Fully immersing yourself in a meditation retreat allows you to grasp the impacts of this deeply restorative and highly beneficial practice in a tangible way. Choose a program, setting and teacher that resonates with you and settle in for a healing and insightful experience. The good news is that you won’t even have to travel far: some of the most respected meditation retreat centers are located in the U.S. Most programs can accommodate practitioners of any level and ability; inquire directly to confirm special needs can be met ahead of your stay.
- Spirit Rock Woodacre, CA
Located on 411 acres of tranquil oak woodlands in the hills of West Marin County, Spirit Rock is a serene refuge from everyday life where practitioners can drop into programs suitable to all skill levels. Programming is centered on Insight Meditation (Vipassana), the teachings of the Buddha (Dharma) and loving-kindness (Metta). Retreats range in length from three days to two months, as well as advanced practitioner programs lasting a year or more. Spirit Rock offers a breadth of online programs — including founding teacher Jack Kornfield’s longstanding Monday Night Dharma Talks — but visitors to the land agree that to experience Spirit Rock in person is a must.
- Omega Institute Rhinebeck, NY
In the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley among 250 pristine acres sits Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. The center offers a wide array of workshops, retreats, conferences and professional training across multiple disciplines, both online and in person. Omega meditation retreats center on mindfulness — the practice of bringing nonjudgmental attention to the present moment. With an impressive faculty including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Rhonda V. Magee and Jack Kornfield, students can be assured they are getting the very best in western meditation instruction. A rare opportunity to sit with beloved teacher Pema Chodron is on the Omega calendar for May 2022.
- Shambhala Mountain Center Red Feather Lakes, CO
Taking its name from an ancient kingdom famous for being an enlightened society, the Shambhala vision is to inspire compassionate, sustainable and just human societies. Shambhala is a network of over 200 centers and groups, as well as individual members located in major cities, towns and rural communities in over 50 different countries. Programs offer meditation practices and contemplative arts that are appropriate for people of all ages and walks of life. To find a center near you, visit Shambhala.org. Those near Fort Collins, CO should add a visit to The Great Stupa, built in honor of Trungpa Rinpoche, at Shambhala Mountain Center to their bucket lists.
- Insight Meditation Society Barre, MA
Over 45 years ago, three young teachers — Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein — heard of a Catholic novitiate for sale, and upon visiting, agreed to open the first insight meditation center in the western world. To this day, thousands of practitioners continue to make the trek to the quiet 400-acre wooded property to practice in the Retreat Center and Forest Refuge. IMS offers structured programs on a sliding scale for new to experienced practitioners as well as longer, exploratory residential programs for more experienced meditators. Buddhist dharma and loving-kindness are at the heart of all programs offered at IMS.
- Zen Mountain Monastery Mount Tremper, NY
At the confluence of the Beaverkill and Esopus rivers, at the base of Mount Tremper, lies the designated nature sanctuary that is home to Zen Mountain Monastery. The Monastery’s Main House was named a national and state landmark in 1995 and houses the meditation and dining halls, lounge and private rooms for residents and guests. The stunningly beautiful property offers retreatants 250 acres of peaceful, spacious refuge as they explore various trails, the tea house, Zen gardens and Basho pond with residential programs of various lengths offered on a sliding scale. Sister facility Zen Center of NYC in Brooklyn currently offers Sunday Services open to all.
- The Art of Living Retreat Center Boone, NC
Located just two hours from Asheville at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Art of Living Retreat Center is well-known not only for its yoga, meditation and contemplative arts programming, but also for its ayurvedic spa that offers treatments to balance and renew. Their mission is to reawaken the human values of compassion, love, togetherness, joy and harmony to realize a true representation of a one-world family. Year-round signature programs offered include The Happiness Retreat, The Silent Meditation Retreat and The Meditation Retreat rotating monthly, as well as an impressive lineup of visiting teachers hosting an array of unique and thoughtfully curated workshops.
- Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center Tusas Mountains, NM
At this private mountain retreat center surrounded by 300,000 acres of Carson National Forest, the alpine wilderness provides just the right setting to bring attention inward and gather the heart and mind into the present moment. A maximum of 40 retreatants gather for a variety of Insight Meditation programs, creating an intimate and deep connection to nature and the practice. The 135-acre property sits on the protected Vallecitos River and is home to an array of wildlife including elk, deer, bear, beaver, wild horses, eagles and 60 species of birds. Guests have a selection of housing options to choose from including charming casitas, yurts, tent cabins and campsites.