Each year, millions of people across the globe withdraw from their frenetic lifestyles for a week or two in an attempt to rest, rejuvenate, and recoup. These getaways range from family holidays to adventure trips to secluded exotic retreats.
However, after a year's hard work when the time comes to pick the perfect holiday option, we often find people bolting off to their favorite travel destinations without realizing that they will probably still be on 24/7 holiday management duty during this time off.
Such vacations undermine the fundamental purpose of a holiday—to relax and recharge. However, as opposed to a vacation, which is quite simply a time off from everyday routine, retreats are purposeful getaways that are aimed at rescuing you from an undesired or unpleasant situation and whisking you off to an exotic location to heal in that particular respect.
Retreats offer everything including spiritual healing, fitness through meditation or yoga, family or marriage counselling, and much more. Outlined below are seven reasons for you to opt for a retreat over a regular vacation.
1. Retreats Have Long-Term Benefits
In addition to offering you an escape from a tiresome routine, retreats set themselves apart from mere vacations due to the specific intent behind them. This intent can be an issue that you wish to focus on but don't get time for, a recent experience that you want to reflect on or talk about with people who understand what you're going through, the quest for some distance from your current situation to think clearly and bring things into perspective, or simply quality time with yourself and nature so you can rejuvenate.
To quote the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti, a famous spiritual leader, "I think it is essential sometimes to go into retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely and look at them anew, not keep on repeating like machines whether you believe or don’t believe. You would let fresh air into your minds."
Moreover, all aspects of retreats—including location, accommodation, food, facilities, professional consultation, and activities/exercises—are all in line with what you are seeking to achieve; hence, the benefits of retreats are much more impactful and long-lasting as opposed to vacations where you are more apt to binge, gossip, and probably still spend time finishing work.
According to a research study published in Translational Psychiatry (Nature), simple vacations only bring about short-term improvements in well-being; however, a week's meditation can improve metabolism for the long-run.
Moreover, yoga retreats are known to provide relief to patients of respiratory problems, anxiety, bone thinning, high blood pressure, arthritis, incontinence, and rheumatism, along with several other ailments.
2. Retreats Provide Peace Away from Your Daily Routine
Retreats are aimed at providing you the solitude you need. This can be complete solitude as with individual and silent retreats, with your spouse or partner as with marriage retreats, or in the form of groups as with yoga and Ayurvedic retreats.
Wellness retreats are usually situated in secluded and serene locations that present the perfect platform for you to forget about the hustle and bustle of life and let your nerves relax. However, regular vacations can be taken anywhere that need not necessarily be in a quiet and calm locality. Moreover, retreats also offer a plethora of other activities that quench your thirst for adventure and exploring new cultures.
3. Nature Let's You Unwind
One of the biggest advantages of going on a retreat is that it offers you proximity to nature and its healing touch, which can’t be matched by a simple vacation. Being close to nature has shown to reduce the production of cortisol—our primary stress hormone. Moreover, clean air, calm surroundings, and plants allow you to unwind and be thoroughly rejuvenated so that you can have a fresh start to your life upon return.
4. You’re Surrounded by Like-Minded Company
Retreats attract people with similar concerns or interests and, hence, offer you the opportunity to spend memorable moments with like-minded people who are looking to achieve the same goals as you. These people act as your support system as you work toward your goal and also act as a mirror to help you identify issues that you couldn't have on your own. Most importantly, they let you realize that you are not alone.
Retreats also provide you the opportunity to make friends that you can remain in touch with even after you return home. This gathering of similar people is not characteristic to regular vacations.
5. You Have Access to Professional Guidance
Retreats include trainings, exercises, or counselling sessions by experts who allow you to see your own shortcomings and help you improve your spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. These sessions are in accordance with your needs and enable you to not only improve your well-being while at the retreat, but also equip you with information and techniques that you can use to remain in shape even after the retreat is over.
6. You Don’t Have to Worry About Planning
One thing that skyrockets the efficacy of retreats in facilitating rest and relaxation as compared to ordinary vacations is that your service provider manages them. This means you don't have to worry about things like scheduling, reservations, commutes, waiting in lines, finding locations, etc. Even though you may handle such mundane tasks in your daily life, these tasks become particularly stressful when you are in a new and unfamiliar location. Retreats allow you to focus solely on your own well-being and truly offer you a stress free time-off.
7. Retreats Can Be More Economical
Retreats can be both expensive as well as economical. However, they are much more economical and cost-effective as opposed to regular vacations. The reason for this is that during regular vacations you make your own spending decisions, which may not be the most cost-effective and can at times result in money leakage. However, retreats are pre-planned and include exclusive features like professional consultation and trainings in addition to all the facilities of a simple vacation—thus, making them more financially feasible and reliable.
So, for your next holiday, pick a retreat that will let you unwind and resolve any pending concerns empowering you to regain control of enjoy your life.
The Chopra Center offers a wide range of yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic retreats. Search for an upcoming retreat at the Chopra Center to match your needs and interests.