Silent Meditation Retreats for Stress Relief and Inner Peace

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By Cherie Julie

No matter where you are in your journey, a few days away from your usual routine can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being.

Wellness retreats bring together a collective of like-minded people looking to take a break from the daily grind. Many people are intrigued by the idea of a silent meditation retreat, but what does it all mean, and what can be expected?

Much like a yoga or meditation retreat, there are numerous benefits for the body, mind, and soul when you remove yourself from the hustle and bustle.

Silent retreats are a beautiful way to hold space for yourself and fill your cup. Studies show that meditation sessions have been found to help redirect one’s attention and manage emotions and impulses.

Multiple reports show that meditation can help relieve anxiety as the practice actively trains the mind to increase awareness. 

What is a Silent Meditation Retreat?

A silent meditation retreat is where you agree to take a vow of silence for the duration of the retreat. Participants should refrain from speaking during all activities, such as yoga classes, meditation sessions, meal times, and break times.

The principle of silence may seem like a basic idea, but it is part of an ancient Indian meditation technique known as Vipassana.

Vipassana means to see things as they are and was discovered over 2500 years ago by Gotama the Buddha. Today, Vipassana meditation teaches us to focus on our breath to help bring a sense of calm to the body and mind.

In a meditation session, you will come to learn that everything is temporary. Traditional Vipassana courses require students to follow ten full days of silence, during which they cannot read, write, speak, use electronics, or make eye contact with other students.

As this is not always an option, retreat hosts have developed shorter, less intense options for those who wish to enjoy the benefits of a silent retreat over a weekend getaway. 

How to Choose the Right Retreat

outdoor meditation refuel your soul

Type Of Practice

Silent retreats use guided exercises to help the group explore inward and release negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

This practice requires students to abstain from making gestures, eye contact, verbal noise, reading, writing, listening to music, and all forms of digital technology.

It may sound intimidating, detaching from the outside world, but removing yourself temporarily can be incredibly healing.

Location & Price 

There is a retreat for every travel style and budget. From the ultra-luxurious to the bare minimum, go where you feel connected. Retreat prices include all lessons, accommodation, and meals.

Duration & Level of Difficulty 

Depending on your availability and willingness, the length of your stay is very important. Retreats often range from 1-10 days, with longer durations available for advanced Vipassana students.

A typical day at a silent retreat will follow a pre-planned routine that begins with an early morning start and the opening meditation session followed by breakfast. The meditation (or yoga) sessions continue during the day with breaks for lunch and dinner. 

Benefits of a Silent Meditation Retreat

The benefits of a silent retreat are personal. Still, there are several that many participants report feeling, including improved immune function, better sleep, reduced anxiety and stress, trauma release, increased memory, better emotional regulation, more profound understanding of self, and clearer thoughts. 

Much of this is connected to digital detox and the ability to take a break and become more present. As we increase the time spent on our screens, absorbed in social media, work commitments, and streaming content, we risk negatively affecting our social and psychological well-being.

No matter what you hope to achieve, remember all experiences can teach us something about ourselves and the world around us. 

The good news is that retreating to a place of solitude has never been more achievable (or relaxing) than with our recommended silent retreats. 

10-Day Silent Retreat with Hridaya Family

San Cristobal, Mexico

If you are ready to go the full ten days, be sure to sign up for the Hridaya silent meditation retreat in beautiful San Cristobal, Mexico.

Suitable for all levels, including those without meditation experience, this program includes guided meditation and practice tools.

Located in the mountains of Chiapas, surrounded by pine forests and traditional Maya culture, you’ll find the centre a place of healing and rejuvenation. 

5-Day Silent Retreat with The Art of Living

North Carolina, USA

This might be the perfect timeline for a retreat—five days in the Blue Ridge Mountains with over 380 acres of forest to help calm the mind.

Here you will have the opportunity to experience silent contemplation and leave feeling grounded and connected.

The Art of Living provides guests with comfortable hotel-style rooms and a wholesome vegetarian buffet and has several on-site activities, including a pottery studio, nature trails, a labyrinth garden, fitness room, and steam room. 

