Two-thirds of the world are now mobile phone owners and more than four billion people are on the Internet, according to global creative agency WeAreSocial. In this day and age, everything has gone digital. Books are switched up for Kindles, handwritten letters are scrapped for quick text messages or a nifty Snapchat, and instead of talking, we update our personal social media pages instead.
Finding quiet time alone is becoming a harder task to achieve each day, with pings or pop-ups buzzing our phones at any second. True silence seems verily impossible, so much so that in order to attain it, we have to buy that privilege by signing up for silent retreats.
A silent retreat is a meditation-based voyage that typically lasts for 10 days in green or mountainous landscapes, where any form of verbal communication and technology use is banned. It also usually involves abstinence from vices, technology and meat.
Such silent retreats may not necessarily appeal to everyone, but they have become a popular alternative to an ordinary beach vacation. By distancing travellers from city life and untethering 24/7 digital connections, these retreats aim to help guests achieve relaxation and a state of peace.
Celebrities like Emma Watson and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen have enrolled themselves in these intense courses, to recharge and escape from the hustle and bustle of life. If a silent retreat sounds right up your alley, read on about four possible locations to consider if you want to get away from the madding crowd.
The Shreyas Retreat in Bangalore offers Mouna, a seven-day programme named after the Tamil translation of “time spent in silence”. Packages include personalised daily meditation, yoga and massage sessions, as well as wellness consultations. Moreover, the retreat offers facilities like yoga studios, swimming pools, jacuzzis, saunas, libraries and even a theatre. Guests will stay in either poolside or garden-tented cottages, that are minutes away from 25 acres of landscaped gardens, organic farms, and medicinal herb plantations. Better yet, a structured agenda designed for each individual is arranged on the first day of the silent retreat, so you can unwind in the luxurious resort without worrying about making plans.
Hridaya Yoga offers a 10-day silent meditation retreat in its yoga centre in a secluded beach town of Mazunte, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It features morning and afternoon routines that offer meditation, lectures, poetry readings and more. Hatha yoga is also practiced — which is suitable for beginners and those new to the meditation scene. The team at Hridaya Yoga believes in its purification process, by using meditation to release old and negative emotions to access “the deeper levels of the soul”. With the beach as your horizon, Hridaya Yoga is the place to go for absolute tranquility.
Held in September, this four-day silent self-realisation retreat is catered to career-driven women seeking for a break from their responsibilities. Tomeekha Pitre, founder of Meek Retreats, wanted to provide a safe space for like-minded ladies to relax and get away from the bustling city. Guests will stay at the luxurious Pinnacle Estate by San Jacinto mountains during the retreat and join for daily yoga and meditation classes. Bask in the warm Californian breeze and release all your pent-up stress as you gaze at the two beautiful waterfalls nearby.
Set in the remote island of Amantani, this five-day silent meditation and hatha yoga retreat will take you through three complete days of silence. Guests will meet at Cusco to travel by boat to the secluded island. Apart from meditation, it conducts visits to ancient temples Pachamama and Pachatata as well as trips to sacred Lake Titicaca where you’ll see scenic coastal views of Bolivia. The two temples are closed all year round but are opened once for the annual fertility ritual, that is believed to produce bountiful harvests on the island for the rest of the year.