Wellness retreats in nature as an antidote to anxiety
Ever wondered how the best wellness retreat works?
Wellness retreats heal anxiety and nurture our whole being because the environment has been consciously prepared for the purpose. Mindful attention to detail, both inside and outside, tell the body and mind it is time to relax.
In the right space, if you pay attention, you’ll see your mind and body relax. Think of a Japanese Zen Garden and how it feels when you visit or even see a picture of one. At a good wellness retreat, you experience this same beauty and spaciousness, on a cellular level. You don’t need to be there for a silent meditation retreat to feel it.
When we hear the phrase “wellness retreat,” we think of it as a modern phenomenon, of course. Yet “wellness” spaces have existed for millennia and were not always as easy to access as our meditation center in BC, in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
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The Nurturing Space of a Wellness Retreat
This sense of wellness and peace might appear when you least expect it. In 1922, a group of English mountaineers arrived at a remote monastery in the Tibetan Himalayas. Mallory and the Everest expedition had just come through the most devastating war humanity had known, and the Spanish Flu Pandemic had taken millions more. Unsurprisingly, the explorers were exhausted and disillusioned with the world. Mmm. Exhausted and disillusioned with the world! Perhaps you can relate?
Mallory and the others turned their backs on the relative comfort and civilisation of British society to seek purpose in the wilderness. They aspired to be the first to climb Earth’s highest mountain,
While looking for the best route to approach the mountain, they came to Rongbuk Monastery. It stood at the end of a high valley. When they got there, they intuitively felt the wholesomeness of the space. They were struck by the tameness of all manner of wild animals that lived around the monastery. In fact, the explorers had walked into a space carefully nurtured for the wellness of all beings. Centuries before, the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche had decreed that no animals were to be killed there.
The valley had become a haven, a sanctuary of peace and wellness. These animals were living where all the human residents were focused on their spiritual growth and awakening. And there we have it, the formula for a space for wellness, a combination of intention and attention. Intention for wellness and wholesome living, and attention to detail for the purpose.
And this is what you’ll find at our meditation retreat center. A space for wellness and healing, even if you’re not here for a month in silent cabin retreat or a group meditation retreat. A few days in nature, in this space, will make a difference.
We Want to Let Go into Wellness
We want to let go. Yet even in nature, that’s not always easy. So, we need a supportive environment adding the element of calm, beyond the physical environment. Clear Sky meditation center in BC has an established system that provides the necessary level of support, so you can unwind.
And nature is a healer. Increasingly, studies have shown nature to be a healer of many of life’s modern stressors:
Anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder, or a general level of stress caused by the pandemic, global warming, and other world events, and so on.
Studies have shown that “time in nature—as long as people feel safe—is an antidote for stress. Time in nature can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.”
Clear Sky meditation center in BC, Canada, offers just that. A chance to get away and into nature, a place to unwind and with a proven record of providing the container and space to do so.
Wellness Retreats at Clear Sky Meditation Center
There are numerous retreat centers in Canada. Here at Clear Sky meditation center, in the beautiful British Columbia Rocky Mountains, we offer a place for wellness retreats. Yes, serious, dedicated meditators come here. And, we also offer our personal retreat cabins for wellness and rejuvenation.
The deep practice done here creates the space for you to relax into wellness. Like the Rongbuk Monastery a century ago, local wildlife feels safe and at home on our property in the Canadian Rockies. On our trails, you’ll walk close by to deer that only fifteen years ago, would have been too skittish to stay so near to humans. Since we took over the property they have calmed along with the energy of the space.
How does it feel to be in such a space, and what does it matter? The healing benefits of spending time in nature have been known for millennia. In nature, we don’t need to show up in any particular way–nature takes us just as we are. As we let go of the pressure to be seen in a particular way, we easefully reconnect with our own true nature. A sense of wellness and rejuvenation naturally follows.
Wellness is a simple thing
We see a lot of advertising that sells us things to help us feel good or gain a sense of control. Yet, there is actually nothing you need for a sense of wellness. Sages from world traditions have noted over the centuries that people are whole and complete as they are, with nothing else needed. Saying we need to add some “thing,” such as entertainment or alcohol, which are not bad in and of themselves, falsely promotes seeking something outside ourselves for comfort. The hit of a new thing is temporary. We are already whole and complete, but advertising falsely leads us to question the “need” for something to feel satisfied.
So, one might ask, “What feels good about feeling good?” We can say that being in nature gives a natural sense of feeling good, that no extra thing is needed. A wellness retreat is simply time alone to relax and contemplate, something sorely missing in the modern world, and may be all that some people need.
For others, there may be a deeper calling to meditation, what the western Neo Platonists called contemplatio, or contemplation, and something honored by the Celtic Christian communities of the Middle Ages, Buddhists across time, and all over the world recently. Either approach leads to rejuvenation of body and soul.
Indeed, at Clear Sky you can do a weekend wellness retreat or a 1-month silent meditation retreat. What would a stay at Clear Sky look like, then? Read more about that below.
Wellness at a Meditation Center?
Clear Sky is a meditation retreat center in BC, Canada. It is focused on awakening, so can you do a wellness retreat here? In short, yes. We offer private cabin retreats from three nights to three months. While longer stays suit serious meditators, on a wellness retreat of three to five nights you can take advantage of the space and the scenic natural setting to unwind.
Our beautiful rustic meditation cabins offer everything you need to unplug in nature and slow down. We provide your meals, using local or organic food, so you can focus on self care. So, if you’re feeling burned out and run down by events of the past two years, come to Clear Sky for a retreat in nature. Wellness is waiting for you.
Here are two ways you might do a wellness retreat here.
