Being healthy isn’t just about what you eat, or how much you exercise, it’s about de-stressing and keeping your mind and spirit healthy. Busy schedules, angry politicians and day-to-day problems can cause multiple issues for your body and brain, take some time to unwind and find some inner peace at one of these nature-driven spiritual retreats.
Shambhala Mountain Center
If the high altitude and fresh mountain air at this 40-year old retreat nestled in the Colorado Rockies doesn’t slow your mind down, nothing will. Find yourself again as you hike along one of the eight miles of trails carved out in 600 acres of pristine forest and rolling hills. Meditation instruction, yoga classes and healing workshops will calm your mind and invite inner peace into your heart. Learn to control your breathing with the Taoist practice of qigong, which will bring a new vitality into your life. Families and couples are welcome at this Colorado retreat, but going alone could be just what you need.
Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat
Organic gardens, wildflowers and the scent of wild herbs drifting over 154 acres of wildlife sanctuary in the Willamette National Forest of the Oregon Cascades will calm even the most restless soul. Slow down and soak in a meadow pool lined with smooth river rocks or in one of four hot tubs in a cedar cabin, steam rising from the natural springs below, clearing your head. If you need to purge your soul, step into the sweat lodge for the monthly Inipi Ceremony. This rustic, off-the-grid retreat offers more than 20 miles of trails through ancient forests. When you return from a day of hiking, toss your clothes and boots for a healing massage and shut down your inner voices.
Sequoia Retreat Center
Explore the meaning of life amongst the California Redwoods, some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world, hidden in the woods of Santa Cruz. This retreat is only 45 minutes from Silicon Valley, yet worlds away. After enjoying an award-winning organic dinner, sleep deep under the towering Sequoias in tiny wooden cabins with moss-covered roofs. Meander through the trails and reflect on your life surrounded not by computers and traffic but by the sounds of silence.
Kripal Center for Yoga & Health
Practice your Pranayama breathing on the private beach of Lake Mahkeenac in the stunning, rural Berkshires. Heal your mind or your soul at this Massachusetts retreat, which is also a school of yoga and Ayurveda—a 5,000-year-old form of natural healing. Wake up and salute the sun with a yoga class or take a retreat workshop and listen to a lecture on how to balance your life. Hike the rugged trails where the Mohicans once called home and later treat yourself to a sauna and a massage. Sleep well in simple, yet elegant rooms filled with total silence.
New Camaldoli Hermitage
Rediscover your spirituality at this retreat run by Camaldolese monks, who are silent except when helping you in the bookstore. You might think that you are in heaven when you wake from your humble room situated high on a rocky cliff and look out at the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California. Meditation and self-reflection start at sunrise and you have the entire day to spend learning about yourself and reflecting on who you want to be when you return home. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, the twisted trees formed by the harsh winds and the serenity of the silent monks can only be found at this unpretentious retreat.