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If you have children or grandchildren, you may have noticed the feeling of excitement mounting as the end of the school year approaches. Many schools have already finished classes and sent the kids off for summer vacation. It’s not only the kids who are excited about summer – most of us are now thinking about taking some time to get away.

Meditation gives us that feeling of taking a long-needed vacation without leaving home

The number one goal for many of us is to relax during the summer, yet our vacations often end up being more stressful and exhausting than our day-to-day lives. Many people think that the best way to vacation is to stay busy by squeezing as much “fun” into a day as possible. Unfortunately, our well-intended plans often don’t provide us with the kind of rest, relaxation and happiness that we had hoped for.

An article published by researchers who are part of The International Society for the Quality of Life Studies noted: “Vacationers reported a higher degree of pre-trip happiness compared to non-vacationers possibly because they are anticipating their holiday. Additionally, only a very relaxed holiday trip boosts vacationer’s happiness further after return.” The subjects didn’t have a boost in their happiness from the vacation itself unless the trip was very relaxing.

Making Space for Deep Rest

How do we vacation in a way that allows us to relax and restore? Being too busy seems to take away from that sense of deep rest we all crave from our vacation time. One way to experience deep rest is to start a practice of meditation. Meditation rests the mind in the truest sense of the word. Meditation provides an inner vacation.

In meditation, the mind is not focused on the external world but rather helps us to cultivate an inward quiet focus. The mind is clear and relaxed, and this sets the foundation for inner peace. Once this is realized you can apply this to your everyday life and everything you do. You can be busy and feel calm and relaxed. Meditation gives us that feeling of taking a long-needed vacation without leaving home.

Plan a Meditation Retreat

If you like the idea of a change of scenery why not consider another option: Plan a meditation retreat. There are many places that offer meditation retreats. These retreat centers offer a refuge from the hectic world and a truly restful experience in a beautiful setting. Some of my favorite meditation retreat centers include:

Kripalu

Kripalu is a yoga and wellness center located in the foothills of western Massachusetts. They have a variety of wellness programs not to mention many meditation retreats with a variety of teachers. You can design your own program or join one that already exists. The food is top notch and caters to the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine diet. There is also a wellness clinic with massage therapists and other healing arts practitioners. The grounds are lovely with plenty of hiking trails.

Learn more here.

Integral Yoga Institute

Also known as Yogaville, the center is located in the county of Buckingham VA,  tucked away in a natural setting. Yogaville offers many programs and retreats that focus on health, wellness, yoga and meditation. They have a beautiful Lotus Meditation Temple that houses daily meditations. They offer wonderful vegetarian meals. They also have centers in San Francisco and New York City that offer these same kinds of programs and retreats. 

Learn more here.

Himalayan Institute

Located in the peaceful Pocono Mountains of eastern PA, this yoga, meditation and retreat center offers daily classes and workshops in yoga, wellness and meditation. They have vegetarian meals and are surrounded by rolling hills and hiking trails. They offer a design-your-own-retreat program as well as silent meditation retreats. They have a clinic and a wide range of therapy programs to choose from.

Learn more here.

These retreat centers can provide a place to unplug, unwind and recharge while surrounded by the beauty of nature. A retreat is a wonderful way to rest your heart and get away from the fast pace of modern life.

Host Yourself At Home

Related Video playBreathing to Relax and Renew | Ornish Reversal Program

If you don’t have the time or the money to go to a retreat center, you can also plan your own in-home retreat each day. Just set aside some meditation time and let your cares and worries fall away as you step into that place of peace and stillness deep within your body and mind. Please enjoy this Ornish Lifestyle Medicine guided meditation video to help you relax and renew.

How will you rest this summer?

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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