The benefits of meditation on mental health have been recognised for a while now: it’s been shown to help improve depression and anxiety, as it alters the way the body responds to stress. One study found that significant changes to the brain after just three days, and whether or not you are suffering from a mental health disorder, its been found to help with focus, productivity and creativity.
For World Mental Health Day, we’ve rounded up a small selection of the best luxury retreats for meditations programmes. While meditation is something anyone can do anywhere, especially with so many apps to choose from, taking a break from life’s stressors can often help put things into perspective, and these retreat programmes are designed to restore and renew both physical and mental health.
Kamalaya found a home on the island of Koh Samui, which has long been a pilgrimage site for Buddhist monks across Thailand. The property was built to encircle an ancient meditation cave, thought to have been used by Buddhist monks for centuries. Today it remains open for guests to bask in a moment of quiet reflection. The resort draws upon traditional practices to offer a range of retreats(ranging from three to 14 nights in duration) to promote detox, healthy living, better sleep and to treat stress and emotional ailments.
Overlooking the Andaman Sea, Amanpuri offers a range of retreat programmes to suit all manner of modern needs. For a true sense of peace and tranquillity, however, there’s nothing better than the Awareness Immersion retreat. The tailored programme is entirely customisable and can run from between three and 14 nights in length. From now until 15th December, the programme features a series of wellness consultations with Anamai Apaiso, a former Buddhist monk.
A location steeped in Ayurvedic history, Sen Wellness draws upon the rich heritage of its surroundings to provide guests with a holistic healing approach to health and wellness. Offering a combination of Ayurveda therapies, acupuncture, daily yoga and twice weekly meditation sessions led by a practising Buddhist monk, retreats here have been designed to help guests discover a deep and profound sense of wellbeing—and one that will remain with you long after you depart. This retreat gives guests a lot of time for personal introspection, and the limited wifi hours mean you really can take a break from the outside world.
The recently opened luxury resort in Nusa Dua, Bali, offers three-day destress retreats, perfect for a weekend getaway to reset mind, body and soul. The retreat includes a daily REMISSIŌ treatment based on your personal arrival consultation, a daily salt floating session, and up to three daily holistic fitness activities, including access to the resort’s yoga barn and meditation studio.
This traditional Ryokan-influenced Japanese retreat surrounded by hot springs in the UNESCO trails of Mie Prefecture offers guests a new Mindfulness, Relaxation & Stress Control Immersion, which includes a zazen meditation, a ritual tea ceremony, and spa treatments such as shiatsu massage, acupuncture, and aquatic bodywork. Designed to reduce stress, tension and cultivate mindfulness, Aman offers continued support to guests once they return home. The retreat runs for 3-14 nights.
Renowned as one of the world’s best yoga retreats, Ananda in the Himalayas unsurprisingly offers an incredible meditation programme too. The seven-night Dhyana Self-Realisation retreat offers daily, hour-long meditations, daily pranayama sessions, and five personalised Hatha yoga classes. Preparing guests to increase control of themselves physically, emotionally and mentally, the retreat programme is complemented by daily spa treatments, Vedanta talks, and weekly treks. Retreats run for seven, 14 or 21 days.
If you’re searching for more than just a guided meditation retreat, a private island paradise might be just what you need. Song Saa Private Island has been based in the Koh Rong archipelago in Cambodia for more than 10 years, and the eco-friendly resort has continued to work consciously with its surrounding environment and communities. Customisable retreats on this private island sanctuary can include a blessing from a Buddhist monk. At the resort itself, spa treatments are divided into the themes of stillness, healing and blessing. Retreats span five days.
The former Art & Culture editor at Time Out Hong Kong magazine, Amanda is a freelance lifestyle writer based in Asia's world city. Amanda grew up in Asia, loves hiking, stand up paddle boarding, and a day well spent outdoors. Her last holiday sunrise trekking along Indonesian volcanic landscapes gave her a taste of the healthy holiday bug, and she’s been on the lookout for her next great adventure ever since.