Choosing the best spiritual retreat to attend is an incredibly personal decision. Here are the most popular types of retreats and what to expect at each!
At a spiritual retreat, your days will be focused inward, with the intent of strengthening the relationship between your body, mind, and soul.
Thankfully, with the popularity of wellness retreats on the rise, finding the perfect spirituality retreat to suit your needs is easier than ever. When choosing a retreat, it’s important to not only consider the topic of the retreat, but also where the retreat will be held, the activities and amenities provided, and your personal motivation for attending.
These are some of the most popular forms of spiritual retreats, what you need to know before attending each one, as well as reasons why you should attend a spiritual retreat!
How to Choose the Best Spiritual Retreat for You
Why Go On a Spiritual Retreat?
To Unplug and Relax
Sometimes the best medicine is to simply unplug from everyday life and unwind.
Depending on the type of spiritual retreat you attend, key components will be sitting in stillness, learning how to relax, and letting go of any ego blocks that keep you from peace in your day-to-day. In our culture of constant go-go-go, truly relaxing and unplugging is harder than ever, and attending a spirituality retreat can help you restore balance to your life.
To Work Through Something
Big or small, if you have an issue that you want to work on, attending a spiritual retreat is an awesome way to do it. To work through an issue at a retreat, set an intention for the retreat, and allow any feelings surrounding that issue to come forward during your sessions.
Chances are you already have the answers you seek, but sometimes you need a little guidance to see things in a new light.
To Seek Clarity
Like working through a problem, spirituality retreats are great if you’re looking for clarity. Spending time with yourself, working through any mental blocks, and understanding what’s in your heart are all key components of spiritual retreats.
To Connect With Yourself
No matter what roles we play in life — whether that be employee, daughter, son, parent, partner, friend, or entrepreneur — we can easily get caught up in giving so much of ourselves to other people that we forget to check-in and connect with ourselves.
No matter what kind of spiritual retreat you choose to attend, the goal is to understand and forge a deeper connection with yourself.
Types of Spiritual Retreats
Plant Medicine Retreats
For thousands of years, various indigenous Amazonian communities have been holding plant-based psychoactive medicine ceremonies. These ceremonies act as a way to expand consciousness, heal mental blocks and traumas, connect with nature, and further spiritual growth.
Today, the ceremonies often take the form of spiritual retreats, and use the substance Ayahuasca and aid the user in taking a deep dive into their healing.
Personally, I participated in my first Ayahuasca retreat in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains, during which I experienced very intense sessions of healing and spiritual healing. An experienced Shaman guided our Ayahuasca ceremonies, and the people working at the retreat did everything to make the participants feel safe and connected.
When you take the Ayahuasca, your body’s first reaction will be most likely to purge and, when that happens, it’s as though all of your personal walls and barriers are being torn down with it. However, once that is through, you’ll experience an intense healing session. In fact, taking Ayahuasca has been described as “100 hours of therapy in one moment.”
What to Know Before Going on a Plant Medicine Retreat
Ayahuasca retreats are most popular in Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil, due to their long traditional histories of Ayahuasca culture, and the legalities of brewing the substance.
Ayahuasca retreats are incredibly intense, medicinal endeavors and the substance is not one to be taken recreationally. Look inward and find out the root causes of your attraction to Ayahuasca. If you want to go on the retreat for healing purposes, then the retreat is for you, but I don’t recommend the experience as a quick decision.
Read more: How Ayahuasca Changed My Life
Popular all over the world, meditation retreats are excellent whether you’re new to meditation or you want to further your practice. Days on meditation retreats often start early and, as indicated in the description, are filled with hours of meditative activities. In addition to standard meditation, I’ve seen activities such as nature walks, candle sessions, and guided meditations.
Meditation retreats tend to vary greatly and, chances are, you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs and expectations. In searching for the best meditation retreat for you, you’ll find that some include complete silence, workshops, and even excursions.
Whichever branch of meditation retreat you choose, I always find that they’re an excellent way to take time away from the distractions of everyday life. In most of these retreats, electronics and outside stimuli are frowned upon, giving you the focus you need to fully engage in your practice and experience spiritual growth.
What to Know Before Going on a Meditation Retreat
In participating in Meditation retreats, you’ll quickly realize that despite others being in the room, the experience will largely be a solitary one. By the very nature of meditation, you’ll be forced to confront every aspect of your mind, and spending time in this state is not always comfortable, and is not something to take lightly.
If you want a retreat that will help strengthen your connection to your body, then practicing yoga at a retreat is for you. Days on yoga retreats generally consist of 2 – 3 classes a day and are often spent focusing on a specific form of the practice, whether its Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Ashtanga, or Bikram Yoga.
Yoga retreats tend to focus on balance in every way, with the meals being well-rounded and healthy (often with vegetarian meals as an option), and the schedule giving you ample downtime to restore your body and mind.
This kind of retreat often blends yoga and meditation, offers retreats around the world, and will enhance your spiritual practice.
What to Know Before Going on a Yoga Retreat
Yoga retreats come in different shapes and sizes, with some being more intensive and focusing on the practice itself, some paired with an exotic location and adventure activities, and some more geared toward spiritual healing and overall wellness. Before you sign up, make sure you read the fine print and understand exactly what is offered with each personalized retreat.
Additionally, while being a Yoga master isn’t a requirement for a retreat, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the key poses, the different types of yoga, and what to expect in a typical class.
Spending time in nature is a well-known way to deepen your spirituality. Nature, and being one with it, can have a profound healing effect on those open to it.
There are a few different types of nature retreats. There are ones in which you go out into the wilderness for a few days, hiking and camping while learning to survive in the wild. Then, there are nature retreats in which you visit retreat centers surrounded by gorgeous scenery; all the while attending workshops and going on day hikes. Finally, there are eco-retreats in which participants give back to mother nature in some way, such as by planting trees.
The nature retreat experience is perfect for anyone wanting the kind of mental rejuvenation that only fresh air can bring.
What to Know Before Going on a Nature Retreat
While there are nature retreats that will keep you in more or less one locale, the majority of them are rather active require at least a moderate level of physical fitness. Keep this in mind while gearing up for your retreat to prevent injury or burn-out.
While many retreats focus on quieting the mind, building a relationship with the body, or spending time in nature, creative retreats do things a little differently – they exist to inspire you, teach you new skills, and find new people with which to collaborate.
There are different types of creative retreats that cater to all mediums, but what each of these retreats has in common is that the people who go on them are looking to enhance their creative flow, explore their life’s purpose, and deepen their relationship with their higher selves. Being creative is inherently a form of wellness, and the feeling of accomplishment and release that one feels through the act of creating can be intense. This is the basis on which so many creative retreats are built.
What to Know Before Going on a Creative Retreat
Different creative retreats cater to various mediums, so if you have a specific form in which you’d love to further discover (such as photography, or painting), then choose a creative retreat that includes that medium.