• 02/19/2024

Recharge Your Soul: 6 Spiritual Retreats Around the World

A woman meditating.

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When was the last time you stepped away from your daily life — home responsibilities, children, your career and other sources of stress — took a deep breath and said a little prayer? We don’t always feel we deserve these breaks, which is why many people visit spiritual retreats.

Spiritual retreats are like a tune-up of the Self — an extended stay within quietness for you to rest and recharge. Let’s go over what a spiritual retreat is and where you can travel for a transformative escape.

What Is a Spiritual Retreat?

Spiritual retreats are often located in secluded areas where you can focus on your thoughts, beliefs, feelings and values without distraction. Some people go for a few days, a week or a month.

Nearly all retreats are inclusive, meaning you’ll have accommodations, healthy meals and several meditation or prayer exercises daily. Depending on the type of facility you go to, you could participate in sacred ceremonies, energy healing activities, art classes, yoga, reiki, counseling, journaling and shamanic rituals with Shamans, among others.

Some spiritual retreats are affiliated with a religious denomination, while others are more secular, encouraging a daily regimen of meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices.

In a study on anxiety and prayer within the Christian faith, 60% of respondents engaging in devotional prayer reported reduced stress during confrontations.

Likewise, a 2022 study showed you received the same anti-anxiety benefits from meditation as you would from medicinal treatment — making it an effective pharmacological alternative for mental health.

6 Spiritual Retreats to Change Your Life

When researching spiritual retreats, you’ll notice many places offer days-long stays in packages, much like a vacation. Sometimes, you find the package you’re looking for first — other times, you may have your heart set on staying in a particular facility or country. Here are six spiritual retreats and some of the restful itineraries they offer to guests.

1. Six Senses Vana in Uttarakhand, India

How quickly does your mind venture to India when you think of a spiritual retreat? India has become synonymous with yoga, meditation and one of the three stops in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” — the ultimate pilgrimage story. As such, our first stop is Six Senses Vana in Uttarakhand. 

As a wellness-centered facility, those who visit Six Senses Vana receive full accommodation with a personalized nutritional plan, screenings and private treatments — Ayurveda yoga and Tibetan and natural healing. 

Typically, guests book retreats for five, 14 or 21 nights, depending on their intention. For instance, Six Senses Vana offers a five-night sleep and detoxification retreat, while the weight management program is two weeks. 

2. Etnikas Ayahuasca Retreats in San Salvador, Cusco, Peru

Located in the Sacred Valley of San Salvador, Cusco, Peru, Etnikas Ayahuasca Retreats is only two hours from Machu Picchu. 

The retreat combines wellness, giving back and spiritual healing, leaning into ancient and indigenous medicine and practices. Here, guests have access to expert Shipibo and Qero healers with Incan cosmovision — the idea of being happy to be alive regardless of what you go through.

Visitors stay three, five or seven days, participating in Shamanic healing ceremonies, volunteering through Etnikas’ Human Actions and diving into the Munay meditation on love and forgiveness.

3. Soulshine Bali in Ubud, Bali

Founded by recording artist Michael Franti, Soulshine Bali offers numerous retreats annually. Immerse yourself in yoga and meditation, dancing, writing and photography — this is where you go to learn something new and reconnect with your soul, other guests and nature.

You can partake in one of the organized retreats or host your own spiritual and wellness experience with Soulshine Bali. Each stay includes accommodations, farm-to-table meals and yoga. Depending on your chosen retreat, you could also do sound healing, energy healing, cooking classes or a massage.

Even Franti himself hosts several Soulrocker Music Experience retreats throughout the year. According to previous attendees, Franti and his wife Sarah were like old friends you haven’t seen in a long time.  

4. Karuna Retreat Center in Monchique, Portugal

Karuna is Sanskrit for “compassion” — and that’s precisely what you’ll find when you venture to Portugal’s most popular spiritual retreat. 

A stay at Karuna Retreat Center in the peaceful Serra de Monchique mountains will help you reconnect with your heart center, find inner serenity and create the ultimate sense of well-being.

Numerous solo and group retreats offer exquisite opportunities for transformation. All retreats include private or shared accommodations, three vegetarian meals daily, Hatha yoga and morning meditation.

A morning meditation practice helps align your body and mind for the day, giving you greater focus and clarity to tackle whatever lies ahead.

5. The Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, South Africa

Spiritual seekers and nature lovers will find tranquility at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in the breathtaking Umkomaas River Valley in Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is the most serene environment for meditation and reflection. 

You’ll find several spiritual retreats during the year, comprising meditation and yoga, qigong, tai chi and other holistic healing. Each retreat emphasizes personal, spiritual, physical and emotional growth. 

Of course, you can always sign up for an unstructured Self-Retreat, where you decide what activities you’d get the most benefit from. Attend meditation sessions or take in the natural sounds around the 300-acre property.

6. Ffald y Brenin in West Wales, United Kingdom

Christian retreat Ffald y Brenin in the rolling Preseli hills of West Wales is as beautiful as a postcard. Overnight guests restore their souls with daily prayer and worship and walk within the remote valley.

Unlike other spiritual retreats, Ffald y Brenin does not cater meals, so guests must prepare their own meals in one of the center’s numerous kitchens. 

For some, the notion of being present prompts change within, which can feel scary. Ffald y Brenin’s secluded location encourages a safe spiritual transformation.

Find Peace and Solace at Spiritual Retreats

Maybe you’ve always dreamt of visiting India and Portugal, or perhaps you just want to feel healthy and spiritually fully again. If life has you down and you’ve lost sight of who you are and your path, spiritual retreats can restore you and heal your heart and soul.

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