Have you ever wanted to go on a month-long meditation retreat in Bali or Tulum, surrounded by blue water, eating fresh fruits, and kissed by the sun? Being one with yourself, detoxing from the outside world’s distractions. The dream right ?! But let’s be real, it’s not easy, and it’s expensive. Well, you can create your own meditation retreat at home now.
How to do a meditation retreat at home?
In this article I touch on the benefits of having a break during the year to reconnect with yourself. I also give you a full schedule to plan your days during this home made retreat. Spiritual retreat, silence retreat, mindful retreat, whatever you want to call it. If it resonates with you then it is for you.
‘I JUST WANT A BREAK’ – 5 words I have heard many many times at work, growing up, basically everywhere. And that is because we ALL go through that phase in our lives (sometimes several times) when we are on the edge of a mental breakdown. We never stop, we are constantly surrounded by outside stimuli to :
- Purchase services,
- Show up and show out.
So when do we rest ? When do we go back “home” ? Home in this case is YOU.
There are many reasons we might want to create a day-long meditation retreat at home
- To reconnect with ourself
- If we can’t afford a meditation retreat abroad
- Afraid of flying
- Obligations and commitments at home
- To take time for ourselves
- To detox from tv, social media
- Take a break from the outside world
- Feeling lost
- Curious about it
- To try a deeper practice of meditation
- Bored of a daily routine
- Requires inspiration for a project and needs silence and stillness
And many more. I don’t believe there should be a specific reason to do anything in life. On occasion, some things are just put in front of us for a purpose.
We just need to listen.
The first time I have heard of a silent retreat was at a house party and a friend mentioned how a day Vipassana retreat in England’s countryside was beneficial for him. He went with no expectations and a limp (due to a knee injury). Well, he returned calmer, and was no longer limping. I thought “What? So all you did was to meditate and be silent for 10 days and it healed your knee ?” I was stunned.
Then it made sense !
When our attention is on ourselves and not on the action of doing something, talking to someone, etc.. it is effortless to become present.
Before we jump straight in, shall we get some inspiration first from what would happen at a Vipassana retreat ?
What would happen at a Vipassana retreat ?
Vipassana means “to see things the way they truly and authentically are”. This is what the practice lays on. It is a time for introspection and self-purification open to everybody. In most cases, it is free but open to donations.
Most people will tell you they go on this retreat for many different reasons but mainly to get to know themselves better.
Think about it…
…Some of us don’t actually know our real selves outside of the comfort of our family, career, or social group. Therefore, to spend a little time alone, if we do, is usually indulging in digital activities like scrolling for hours, watching tv, etc..
Some will say it is a challenge to stay silent. Imagine being surrounded by strangers and not having to think about what to tell them or trying to be seen under a certain light. Just being. The dream of an introvert like me.
A typical day at a Vipassana retreat if you have the chance to attend one would be :
- 4:30 am – 2 hours meditation with the group or alone in your room
- 6:30 am – breakfast, followed by 2 hours meditation solo
- 11:00 – vegetarian lunch
- 12 to 13 – rest and walk in parks, ask questions to coaches
- 1 pm to 5 pm – meditation
- 5 pm – tea and snacks
- 6 pm – guided meditation
- 7 pm – speech by coach
- 8:30 pm – meditation
- 10 pm – bedtime
Exciting huh ?! Well it is definitely intense and let’s be real not anyone would be comfortable in this particular setting. So having your own day long (or however long you want) meditation retreat at home sounds like the perfect match.
What are the true benefits of a meditation retreat at home ?
To avoid burnout in 2023, I suggest to take a day off each month or one week off every 6 months to practice a homemade retreat.
Alternatively, if you like traveling solo you could incorporate your practice to your holiday trip. This is what I have done last year when I went to Marbella in Spain.
There are several benefits but the followings are the reasons I personally dived into it.
1. A digital fast
What a time to be alive eh ?! If there’s one thing the quarantine has shown us is that technology is a blessing.
Although I easily disconnect from my phone, I truly am grateful to be able to FaceTime my nephew while he’s living in a different country.
However, from time to time it is crucial to unplug yourself from blue light screens, from ads, from the freaking 4G, and its toxic waves. You will benefit from a sounder sleep and an uplift of your mood.
