Sometimes it is just nice to venture to a far off place, explore and relax, whilst eating good food and breathing in a different air – but what if you could venture to a place where your mind’s noise and distractions are taken even farther to a place of deep serenity and calm – that is, if you can focus and find it. This month, The Sybarite focuses on finding your inner Zen, through some of these unique destinations around the world.
Ananda in the Himalayas
The name sounds intriguing enough but this destination spa located in the tranquil Himalayan foothills is a place of spirituality. This haven offers a variety of meditation, yoga and healing experiences for the body and mind, such as a Visiting Masters and Retreats program, which is essentially made up of workshops and private sessions with visiting Masters in different areas of wellbeing. Then there are Vedanta classes, enabling one to attain the rare combination of material prosperity and mental peace. The knowledge helps achieve physical dynamism, mental equilibrium and intellectual clarity and directs one to the goal of ultimate liberation – Spiritual Enlightenment. A full list of the retreat’s meditation packages can be found on their website.
The uniqueness of Ananda is its spectacular setting enabling the individual to truly be in a place of calm and collectedness. Menus are also taken into consideration according to body type, emphasizing on whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy. You can be assured you will be well taken care of in this exceptional retreat
San Francisco Zen Center
For a more focused approach to meditation is a center – the largest Buddhist sanghas outside Asia – that specializes in Buddhist practices of the Japanese Soto Zen tradition situated in Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. The retreat offers training in Zen meditation based on the example of Buddha and guided by the teachings of the Soto School.
The center is situated in Marin County, which looks out into the vast Pacific Ocean and offers an extensive list of classes and programs to its students. Besides meditation, the center also offers its guests meditative accommodation replete with trees and foliage just 10 miles north of San Francisco. For practicing guests, the center offers a 3-night program for $60 per day where you can expect to attend meditation practices in the morning and work with the community till noon, with the rest of the days free to do as you please.
For those really looking to sink in to meditation and wanting to attain more knowledge on the subject, Osho, who has been described by the Sunday Times in London as ““1000 Makers of the 20th Century” is the founding father if his own institute located in Pune, India.
The OSHO International Meditation Resort is a center for meditation based on the qualities of a Gautama and Buddha and offer accommodation in their guest houses – or if you plan on staying for longer, Living In Programs ranging from 30 days to 14 days and include courses and participation to activities. Note that food and extras are not included.
This meditation sanctuary is suited for the individual looking to immerse themselves in OSHO’s meditative lessons and gaining an understanding through the experience.
Kamalaya Koh Samui
Whisk yourself to Thailand’s Koh Samui and from there make your way to Asia’s award winning wellness sanctuary and holistic spa.
Founded by John and Karina Stewart who had combined their past decades of spiritual studies in a Himalayan community and their background in Asian healing and spiritual traditions, they built the concept of Kamalaya – optimal wellbeing of body, mind and spirit.
Perched like a self-contained village and surrounded by luscious greenery, Kamalaya opens its doors to a select choice of wellness programs, from detox, stress and burnout, yoga to tailor-made programs where a professional health practitioner will create a program suited to your needs, this is an environment you’d want to be whisked away to. One can expect to come out of Kamalaya feeling a sense of invigoration and ease, ready to return to the real world.
Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India
For a more immersive take on meditation – and not your typical getaway – there is an option to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings, imparted by His Holiness.
Attending the Dalai Lama’s talks are a bit of a challenge as one will need to register personally at the Tibetan Branch Security Office, as there is no advanced registration service. As thousands are expected to attend, it is advised to arrive 2 to 3 days prior to the teachings; therefore one will need to sort out their accomdation well in advance. Seating is also on a first-come first-serve basis and talks will be given with attendees sitting on the ground. The conventional practice amongst Tibetans is that you take your seat on the first day of a series of teachings, mark it with your cushion or piece of cloth, and thereafter, keep to that same seat for the duration of the teachings.
Although not your conventional meditate getaway, hearing the Dalai Lama impart wisdom amongst yourself and thousands of others might prove to be an experience unmatched.