25 Things to Know Before Going on a Meditation Retreat

Going on a meditation retreat? Thinking about it? Here's a fun list (and serious) setting out 25 things you need to know.

Girl meditating at the beach with beautiful sunset behind her

When you ask around, interestingly, a lot of people will tell you that yoga retreats are located in secluded places. In fact, many famous retreats can be found in California, Massachusetts, and Montana.  If you want to survive your very first retreat of silent meditation, there are a few important things you need to keep in mind. Here are 25 things you need to know in order to enjoy your meditation retreat.

1. Do Your Research

You should know what you are signing up for when you decide to go on a silent meditation retreat. You cannot do anything well if you have no knowledge about it. Lack of understanding about things often leads to bad outcomes, so it is better to properly research about what silent meditation retreat is in order to do it more effectively.  Also, it is very important that you properly research about the organization that’s offering the retreat. There are some centers that offer retreat with more lenient rules than others.Girl meditating in white dress with white background around her

2. Plan to Take Some Rest

After you return home, make sure you give yourself some rest and a break from your silent meditation retreat because the experience may be a bit overwhelming for you for the first time.  When you return home, sit back on your couch and relax by having a cup of water, coffee, or tea the way you like it.  Take all the time you need to settle down before you even think about going back to work. If you think about jumping into work right after your silent meditation retreat, it will be too tedious and tiring for you.  You need to take some time to get back to the pace and speed of your daily life.

3. Take Care of Small Details

Before going on a silent meditation retreat, you have to take good care of the small and tiny things that really matter in your daily life.  Before you go on a silent meditation retreat, some of the things you have to take care and think about are your pet animals. You have to keep your pet animals well-fed and pay your electricity bills before you go away for your silent meditation retreat.  Consider giving your home keys to a trusted family member or a friend who can keep an eye on your house during your absence. Moreover, remember to empty your refrigerator, as there might be some food items that may expire by the time you come back. You can also do a food giveaway and feed to the poor.Girl meditating in a red dress sitting on grass in evening time

4. Check the Retreat Centre

One thing which you must do is go to your nearest retreat centres and ask about their offerings. Look around and explore the different suggestions they openly give to you. Ask people about what you must bring with you to the silent meditation retreat, and people will be happy to help you out. Most of the retreat centres out there will give you a list to inform you properly about what they provide, and what they do not provide.

5. Be Mindful About Expectations

You have to be certain and completely sure about your expectations. We ask you to be mindful about your expectations in terms of the kind of experience you are aiming to get out of your silent meditation retreat.   Be mindful of them so that it is easier for you to let them go in order to be fully satisfied in the end because if you choose to let the expectations go, you will find peace in whatever you are able to achieve from the meditation retreat in the end.

6. Find Out Where You Are Going For Retreat

You have to know where you are going for retreat. For instance, if you have to go to a desert for a retreat and if you have not visited a desert before, you must have enough information available to know that in a desert, it gets really cold in the night and extremely hot during the day.  Before going to a retreat centre, accumulate plenty of warm layers to feel warm in the cold night and light fabric materials to stay cool during the day.Girl meditating in her pajamas on the bed

7. Bring Your Own Meditation Gear

When you are going for a silent meditation retreat for the first time, you should purchase and get your own meditation gear if you have it.  Meditation gear like chairs, mats, and zafu cushions quickly run out in most retreat centres, but they do try to offer such supplies as much as they can.

8. Keep Tissues

Buy tissues and keep them with you when you go the meditation retreat.  When your surroundings change, your body takes time to adjust completely to the new surroundings.  Your body can react with the flu, or you might experience a stuffed nose and sneezes due to allergy or some other external factor. Tissues help a lot if they are available, so make sure you keep some with you at all times.

9. Bring a Thermos or Water Bottle

Before going to a meditation retreat, purchase a good thermos or water bottle because water is really important for your body.  You have to make sure you keep your body hydrated at all times. Insufficient hydration can lead to wide variety of health issues, and substituting water with caffeinated beverages is a bad idea.

10. Bring a Watch

If you do not use a watch, make a habit of using it and wearing it to tell the time if someone asks or for your own knowledge. Unleash yourself from the habit of looking at your phone every time you want to see the time or every time you want to tell someone the time.Girl meditating on bed witha clock in the foreground

11. Bring Shoes

You must bring shoes that are convenient. Bringing shoes that are easier to put on and take off and that are weather and season-friendly will help you move about the meditation hall all day.