It’s widely known that not only social media makes you unproductive but also causes people to feel anxious and pressured.
So while you’re at home during this sacred time of oneness, please disconnect from the outside world for a few hours at a time.
Check your phone to make sure everybody’s safe and the world is not ending, then go back to your practice.
2. To take a break from your thoughts
Not only I am an introvert but I am also an over-thinker.
If you’re like me, you can relate to how draining it is at times.
I get a huge feeling of wanting to tell my brain to SHUT UP. Well not that easy when you are constantly involved in your daily activities. If you choose to introduce complete silence in your day you will become more present.
As far as I’m concerned to be silent is not a huge deal. However we all have that one friend or colleague at work who cannot stop talking, even if it is just small talk.
Some people have the inability to be comfortable in silence.
This exercise is perfect for them. All of a sudden, when you let silence take over, you no longer are in the appearance or the make-believe.
You are just you here and now.
3. Practice longer meditations
I love to meditate and I particularly enjoy the way it makes me feel afterward. Although, it’s safe to say that I have never been a long meditator.
30 minutes is the max for me and I’m pretty content with it.
However, I am aware that you can double the effects of meditation by a prolonged practice. Therefore, having a silent meditation retreat at home can help in this matter.
4. Let go and forgive
It might be a weird one for some but I find that focusing on being present for several hours, helps in distancing yourself from conflicts or past traumas.
We’re going back to what I was saying about overthinking but we all have our reminiscing moments. Can’t help but think of that particular moment, event or dispute.
Practicing being in the moment, allows a better approach to forgiveness too.
Once you quiet your mind, you simply remember how grateful and blessed you are to just being alive. Let go and release the hurt, the pain, and the resentment.
How do you create your meditation retreat at home ?
- Tell your relatives or partner you’re going on a short social hiatus.
What we don’t want is for your loved ones to worry about why they have not heard from you. But also for them to be aware that you are to not be disturbed (except for emergencies).
- This should definitely be an opportunity to incorporate more whole plant-based foods, some prefer to intermittent or water fast, which is even better.
But each to its own !
So make sure your fridge is packed up with good food for the soul. I recommend plenty of fruits, possibly to cook a batch of a veggie curry or any veggie one-pot meal. That way you don’t have to worry about cooking for a few days. Heavy meals will distract you and make you sleepy.
- Be intentional. Have the desire to experience something meaningful and make time for it. No phone, no TV, no radio, no social event… these are hard to cut off for some of us. Therefore, without the intention, be prepared to fail.
I think it takes a scheduled routine to stick to anything. Unless you are a king at mastering discipline. So here’s a plan that suits beginners and advanced meditators :
6 am or 7 am: Wake up time
Drink 2 glasses of water (room temperature or warm)
Conscious breathing for 2 minutes
Child pose with arms along the body for 5 minutes
10 minutes (beginners) – 30 minutes (advanced) meditation
8 am to 12 pm: ‘Active’ time
Outside walk in a park or grounding in your garden (in you have one)
Full body stretch
2 hours Meditation : take breaks every 30 minutes to hydrate and stretch
If you can do a non-stop 2 hours meditation that’s great but don’t push yourself too hard if it doesn’t feel comfortable.
12:30 pm: Lunch time
As mentioned previously, we should try to eat foods in a conscious way. Nothing fried, overly processed, or too fatty/sweet.
1.30 pm to 4 pm: 2nd Active time
2 hours Meditation
Journaling, write down mantras
4 pm: Tea time
Choose your preferred tea and a light healthy snack.
5 pm: Cooldown
2 hours meditation
8 pm to 10 pm : Dinner, followed by Bed time
3. Active times
After a meditation, stepping into an active time brings us back to a material dimension. It is as important as long as it’s done with intention.
What you read should be uplifting and light.
While you stretch you want to focus on deep long breaths.
When you eat make sure there is no distraction; enjoy and bless the food that’s in front of you. Keep your mind on the act of eating and fuelling your body.
At the end of your retreat, it is time to come back reality. Make sure this is done softly and smoothly.
I hope that this guide for a meditation retreat at home has helped you to bring some light on your spiritual journey.
I would love for you to come back to this post after trying it out at least for a day and share your feedback.
Thank you for reading.