Meditation Retreat: Woo Woo or Way Cool?

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 breathingand 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.