The average person speaks 16,000 words daily, and on an average day, you hear about 30,000 more. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, it's a steady stream of one conversation after another. But, what if you want to silence the world for just a little bit to hear yourself think again? Then, my overwhelmed friends, it's time to take a silent retreat vacation.
Despite living in an ever-connected and noisy world, there are still quiet spaces hiding in plain sight. Here are six destinations around the world that are perfect for resetting your mind.
Heart Awakening Retreat: New Zealand
Tucked away at the Strathean Retreat in Otaki, New Zealand, visitors can find a little solace in three to 10-day silent retreats. As part of the silent experience, guests can take part in guided meditation sessions, listen in on talks with experts, find a flow in yoga sessions, or pick up a book to only hear their own voice in their head. The retreats take place two to three times a year. Though, no matter what time of year a guest arrives they'll be delighted by the scenic beauty of coastal New Zealand. Beaches are located about 10 minutes from Strathean, and the Tararua Forest Park is a mere 20 minutes as well. Non-silent and individual retreats are also available.
Spirit Rock: California, USA
Replace human noise by having a conversation with Mother Nature instead at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Located on more than 400 acres of pristine land in West Marin County, California guests will dig deep into Buddhist-based learnings and meditation techniques. At its retreats guests rise before the sun to take part in both sitting and walking meditations. Guests are also expected to be productive members of their little silent society by taking part in kitchen and cleaning duties. But, that's all a part of the mindful dining experience. Retreats are offered throughout the year from three days to up to two months, and advanced practitioner programs are also available for a year or more. Private group retreats are available as well.
The Buddhist Retreat Centre: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
For more than two decades the Buddhist Retreat Centre has sat on a ridge overlooking the Umkomaas River in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It's the ideal place to find a bit of peace for mediation or silent retreat. The center is so naturally divine it was designated a Natural Heritage Site by former President Nelson Mandela. Retreats are held throughout the year in varying lengths and degrees of silence. Guests are also welcome to design a single self-retreat so they may be as structured or unstructured as they choose.
Hridaya Yoga: Mazunte, Mexico
If someone is a bit short on time but still looking to connect silently with themselves Hridaya's three-day silent retreat may be just the ticket. The sanctuary is meant for both beginners and experts alike. Throughout the journey, guests will take part in meditation, Hatha Yoga, and more. The retreat is offered at Hridaya's center in Mazunte, Mexico, a small village along the coast that offers stellar views of the Pacific Ocean. Guests can stay in dorm-like rooms, private accommodations, or tents to get even closer to their surroundings if they so desire.
PachaMama: Nicoya, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse places in the world, which makes it a prime spot to sit silently and let it all soak in. In Costa Rica, would-be silent retreaters can do just that at PachaMama. At the retreat, guests will stay in complete silence from beginning to end. They will also help take care of the eco-friendly property that also produces its own organic food that is turned into yummy smoothies and dishes for each retreat. Guests can choose their accommodation ranging from open-air casitas to bungalows, and even family housing.
Shreyas: Bangalore, India
Find more of yourself in the "absence of speech" at Shreyas. Located in Bangalore, India the Shreyas retreat welcomes guests for seven-day stays that combine meditation, yoga, and silence, along with a bespoke nutritional wellness program. Each guest is given a journal upon arrival to write down their every thought during their stay so they may look back on it whenever they feel they need a bit of guidance back in their day-to-day life. At the retreat, guests can choose from luxurious poolside or garden cottages to further enhance their own unique silent experience.