What should I pack for a meditation retreat to escape a hectic lifestyle?

There comes a time in life when you want to enjoy a time of peace and contemplation

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SOMETIMES our hectic lifestyles are a bit too much and we feel like running away to a Zen monastery – disconnecting from the distractions of modern-day life, enjoying periods of silence and contemplation, even having a digital detox holiday with no mobile phones and laptops.There are plenty of places around the world where you can take long walks through olive groves, indulge in some yoga, Buddhist workshops and the meditation arts of tai chi and qigong By spending less time talking, a meditation holiday will help find you more time to listen to your body.

If you are overweight, then you might want to lose weight by detoxing, going on a macrobiotic or juice diet. A meditation holiday could provide you with the opportunity to cleanse your body with good food. If you are a smoker, for example, it might make you think of quitting. A few positive changes to your daily routine when you come back home might lead to a healthier mind and body. There are healthy retreats which offer you wellness programes covering everything from anti-ageing packages to helping you with stress and sleep.

Healing treatments for the mind and body

With more and more of us feeling like we are hamsters on a rotating treadmill wishing to get off, meditation retreats offer a possible way of improving our wellbeing. Those under the media spotlight like celebrities have already visited retreats and continue to do so.  One example is British actor Daniel Craig, who spent time at the Como Shambhala Estate in the peaceful fields of Ubud on the Indonesian island of Bali. He was able to relax there while training for his role as James Bond 007. Rancho la Puerta in Baja, close to the border of California and Mexico, played host to American singer Madonna and British actress Kate Winslet, who were offered reiki and reconnective healing treatments.

Spiritual retreat for prayer and healing

Some retreats can be religious and offer days of contemplation, prayer and healing. Buddhist retreats are quite popular where guests can spend time with Buddhist monks meditating, studying Buddha’s teachings and in silent prayer. Check out the brochures and websites of these and other places and see which one suits you. You may decide that what’s better for you is actually not a holiday, but perhaps doing an online course in meditation or something similar.

What celebrities think of meditation

OPRAH WINFREY SAID: “That way of being ‘still’ with ourselves—coming back to the center and recognizing that something is more important than you—it’s more important than the work you are doing, brings a kind of energy, an intention that we have never had before.” In an interview she said her co-workers stopped having migraines, slept better, developed happier relationships with their friends and family. PAUL MCCARTNEY SAID: “I was personally not in a good place. I was just overdoing it in the 60’s, not very centered. And I was looking for something,” EVA MENDES SAID: “I’m huge into meditation, transcendental meditation, and that helps create not only a sense of balance, but all the other stuff—this is going to sound cliche—but, serenity and kind of a calm state of mind.”

Pack your suitcase

But you don’t have to be a celebrity to go on a meditation holiday. There are some places that do one-day visits or overnight trips, which can be manageable if you are on a tight budget. So, dive in and take a chance on a holiday that may change your life. Start packing that suitcase, but be sure to get travel insurance in case your flight gets cancelled, baggage is lost or you fall ill during your holiday and need hospital treatment.

Relax and unwind

A yoga mat might be top of your list as you want to lie down, forget your busy and hectic life, and chill out to the best of your abilities. But you may want a pen or pencil to  record your activities in a journal – your goals and achievements.

Full yoga outfit

But before you have something to write about, you might need to buy yourself a full yoga attire. A good one would be a five-piece outfit which could encompass outfits to cater for running, jogging, gym, active-wear and fitness clothing. Otherwise bring casual clothes that you are comfortable with including shoes.


Bathing suit for the spa

Some retreats offer you the opportunity to enjoy a spa so it’s good to have a bathing suit with you. It might also be something you might want to wear to soak up the sun. You might also add to that list a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Travel insurance is a must

Never forget when going on a holiday, even if it is just for the weekend, to get some travel insurance.



  • Ontario Vipassana Centre (Ontario, Canada)
  • Wat Suan Mokkh International Dharma Hermitage (Thailand)
  • Bali Eco Stay (Bali, Indonesia)
  • Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health (Stockbridge, Massachusetts)
  • Shamballah Yoga Retreat (Portugal)
  • Tushita Meditation Centre (India)

Come back happy

Wherever you go for your meditation retreat, have a nice time and come back with your mind, body and soul fully recharged. Meditation holidays offer you more than a tan. And don’t stress out about doing the Full Monty. You don’t have to do everything – some retreats offer you packages that are specifically tailored for your needs. If you live in London like me, and don’t have the budget to jet off to Thailand for a relaxing massage and detox, or to lose yourself in a peaceful environment, you don’t have to go that far.

It could be a life changer

One example is The Royal Foundation of St Katharine, within walking distance of Canary Wharf, offering an urban oasis of tranquility.  The experience of any health retreat could be a life changer, breaking old habits in pursuit of more healthier options, and leaving behind the old you in favour of the new you.

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