Benefits of Attending a Solo Wellness Retreat
It’s been miracle after miracle that you were able to get time off work, convince your partner to take care of the kids, water the garden and walk the dog. Your friend convinced you that taking a ‘wellness weekend’ retreat is the greatest way to break up a stressful routine. But extracting yourself from the stressful routine has been even more stressful! With all the favors you’ve had to grant while begging to get away, this weekend had BETTER be worth it!
What is a typical wellness weekend about anyway? Typically, wellness care professionals focus on giving your body a variety of attention: from diet to detoxes, from exercises to relaxation. And indeed, at the end of two days being pampered in soft lights with gentle music while embraced by beautiful gardens, you go home on Sunday night floating on a cloud.
Then Monday morning comes fast with the alarm going off already! You arrived home late last night, threw your dirty clothes into the laundry basket while tripping over toys, chugging down coffee, and you’re back on the freeway. The boss is wondering where that report is that you promised before you left and your co-workers resent that you got time off, when they never do.
So what was the point of reaching total relaxation and calm for a few fleeting moments, when you’re pushed right back into the rat race? Was that really helpful, without any long-term benefits? You’re still without tools to recreate the state of calm in your daily life that the warm-hearted and well-trained professionals gave you.
Maybe there’s another kind of solo wellness retreat that could result in the same heavenly state of mind, but with tools that you also take home and are be able to continue using on your own. You’d sure like to somehow maintain keeping your awareness vibrant and empowered while feeling calm and collected, right?
Solo meditation retreats are an answer to this wish. Learning how to meditate, indeed, is easier to do when you’re away from the family on a solo retreat. But in the same amount of time as you spent at a wellness retreat while providers offer tender loving care, you can learn and then practice some easy ideas on how to generate and maintain a state of wellness, using your own mind while at home and at work.
The benefits of meditation are now confirmed at institutions such as Harvard, the National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services. And you can easily access meditation classes online offered by private institutions that have preserved and also teach authentic lineages. Check out Meditation Studies Program at meditationsi.com for learning meditation techniques to apply at work. Or try Asian Classics Institute at asianclassicsinstitute.org for learning meditation applications that will bring your life to “Super Hero” levels with proven meditation training.
Then make sure the retreat center where you do your solo retreat has meditation teachers onsite who can answer your practice questions. After studying on line, it’s really helpful on a solo meditation retreat to first practice with a person face-to-face and learn some more basics from different people’s experience.
For example, ancient scriptures prescribe that the first thing you need to do at home after your solo retreat is to set up a dedicated area for your meditation practice. It can be in a corner of your bedroom or other area out of the way of household traffic. With your intention, you state that when you come to this special place you will meditate. And this prepares the mind to settle more easily and quickly into quietude.
The next part of the warm up instructions say, every time before meditating, to clean the room where you meditate. Some have suggested that the condition of your room reflects the condition of your mind; if your room is messy, your mind could be messy, too! And the simple task of sweeping, for example, will wake up your body, while sweeping away thoughts of yesterday at work and plans for tomorrow.
Going deeper and considering karma and emptiness, scriptures say that cleaning your room before meditation is also a cause for creating a happy and healthy world.
After cleaning your meditation space, the ancients instruct us to set out beautiful offerings of objects to delight the senses. These are going to unseen beings, or to your many teachers, and can take many forms. Enjoy the task, be creative and make them attractive. Of course the ones to whom you’re making offerings don’t need these things, or won’t actually see them. What you’re doing is settling your mind into a powerful state of gratitude, thinking of the people who have helped you in your life. This is a moment of mindfully returning the kindnesses they’ve given to you, and is an important part of getting ready to meditate.
Then we’re told to sit in a comfortable posture. While you were on your solo retreat with expert guides, you probably had the chance to experiment and then experience the effects of meditating in different positions. Taking a full lotus posture, as instructed in scriptures, probably isn’t the most comfortable position for everyone in maintaining a straight back, and relaxed jaw and brow. So the result of your solo retreat at a meditation retreat center was that you could make an evaluation, while being expertly guided, as to your favorite position to then do every day at home.
Testimonials from solo retreaters repeatedly share that not only are they so very happy when they come home from a solo retreat with their newly acquired practice skills, but that families and fellow employees are happy too. Why? Because meditators have learned how to live a stress-based lifestyle while mentally clear and happy, when they are trained to continue maintaining that state of mind at home.
So every time you spend a weekend, or a week or a month in a solo retreat practicing your meditation skills, your friends and family will be happier and happier. And this is how meditation can change the world.
As the famous 13th century poet Rumi said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
And this is the ultimate benefit of learning how to meditate while taking weekend solo retreats at Diamond Mountain, to continue developing your skills for the happiness of yourself and of everyone else around you every day.