A yoga retreat is a getaway designed to focus on the practice of yoga. Silent retreats encourage participants to take a vow of silence for a specified period of time, which means no talking during meditations, meals, yoga, journaling, reading, and other activities. This helps participants achieve a profound level of solitary contemplation and personal reflection. In the Western world, yoga retreats tend to resemble luxury vacations, while Eastern retreats are more humble in nature and more affordable.
Experienced meditators can find retreat centers that will help them deepen their practice or teach them a new skill. Christian retreats are also popular and involve spending time away from normal life to reconnect with God through prayer. The ordained Buddhist monk Gen Samten Kelsang is the resident teacher at the Kadampa Meditation Center in New York and has been practicing and teaching meditation for many decades. A retreat provides an opportunity to leave behind the distractions of daily life and dedicate time to being present and participating in life itself.
People often report feeling more energetic, sleeping better, and having a more positive outlook in their daily lives after attending a focused meditation retreat. Retreats cover a wide range of topics, including traditional meditation, indigenous wisdom traditions, body awareness practices, contemplative arts, conscious living, and personal transformation. The Insight Meditation Society (IM) offers an online program that includes online retreats. This 10-day retreat is an introduction to meditation and takes place completely in silence.