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What is meditation?
Are you looking for a meditation retreat? Or are you wondering whether or not meditating on a yoga retreat, meditation weekend or anti-stress weekend is something for you? Experience the healing effects of a relaxed mind! Meditation is the perfect – and perhaps the easiest – way to achieve more calm and balance in a hectic life. You can do it anywhere, it doesn’t take long and anyone can learn how. When meditating, you calm your mind. You let thoughts come and go, without acting on them. Regular meditation helps you cope better with the busyness of the everyday, reduces stress hormones in the body and leaves you feeling healthier and happier.
A meditation or spiritual retreat is the ideal way to focus fully on meditation. Perhaps combining meditation with yoga on a weekend retreat. You’ll learn new ways and types of meditation, practice different techniques and experience a calm, relaxed mind. Meditation is also a great fit for an anti-stress trip, burn-out holiday or wellbeing holiday.
Cleanse the mind on meditation and yoga retreats
‘Meditation is simply about calming the mind, which gives you better insight into yourself’, says Sylvia Olde Scholtenhuis, who leads various meditation and yoga retreats on behalf of Puurenkuur. ‘You learn to understand yourself and become aware of what thoughts and emotions are within you. This insight helps with problems and ups and downs, and to also find ways of looking at things differently. It’s funny how we clean our homes, wash our bodies and clothes… but what about our minds? We leave them to get dirty. Until you start meditating. Because meditating cleanses your mind and leaves you feeling fresh and ready to face life and everything it throws at you.’
The benefits of meditation
Better ideas and decisions. Calmer, better focus and concentration. Increased effectiveness and productivity. These are just a few examples of what meditation can do. The time and effort you invest in learning how to meditate is returned to you in spades. And – trust us – it isn’t half as hard as it seems.
It is a common misconception that meditating involves sitting in the lotus position for hours on end without having a single thought. Who knows – maybe you will get to that point some day. But in the meantime, make it easy for yourself first and foremost. There are all kinds of different meditation techniques. Find out which suits you by trying them out:
Mindfullness: Visualisation or sound meditation
Focusing, for example, on the flame of a candle, a calming photo or a bare wall. In a sound meditation, you focus your attention solely on a mantra or the sound of singing bowls. The exercise is to bring your attention back to the image or sound each time you feel distracted by your thoughts. This settles the mind.
A more active form of meditation whereby you focus entirely on walking. This means that you aren’t thinking about where you are walking to, but just on walking itself. You are aware of how you lift a foot, flex and place it down to take another step. The journey is the goal, not the destination. For those who love to be outdoors, this meditation takes you inwards while being outside.
There are various techniques to this meditation. For example, for each breath you can say ‘in’ on the inhalation and ‘out’ on the exhalation to keep you focused on your breath. Another option is to count. Slowly count to 3 on the in-breath, and the same on the out-breath. In slowing the breath you are also calming the mind.
Meditation tips for beginners
Meditation tip 1:
‘You don’t need to get up before dawn and spend an hour sitting on a cushion. Spending a couple of minutes with your eyes closed and observing your breath on the toilet, bus, train or during your lunch break is just as good and will make you feel much calmer.’
Meditation tip 2
‘Try to do everything in your day with awareness. Become aware of that cup of coffee you’re drinking instead of thoughtlessly gulping away. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Hear the birds singing in the garden. These are also forms of meditation that take you out of your head.
Meditation tip 3:
‘Don’t contort yourself into impossible positions. Sitting up is advisable as many people will fall asleep if they meditate lying down. But it’s fine to sit on a chair rather than on the floor. The legs can be stretched out straight if that’s more comfortable. It doesn’t really matter how it looks; what matters is that you are in a relaxed position.’
Meditation tip 4:
‘Don’t expect yourself to be able to meditate for an hour from the off. You could start with three minutes and do that for a week, for example. Then the following week, you make that five minutes. That way, you’re slowly building up to as long as you want, but if five minutes feels enough to you, that’s just fine. There is no right and wrong in meditation.’
Meditation tip 5:
‘Concentration exercises can help you prepare. Close your eyes, breathe in and out slowly and scan your body from head to toe. Sense where the tension is and try to relax those areas before you begin your meditation.
Fancy a meditation retreat? The Puurenkuur wellness travel specialists would be delighted to talk you through the options. We can then compile your ideal, tailor-made wellness holiday for you. Puurenkuur offers the best and largest selection of spa hotels, health and wellness resorts worldwide.
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