Meditation Retreat: Woo Woo or Way Cool?

meditation retreat, meditation practice

Maybe a retreat will help your meditation practice

Meditation is one of the most studied "woo woo" lifestyle choices you can make.  But it can be hard to start a practice so the idea of a meditation retreat might sound appealing to you as a way to jump start or further immerse yourself. Here are some ideas if you decide to  take the plunge.

Types of Meditation

There are a lot of different ways to meditate; some are quite strict, sitting lotus position, even with specific clothing and hairstyles (bald monk in orange robes ringing a bell?).  Some meditation is just simply sitting and breathing and being aware of your surroundings. When you're researching meditation retreats, make sure the type you're signing up for actually appeals to you or it's gonna be a long trip.

Meditation Really Works

While there are a lot of different types of meditation, almost every study that looked at the benefits of the practice found them; everything from lower stress levels to lower blood pressure. Cancer patients have less symptoms during treatments, CEOs can focus better at their jobs, creative types are more creative.  It's actually pretty darned cool what meditation can do.  The question isn't is it too woo woo, the question is why haven't you tried it yet?

Let the Teacher Guide You

You've signed up for your meditation retreat, now let the experts do their job. Even if it seems silly or "dumb," just go with the flow. You might be surprised at what you tap into. I do find I have a hard time dropping into the vibe of meditation some times, so having someone guiding me there certainly has helped in the past.

Unplug if You're Serious

You can't expect to spend the day getting in touch with your inner self and then plop onto a wifi network and begin checking email and social media.  Give yourself time to be away from life and let the teaching that you're getting sink in.  It'll be so much more likely to stay with you when you return home.

Find a Meditation Retreat

If you're new to mediation research, try different types of meditation first. Once you come up with a style that appeals to you, check Google for retreats geared to this type of practice and see what pops up. By all means pick a place for its gorgeous setting, but remember to look at the leaders of the program too. Make sure they jibe with what you'd like to accomplish. While I've done a fitness retreat, a hiking retreat, and quite a few weekends at a spa, I've never done a meditation retreat, but I'm eyeing one at Kripalu in a few weeks and I can't wait to give it a go. How about you?  Have you ever done a heavy chunk of meditation work?  I'd love to here how you did. Cheers, Lisa  

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.


2 Responses to Meditation Retreat: Woo Woo or Way Cool?

  1. Tammy November 29, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    For me, meditation is in the same category as my foam roller: I feel better after doing it, but it is rare when I do so.

    I have looked in to meditation retreats before, but the woo woo factor was just too great. I want to believe that just going somewhere without internet access and cell phone signal would be sufficient, but part of me knows that having a guide in the process would be good for me.

    Please let us know if you end up going. It might be the push I need to take that leap myself.

  2. Stacey Shipman November 30, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    I’ve been to meditation programs at Kripalu and elsewhere. Depending on the instructor will depend on the level of “woo woo”. And at the same time I wish society would stop thinking of it as “woo woo”. It’s a practice that many can benefit from.

    Meditation is a practice that can not only improve health, productivity and creativity, more and more research is being published about how it changes your brain function for the better.

    I can’t begin to tell you how meditation has helped me – focus, increase compassion and empathy, improve body image, boost confidence, do better work. To name a few.

    Meditation also became a practice in feeling comfortable in my own skin. When you “like yourself” you have an easier time getting along with others.

    And I just spent a weekend at Kripalu. I can’t wait to go back. It’s very relaxing – they take care of everything for you. Enjoy it if you go!

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