4-Day Art of Breathwork with Vedanta Spiritual & Holistic Retreat

California, USA

Morning pranayama, evening restorative yoga, ayurvedic cooking, and a swim at the local hot springs are just some of what to expect at this all-inclusive four-day silent meditation retreat.

The Vedanta Spiritual and Holistic Retreat is based in a remote location at approximately 3000 feet in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains.

As an eco-retreat centre, they are a vegetarian establishment that only serves healthy organic food. Furthermore, there is no wifi and guests are encouraged to be mindful of their consumption of Mother Earth during their stay. 

8-Day Silent Retreat with The Yogi’s Garden

Bali, Indonesia

Are you looking for a getaway in the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia? The Yogi’s Garden is set on a working farm in the lush destination of Payangan on the island of Bali.

The Silent Zen Meditation Retreat begins with the first six days in silence, supported by guided meditations, walking meditations, and yin yoga sessions.

The gorgeous yoga shala, the Taj guesthouse and the delicious farm-to-table buffet by Ladang Kafe complete this very special retreat experience. 

1-Day Sunday Morning Meditation at Zen Mountain Monastery

New York, USA

As much as we all dream of a two-week break to meditate, it is not always possible; that’s where the Zen Mountain Monastery can help.

Just one day of devotion to your practice can make a difference. Each Sunday, there is a donation-based chanting and walking meditation session. Alternatively, you can find a range of events throughout the year at the monastery, which is located on Mount Tremper.

Complete with a zen garden, vegetable gardens, tea house, dining hall, meditation hall, and on-site accommodation, this special place is certainly worth a visit. 

7-Day Silent Meditation Retreat with Rishikesh Yogi Ashram

Rishikesh, India

If there is one place in the world to attend a silent retreat, it has to be the home of yoga, India. Thought to have begun around 5000 years ago, yoga philosophy can be traced back to the foothills of the Himalayas to the town of Rishikesh.

Join this seven-day silent retreat for a spiritual awakening and practice asana, pranayama, meditation and yogic cleansing techniques.

Comfortable accommodation at the ashram, three meals a day, and a 5:30 am to 9:30 pm schedule make this retreat excellent value for money. 

Silent Retreat with Silent Stay Meditation Center

California, USA

The residential retreat program offers guests various programs typically ranging from two to four days set peacefully among 45 acres of oak tree forests.

Silent Meditation Retreat participants begin the day with breakfast, followed by silent sitting, morning meditation, lunch, afternoon meditation, and dinner.

During the day, there are several non-doing periods where you are free to rest, walk, and spend time in nature. This is part of the Daoist practice of wu wei, which in Chinese means “doing nothing.”

Group Soul Retreat with The Soul Institute

Ontario, Canada

The Soul Institute is a community of supportive teachers and healers offering an integrated approach to retreats that are good for the soul.

When you sign up for the group soul retreat package, you’ll experience the Muskoka boutique-style glamping cabins, enjoy healthy vegetarian meals, and participate in a range of sessions from crystal meditation and mandala workshops to tea tasting, yoga classes, and nature walks.

You might have noticed this is not a silent retreat, but it is equally refreshing for the body and mind. 

Meditation Retreats with Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre

Ontario, Canada

Sugar Ridge hosts silent and non-silent meditation and yoga retreats year-round, with popular weekend retreats offering visitors the perfect quick escape. How does a mindful movement and meditation package sound?

The Wellness Within option is about cleansing and nourishing the body with organic plant-based meals, hiking in the forest, physical movement classes, and connecting with new friends.

The best part is this retreat is structured, yet all activities are optional, so you can go at your own pace and step into what feels best for you.

Silence is not required, and you are welcome to take quiet breaks to meditate, journal, or simply rest. Leave feeling inspired and balanced. 

Cherie Julie

Cherie is a freelance travel writer and the founder of Travel For Change Collective. Her work involves creating purposeful content for mindful brands on sustainability, conservation, plant-based food tourism, and low-impact adventures. Cherie is currently writing a Vegan Travel Guide To Southeast Asia. 

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