A) Rest and rejuvenate:
Simply come to the center and enjoy the amenities of an established, proven system to promote your own wellness while staying in a cabin. Rest, exercise, decompress, read and journal–however you’d like to use the time.
B) Learn to meditate
Come to the center and tap into the meditation experience of the residents for guidance and support.
Wonder how your time might look for each of these alternatives, wellness retreat or meditation experience? Or other ways your time in a wellness retreat at Clear Sky might look? Perhaps some of the ideas below will ignite your desire to spend time in a private cabin here.
1) Sample schedule for wellness retreat
- Having rested long and well, wake and simply enjoy your surroundings. Take a stroll, or sit under a tree and breathe in the fresh air. Eat breakfast in the silent dining room, buffet style.
- After breakfast, take the morning to unwind with a walk, a short meditation or some yoga. Rest, read or journal. Make the most of all your time outside, in nature. If you can, go barefoot and lie on the ground.
- Stroll quietly to the dining room for lunch. We have set meal times, as routines and structure help you relax.
- After lunch, continue to focus on rest and more of the above. Read, take a nap. Hike in nature on our trails. Day one, bird watching; Day two, a long hike; Day three, notice trees and plants; choose the activity that feels wholesome and restful for you.
2) Sample schedule for a meditation experience
Come to the center and practice meditation in your private cabin and outside in nature. Ask Clear Sky’s professional meditators to give some instruction about meditation so you can do some on your own. Set yourself up for an ongoing meditation practice at home.
Sample daily schedule: (If in retreat, follow the retreat schedule)
- Get up and eat breakfast. On the first day, mostly rest with some short 10 or 20-minute meditations.
- Go for a walk in nature; bird watch, sit under a tree.
- Meditate, journal, nap.
- Walk, explore trails and so on with a map of course.
- Day two onwards: try all 20-minute meditations. 30 minutes if you can. At least two meditation sessions in the morning, afternoon and evening, mixed with walks, naps, and mindful activity. In short: don’t push yourself too hard if you are new to meditation. It should be a learning experience, not drudgery. That way, you can keep at it. Being patient and compassionate with yourself will come more easily in nature. Practice at home and come back for a meditation retreat another time.
3) Journaling as a wellness retreat
The benefits of journaling are well documented. Express emotions freely, download everything without filtering, and help get clear on issues in your life. Think of it as a kind of wellness through purification of emotions and thoughts.
- Your own: you may have your own journaling style already.
- Free-form. A well known author in an interview on Public Radio in March 2022 stated that she has been writing daily for fifteen minutes in the morning, for years. She finds that it clears her mind, reduces stress, and frees up space for the rest of her day. She stressed that regularity leads to the benefits of journaling. It is now quite comfortable for her to do it, and she would miss it were she not to do it.
- Journal on themes: get it out. Write about what is bothering you. Write about what is wonderful for you. Choose a theme and explore, “What being calm means to me … ” “In elementary school,” “In high school,” “My family…”
4) Immerse in activities in nature: outdoor yoga, forest bathing, tree hugging, meditation
“Nature isn’t only pretty to look at. It can also play an important role for your physical and mental health. Studies have shown nature activities can help you be less stressed, healthier, and happier.” (La Puma)
Being in nature can counter various health issues such as “anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes, and insomnia.” (La Puma)
“ Understanding nature’s therapeutic effects may be arriving at a propitious moment. Some studies have found that anxiety over climate change is a growing phenomenon. Ironically, one of the best antidotes for that might be a dose of green space.” (Yale 360)
5) Exercise-based wellness retreat
Extended periods of yoga, hiking, running, and so on. With a busy head, this can be one of the best ways to get out of your head and into your body. Caution: if exercise is an obsession for you, consider taking a break from pushing yourself hard in order to relax and settle into the rhythm of nature.
- Yoga postures energize the entire body and the mind. Here are thirty yoga poses, for example.
- Running: watch those ankles as you jog our many trails and hills.
- Walking (briskly) can gain all the benefits of more strenuous exercise without the pounding of the joints.
- Find an exercise routine that works for you. Exercise is good between meditation sessions to keep the blood flowing and for caring for the body. It is compassionate to oneself.
- Walk a different trail each day or return to the one you like several times as suits your nature.
6) Choose deep rest
While we suggest you avoid only sleeping, make deep rest your central wellness practice. After getting rest on the first day, on other days get out and explore a little. Your whole being will appreciate it. Sleeping is something that can be done at home when you are not at a cabin in a natural environment.
7) Meet the wildlife
Watch animals and birds, spot as many as you can. Sketch, learn.
8) Explore your interests
Art, writing, reading, composing. Positive engagement in life is a great way to relieve the stress of having to “keep up” with the demands of the modern world.
What if you can’t get away on a wellness retreat soon?
Can’t get away anytime soon? Here are some tips for wellness in everyday life until you can make it here:
Do one or more of these things each day :
- Meditate for at least ten minutes: sit or stand in nature for ten minutes; breathe in and out a sensation of peacefulness for ten minutes; or other guided meditation(s)
- grounding: lie or get bare feet on grass or earth for 20 minutes
- self care: moisturize, take a bath, hydrate, eat healthy foods, exercise
- journal your feelings. It is amazing how it can help to simply state your feelings. One author does this daily as a free writing exercise to clear her mind.
- Nap as needed.
- Care for body, speech, and mind. Take a holistic approach where your being is cared for in terms of rest, and relaxation so that our words are in tune with what is needed for our day.
- Slow down and just breathe, three times a day, even for a minute
- Breathe in through the nose, exhale out the mouth.Three sets, three times daily
- Be kind to yourself. If you set a schedule for meditation and miss a session. Do five minutes and get back to it when you can.
- Check out our online programs.
- Find a local or online meditation group. Here is an online meditation group run by some of our group .