When it comes to getting healthy it’s not just about going to the gym or stocking your pantry with healthy foods. Sometimes getting healthy involves taking care of your mind and spirit as well. Meditating is the perfect way to get your mind and body in sync and silent retreats are the perfect place to chill out, test your mental willpower and get into your zone. They say silence is going and these 3 retreats speak louder than words. Check out a few of our faves!
Insight Meditation Society
This 200-acre property—some of it rural, most of it wooded—surrounds a grand old mansion in central Massachusetts. Here, the Indian Buddhist traditions of vipassana (insight) and metta (loving kindness) form the backbone of daily life at IMS retreats; in practice, this involves a combination of seated and walking meditation—all of it in silence.
Shambhala Mountain Center
Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
The 600 pristine acres of Shambhala spread across a Rocky Mountain valley in the northern part of Colorado. The property boasts extensive botanical gardens, a bird sanctuary, several spacious meditation halls, and, most dramatically, the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, a traditional spired Buddhist shrine. The program at Shambhala ranges from week-long “Learn to Meditiate” retreats to multi-week intensive study for advanced practitioners; there are also specialized workshops for children, painters, and writers, and those who prefer to combine meditation with activities like canoeing and hiking.
At Simple Peace meditation sessions are held in the Assisi East-West Center, a serene vaulted space near the Cathedral of San Ruffino (a former 12th-century courthouse that Simple Peace founders Ruth and Bruce Davis renovated in 2000). Other meditation sessions take place in nearby monasteries, and outdoors in the surrounding countryside. The Davises (who are husband and wife) bring together precepts of Western and Eastern spirituality in their retreats. Bruce, a scholar in the teachings of St. Francis, leads weeklong, largely silent meditation retreats both in Assisi and in the Rieti Valley (two hours south), where the saint first discovered his calling. Ruth, a longtime student in Eastern meditation-in-motion practices, enriches the silent sessions with guided Tai Chi and “sacred movement” rituals.