New Year’s Resolution: How to Join a Meditation Retreat
Is your New Year’s resolution to meditate more? A meditation retreat is the perfect way to jumpstart a practice. Here’s how to sign up—and what to pack.
Of all the wholesome endeavors on your New Year’s resolutions list, meditation might be one of the most beneficial. Studies suggest that meditation can reduce stress, improve sleep, and lower blood pressure. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran hoping to deepen your practice, a meditation retreat is a great way to jumpstart your New Year’s resolution.
For something so simple, learning to meditate can be challenging. While you can start a practice at home, a meditation retreat is an opportunity to practice the technique with the guidance of a teacher so you feel comfortable taking it home.
What’s more, a meditation retreat allows you to focus on your meditation practice away from the many distractions of daily life. Everyone’s experience is different, but many students report seeing results after one course. Even if you don’t experience a major revelation, a retreat is a valuable chance to unplug and recharge for the year ahead.
How to Find a Meditation Course
People have been meditating for thousands of years, but the practice has recently seen a surge in popularity. Today, it’s possible to find a wellness retreat for almost any time frame, destination, and price point.
If you’re looking for a cushy place to practice, many luxury hotels and high-end wellness centers offer meditation retreats. Some plush options are Ananda in northern India, Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand, and COMO Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos. Guests can typically customize their program, choosing a rigorous schedule or a more relaxing itinerary with more spa and pool time built in.
Another option is to register for a meditation course at a private meditation center. These centers often host workshops led by prestigious teachers. Options include Plum Village in southern France, Kripalu in western Massachusetts, and Ala Kukui in Hawaii. These centers typically offer work exchanges and scholarships to help offset costs.
While you can always pay more for amenities, meditation is inherently free. There are many organizations committed to keeping meditation accessible to everyone. One group is the Vipassana Meditation Center. These courses are totally donation-based. At the end of the course, students are asked to make a donation to fund the nest meditators’ course. The organization has over 180 centers in India, Thailand, Canada, Australia, the U.S., and more.
How to Pack for a Meditation Retreat
As meditation is all about simplicity, packing for a retreat is refreshingly easy. There’s no need to plan your outfits, as your only job is to be as comfortable as possible. Pack plenty of loose-fitting pants and layers. You’ll want to bring an alarm clock for meditation practice and maybe a thermos for hot tea.
Keep your morning routine easy by packing light. A compact 40L backpack will offer just the right amount of space. Keep everything in its place with a set of packing cubes—these convenient organizers will help you tell your t-shirts from your yoga pants before your sunrise sessions.
Whether you have a bathroom of your own or you’re sharing with other students, make sure you have easy access to your toiletries. This hanging toiletry kit makes any bathroom—no matter how much counter space you have—feel like home.
Does your meditation retreat have a yoga element, too? Check out Eagle Creek’s guide with 14 Things To Pack For a Yoga Retreat.