12. Bring Pain Reliever

Pain relievers and cold medicines help a lot because you can need them anytime and anywhere. Keep them with you before going for a meditation retreat.

13. Bring Sunscreen

If you plan to roam about outside during the day, you have to bring sunscreen to apply it when you’ll be outdoors while meditating or walking.

14. Bring Earplugs

At an unfamiliar place, you will be staying in a room with a stranger or two and what if one of your room mates is a habitual snorer? You can always use an earplug to help you sleep in peace when there is noise outside.

15. Write Notes to Your Loved Ones

If you have left some people you love deeply at home, they might be missing you very much and you might be missing them a lot too. So while you are away at your meditating retreat, think about writing a short note or a letter or creating a short video for them so that they can see these small tokens of love whenever they miss you or think about you.Boy in blue shirt meditating on edge of cliff in front of water

16. Stretch While You Can

Stretching your body helps a lot, so make a schedule and incorporate stretching into your daily routine.  When you go out on a meditation retreat, you can have backpains and backaches. If you practice meditation or yoga for a few minutes every day, you will feel healthier and suppler.

17. Try to Be Your Own Best Friend

You must learn to be your own best friend because when you are on a retreat, things can get a little tougher than usual.  So in moments like these, you have to pick yourself up to stand tall. When you are kind and compassionate with yourself, you learn to deal with situations on your own. Learning to pick yourself up is a good way to stay active, energetic, and motivated.

18. Try Asking For Help When You Need It

Don’t shy away. In fact, ask for help whenever you need it from whomever you feel knows something useful.

19. Have a Couple of Meetings with Your Teacher

It will be good for you if you stay connected with your teachers by writing them notes. You can always ask the teacher to help you out or take advice from them if you are struggling. Having brief meetings with them will also allow you to ask more in-depth questions or issues to discuss.

20. Enjoy the Silence

If your meditation retreat is getting unbearable for you to manage, you should enjoy the silence even if you want to get out of the place.  If you were a talkative person, embrace the change now, as staying quiet wouldn’t hurt.Girl dressed in black yoga clothes peacefully meditating in lotus position

21. Keep Your Body off Meat, Eggs, and Alcohol

The retreat center will put you on a healthy diet, so you would want to cheat some days off your diet. No matter how badly you want those gluten-rich deep-friend fast foods, try not to give in to your temptations. You will need to quit processed meats, alcohol, and other harmful foods.

22. Pack Some Snacks

You will likely get tired of consuming a limited diet for three meals per day.  Sometimes, your belly and taste buds just need a little break.  Many people in the retreat centers bring nut butter with them and they eat it with bread for one meal per day to give their body a much needed break from all the limited diet it uses to refuel itself.Little boy sitting on wooden paltform meditating in park

23. What Diet Will You Be Following?

Retreat centers usually offer fresh, healthy food with vegetarian and gluten-free options because they have to put their clients on a limited diet to keep their bodies healthy. Most retreats will offer local cuisine. When catering to a group of retreats who are picky eaters, however, it’s hard to offer every variety of dietary restriction.  Alcohol must not be offered, unless, of course, it’s a yoga and wine retreat in Tuscany! If your choice of food is especially important to you, prioritise it in your selection process. You may have observed that some yoga people tend to be particular about their diets.

24. Can I Bring a Cell Phone?

There is no point of going to a meditation retreat if you are still socializing on your cell phone and are an addict of this modern world and technology. Having a phone which will buzz all the time will never allow you to fully find peace, in fact it will disturb the state of your mind seeing how much your friends are having fun without you, and where are they going for a sale, or where are they going to eat and party.  Having a phone with you will make you feel restless all the time and unhappy.woman wearing white suit meditating and looking towards left

25. How Much Will It Cost?

Retreat centers cost a lot in terms of providing facilities and giving supplies to the people who come for a meditation retreat.  It is important that you visit many retreat centers near you to get a fair idea of the cost they charge. You have to think about finding peace by staying within your budget.

If you go all out in terms of your budget, you’re unlikely to find mental peace. In fact, your meditation retreat will bring you worries and debt burdens rather than relaxation and a peace of mind.

Girl sitting on pier meditating wearing white see through dress





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