What To Expect From A Meditation Retreat

 
Person gazing out on a lake
 

There are many expectations and preconceptions surrounding meditation retreats. Social media is awash with images of groups of people meditating before a tranquil ocean, bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun; or beaming at the camera as they prepare to dive into a delicious vegetarian meal.

In reality, the retreat market is huge and varied. You can find something for every type of meditator, whether you’re looking to spend a period of time in absolute silence or learn more about the origins of your practise. In most cases, it’s about disconnecting from 'home life', developing your meditation practice and meditating in a comfortable and safe environment where friendships are formed or renewed.

The meditation retreats I’ve attended as a Vedic Meditator in the UK and in India have been based on careful instruction. They increase the quality and deepen the experience of meditation by teaching new aspects and additional techniques. This also provides the opportunity to explore the knowledge surrounding and underpinning our practice in more depth.

It’s often said that a four day retreat can have the same effect as up to six months of meditation. Vedic Meditation retreats are designed to remove deeply embedded stress, fatigue and counter-productive thought cycles, and to teach you how to take newly learnt techniques and integrate them into your daily practice. These ‘Rounding’ retreats are generally considered to be one of the most effective ways to be introduced to, and maintain, higher states of consciousness.

Rounding retreats comprise three easily learnt and practiced elements: yoga postures (Asanas) designed to stimulate transcendence, special breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation. The combination of these elements produces an ‘industrial strength’ change to your practice, which will stimulate and enhance deep rest, the release of stress and increased consciousness.

In my experience, participants often arrive frazzled and desperate to break a destructive cycle of thought and patterns of behaviour. Spending time with like-minded people in a beautiful place with delicious vegetarian, Ayurvedic food is relaxing and conducive. It also provides a safe and welcoming space within which to talk openly about our meditation practise.  

Generally recommended to students who have been meditating for at least a couple of months, retreats are hugely beneficial. As with many aspects of Vedic Meditation, it is not necessarily the journey we are interested in but the outcome. Every student arrives at the start of a retreat with different life experiences, emotional maturity and results from meditation. How we each approach a retreat is part of the experience.   

Surrendering to whatever the retreat will provide, without setting out with expectations about the content or the results afterwards, is one of the many benefits. Learning to surrender to those days, safe in the knowledge that your teacher has your welfare and development uppermost in mind, provides a great release.

You will be held and supported in a nurturing environment that helps remove embedded stress and fatigue, and allows you to place your attention on achieving transcendence and developing consciousness.


MindMojo Vedic Meditation courses are taught in both London and Brighton. Find all of our upcoming dates introductory talk dates in both cities, and book your free place online here

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Anthony Thompson