Going on Your First Meditation Retreat? Here’s What You Need to Know [Tips]
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As the popularity of wellness travelling rises, thousands of travel programs have also emerged to satisfy the high demand. And with more options available, it only gets harder to choose the perfect meditation retreat program, especially for first timers!
That’s why we at BookMeditationReterats.com consulted with the team of panelist at the 2016 Wellness Travel Awards*, to provide some guidance for travelers looking to go on their first meditation retreat.
What should you consider when booking a retreat?
There are four variables that the panelist thing you should pay close attention to: the setting, the intention, the activities and the consistency of the program.
But how can you know if you’re going to decide correctly if you’ve never had this experience? Don’t worry, our experts have your back. Here’s what they have to say:
Choosing the setting
Sara Jones, Managing Director of Spa & Wellness Mexico, says that “There is something for everyone, so decide which kind of wellness travel experience you would like and which destination you prefer first and then search based on those criteria.” In other words, make sure that you truly like the place where the retreat is being held.
Whether it’s the beach, mountain or a city, if you don’t feel comfortable with your enviroment and its ambiance, there is a good chance you won’t feel comfortable enough to get into deep meditation sessions.
Choosing the intention
Anne Dimon, Founder & CEO of TraveltoWellness.com, firmly believes that the right intention can facilitate all the process. “Give some thought to the motivation for the trip and what you would like to accomplish.
Perhaps the goal is to learn to make better food choices, to kick-start a weight-loss program, to reconnect with self or a significant other. Or maybe the intention is to take time to simply be. Once your intention is set, it will be easier to find the right fit for the wellness experience and, consequently, increase the chances of you returning home feeling renewed, reenergized and with an enhanced sense of well-being.”
Carefully review the schedule of the retreat’s program, the description of activities and the teachers that will be there to guide you. If they don’t align with what you want to obtain from your retreat experience, then you should probably look for another option.
Choosing the activities
Beyond the daily meditation sessions, many retreats offer extra activities as spa treatments, yoga lessons, a learning component, cooking classes or options for voluntarism. These are elements that could enhance your time on vacations.
And most importantly, keep in mind your intention so you can immerse in activities that will reinforce it.
“Ask yourself what you want to get out of your wellness experience—what would you like to work on, both internally and externally. How do you want to feel when you leave? Find out all of the details before you go, including how large or small the program, how many guests will be there, the instructors, etc.” recommends Mary Bemis, Editorial Director at InsidersGuidetoSpas.com.
Checking the consistency of the program
Lastly, it’s crucial to do your due dilligence to make sure that everything that is being offered will actually be available during the retreat. As, Stephanie Shiu, Editor-in-chief of AsiaSpa Magazine advices “Read plenty of reviews on what the experience is actually like, as websites always have great photos, but you need to dig a bit deeper when it comes to how comprehensive a program is.”
And it’s important to not only check any review, but check reviews that are relevant for you! “Check reviews from other travelers, for example if you’re going solo, check the feedback from other solo travelers rather than the reviews from couples or families” explains Sara Jones.
In short, ask as many questions as you need to feel reassured that you’re making the right choice so you get to to enjoy every minute of your meditation retreat!