practices such as mantra, candle, sleep and visualisation meditation with fine dining, palatial accommodation and a menu of 80 ayurvedic, oriental and European body and beauty treatments. Visitors wear maroon robes and practise active meditations such as whirling, dancing and archery inside the minimalist complex, which features imposing black marble pyramids and manicured Zen gardens. The latter's cave is large enough for dancing and drumming circles, as well as group chanting, moonlight meditation and sensory meditation.
Guests at the InterContinental Montelucia Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, can practise hour-long "hemi-sync" meditation, which uses audio signals to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain - and, if they dare, they can lose themselves in an outdoor meditation labyrinth.
Trisara villas in Phuket has seaside meditation lessons for beginners, followed up by take-home self-guided CDs. In March the resort will host a six-night specialist retreat with morning sessions, evening talks and discussion groups.
Mindfulness is encouraged during walking, breathing, speaking and eating, combined with top-notch pampering and facilities including a spa, sauna and swimming pool. The W Retreat and Spa Bali, due to open in April, will use meditation as a prelude to its "Bali Bliss" and "Scent Alchemist" massages. In the sensory room of the Ritz-Carlton's Spa Village in Kuala Lumpur, guests are encouraged to explore "sounds, sights, smells, tastes and textures" while its sister resort in Bali has a free signature "starlight-gazing" service. Here are upcoming silent retreats that Phillip Moffitt will be teaching at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and other spiritual centers around the U.S. He subsequently founded the Life Balance Institute and now teaches vipassana meditation with an emphasis on living the dharma in daily life. It has evolved from being primarily an internet resource to a shelf-full of books, and now to increasing "real-world" activities including meditation groups, hands-on training, and retreats organized and run by those who choose to share the knowledge and experiences that come with the effective application of the practices. Through practicing regularly, we shall become happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.
You put your runners, boots, or sandals on and head out the door, and you immediately feel a lift in your chest, an expansion, a freedom.
Personally I love to walk the escarpment by our house down to the lake and take a stroll around there. Smell the air, enjoy the colours of your garden or walking space, use your senses to explore the environment.
It’s best not to think about how fast you are walking, but rather to focus on the meditation itself.


Though Zen Walking Meditation is usually practiced in a meditation garden, it doesn’t have to be. You’re probably used to chatting away with family and friends, but spending some quiet time together and going for a walk is another great way of bonding. Guests are more likely to find themselves perched on an elephant than locked away in contemplation.
Closer to home, the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa recently opened a self-guided meditation walk through subtropical rainforest, designed especially to encourage reflection. Then guests synchronise their breathing with the gait of an elephant while trekking into the rainforest. Children can learn relaxation poses at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles while their parents receive private tuition from a resident yogi. And at Amanjiwo, an ultra-luxe resort near the Buddhist sanctuary of Borobudur, in central Java, Indonesia, a new annual holistic program includes visits to holy sites, individual consultation, reflection, lectures and journal writing. Before the bodywork begins, guests will meditate on special platforms and relax in hot-stone baths. Watching the night sky while floating in a pool and listening to a stirring soundtrack is about as luxurious as star-gazing gets.
This small volume called "Retreats" has been written to provide guidelines for assisting those who wish to organize and implement AYP retreats.
When practicing Zen walking we increase our body mind connection and also become more conscious of what we’re doing with our bodies. This will help you to create a Zen space for meditation in your garden, which you can then use for Zen walking and other meditations. Be aware of the raising of the foot, the leg swinging, the foot returning to ground and then the other foot taking over. You don’t want your meditation practice to interfere with other activities you have going on in the day because then you will feel compelled to rush once you finish your walk (which is, of course, counterproductive). As you relax you will likely slow down more, simply because you are more aware of the process of walking itself. Provided you will have the peace to genuinely get into the meditation, anywhere is usually fine. Thankfully it is possible to incorporate meditation into your everyday life without losing too much time.
If you are on your way to work and know a safe route away from roads, you can leave ten to twenty minutes early and practice Zen Walking Meditation on the way to work. Yoga poses are practised while seated on the elephant's back, followed by a full yoga session in the jungle and a massage. In Cambodia, the traditionally styled La Residence d'Angkor in Siem Reap offers free twice-weekly morning meditation sessions with a monk, and the lush Chedi Club in Bali has free morning meditation with rice-paddy trekking, escorted by a butler.
It is also for those interested in attending retreats for personal benefit and for benefiting the world through the systematic cultivation of Abiding Inner Silence, and its practical applications in daily living. Personally, I find twenty minutes to be a good length of time, but anywhere between ten minutes and an hour is fine. The experience with AYP retreats has been very good, and this book is offered in the hope that many more retreats will be conducted around the world. If you don’t think so, please read my new book: Zen And Now, it will show you precisely how to meditate wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.



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