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Whenever you settle into a new habit that you enjoy, it’s easy to make it a part of your daily routine. Take yoga and meditation, for example. When the practice clicks, it can be hard to imagine going a few days without doing it.
However, once you get to a certain point, you might find yourself wanting to take what you’re already doing one step further—to deepen and up-level your practice. That’s often when a yoga or meditation retreat comes in. After all, sometimes you have to step away from your daily life to take your practice to the next level.
Adreanna Limbach, head teacher at MNDFL meditation studio in New York City, can relate. She points out that that the purpose of a retreat is to deepen your practice, which in turn offers you a deeper understanding of the benefits of meditation practice—more clarity, more ease, more insight, more emotional resilience
“A number of years ago I was on retreat in Colorado, and I realized all of the worries, uncertainty, a challenges I had been applying so much effort to ‘solve’ and ‘figure out’ very naturally became clear to me over the course of a few days of solid practice,” says Limbach. “It was like the mental equivalent of watching delicate jewelry gently untangling itself.”
Limbach says she finds meditation retreats that remove her from city living and take her into nature are the most beneficial. “Not only does it help me to disarm and shed my city skin,” she says, “but I’m also a firm believer that sometimes we need to give ourselves some space away from our habitual thoughts and behaviors—and the environments that created them—in order to untangle our patterns and see them clearly.”
Whether you just started dabbling with meditation or you’ve been meditating for years, we’ve rounded up some of the best meditation retreats in 2019—led by some of the world’s most experienced meditation teachers. With everything from weekend retreats to more intense, week-long experiences, here’s hoping you find the experience that will take your meditation practice to the next level.
Open Heart, Clear Mind: A Week-Long Meditation Retreat
When: March 15 – 23, 2019
Where: Shambala Mountain Center
Teachers: Susan Piver, Buddhist teacher and NY Times bestselling author of nine books, Kevin Townley, Interdependence Project graduate and teacher at MNDFL in New York, and Crystal Gandrud, meditation teacher and co-founder of Lionheart Press
If you have been swimming in the meditation pool for some time but feel a little lost, this retreat will give you the deep dive that you’re looking for. With the support of three teachers, you will spend a majority of your time in sitting and moving meditation, resting, and embracing the natural beauty that surrounds Shambala Mountain Center. Susan Piver is known for helping students establish a lasting meditation practice, so expect to walk away with helpful tips.
Starting at $520, shambalamountain.org
Mindfulness & Compassion in the Modern World
When: March 29 – April 5, 2019
Where: Won Dharma Center, Claverack, NY
Teachers: Lodro Rinzler, co-founder of MNDFL Meditation studios and award-winning author of six books, and Adreanna Limbach the Head Teacher at MNDFL meditation studios as well as a personal development coach for women
In deep need of a re-charge? Feeling stale in your meditation practice? Join meditation teachers and Buddhist authors Adreanna Limbach and Lodro Rinzler for an immersive week of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation to deeply center yourself, open your heart, and dive deep into The Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path.
Starting at $1055, adreannalimbach.com
Real Love, Know Yourself
When: April 12 – 14, 2019
Where: 1440 Multiversity, Scotts Valley, CA
Teacher: Sharon Salzberg, is a world-renowned meditation teacher, New York Times best-selling author, and co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society who has played a monumental role in bringing meditation and mindfulness to the West.
For those of you that don’t know, Salzberg is the queen of loving kindness meditation. So, if you’re seeking self-love—or have a strong desire to practice more compassion through all of your relationships—this meditation retreat may be for you. Through exploration of valuable life lessons, such as moving away from judgments or self-condemning thoughts, you will leave with tangible takeaways that you can apply to your everyday relationships—the good and the bad.
Starting at $360, 1440.org
Loving Awareness: A Commuter Retreat for Experienced Meditators
When: May 10 – 12, 2019
Where: Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA
Teachers: Jack Kornfield, international meditation teacher and founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and Trudy Goodman Kornfield, the senior Vipassana teacher in Los Angeles.
This three-day retreat is an opportunity for experienced meditators (you must have a regular meditation practice for four or more years to attend) to up-level their practice. Jack Kornfield is one of the key teachers responsible for bringing Buddhist mindfulness practices to the West. (Read: He’s kind of a big deal.) He trained as a Buddhist monk and has taught meditation internationally since 1974. He also played a huge part in opening of Spirit Rock, which has become a hub for popular meditation retreats. This meditation retreat will incorporate sitting, walking, and guided meditation to help quiet the mind and open the heart. If you can’t attend, there will be a livestream available. (More information on what the livestream will entail will be posted in the next few months.)
Starting at $270, spiritrock.org
Your Practice, Your Life: A Weekend Retreat at Kripalu
When: July 5 – July 7, 2019
Where: Kripalu, Stockbridge, MA
Teacher: Elena Brower, author, yoga teacher, speaker, and best-selling author
This weekend retreat features more than non-stop meditation. Through meditation as well as Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, you’ll learn skills for improving the relationships with yourselves and others. Brower highlights in all of her work that meditation is the foundation for eliminating stress and learning how to appreciate yourself and your mission. You can expect this mini-retreat to help you get to know (and fall in love with) yourself.
Starting at $295, kripalu.org
The Journey Inward: A Meditation and Ecstatic Breathwork Retreat
When: August 11 – August 16, 2019
Where: 1440 Multiversity, Scotts Valley, CA
Teacher: Scott Schwenk, master coach and meditation teacher
This 5-day meditation retreat features Tantric meditation, Ecstatic Breathwork practice, and empowered mantra practice to help you go deeper into meditation and expand what you know about your practice and self-development. Even if these practices are unfamiliar to you, think of Tantric meditation as way to combine movement, breath, sound, and meditation to help you let go of the past and discover tools to find joy in the present moment.
Starting at $420, 1440.org
Discovering Freedom: Labor Day Meditation Weekend
When: August 20 – September 2, 2019
Where: Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA
This silent weekend retreat features insight and lovingkindness meditations as an entry point for diving deep into the teachings of Buddhist philosophy. If you’re curious about the concepts of Buddhism, these are the teachers to learn from.
Starting at $290, dharma.org