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Do you ever feel like you need to get away from it all, so that you can start to find yourself again?  A retreat may be the perfect answer for you.  Read on to learn more.

What is a Retreat?

A retreat means different things to different people.  It can be somewhere for you to relax and rejuvenate or you can use the retreat to regain your health.  A retreat can help you to reassess and reawaken your spirituality.  Retreats can be done alone, in silence, or in groups.

Why Go on a Retreat?

Retreat There are several reasons to go on a retreat.  No matter what your reason is however, you are generally trying to change your life and yourself for the better.  Some reasons for retreating include:
• To relax deeply
• To rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit
•  To take the time to reflection on yourself and your life
• To find clarity on an issue or the direction you should be taking in your life
• To find meaning in your life that is more than just material things or things that happen in day to day life – your “purpose”
• To heal yourself
• To practice your faith in a supportive environment
• For contemplation
• To create things
• To tap into the universal energy that surrounds us
• To get in touch with your higher self

Types of Retreats

There are many different types of retreats so you are sure to find one that suits your needs.  Retreats can be located in places such as spas, cabins, monasteries, hot springs, bed and breakfasts, zendos, ashrams, religious centres, or specialised retreat getaways.  You can choose to go somewhere that makes you feel the most comfortable.  It doesn’t even have to be a structured retreat – if you are going away for the purpose of contemplation and to “get away from it all”, even a camping spot can be the ideal retreat.

Some types of retreats include:

• Directed Retreats – can go for as long as a week, and the person meets daily with a director that helps them to find what they are looking for, through things such as prayer, meditation, self contemplation, visualisation, and so forth.
• Guided Retreats – these occur in smaller groups (usually five to ten people).  In these retreats, the group of people participate in a daily conference and you are left on your own for the rest of the day.  A director will give you personal guidance as well.
• Hosted Retreats - these work best for business seminars, staff meetings, workshops and so forth.
• Individual Retreats – this is where you get time away just for yourself.  Whatever time period you choose, you can do things such as read, write, draw, walk, pray, meditate, and sleep in order to reconnect with yourself and rejuvenate your spirit.
• Conference-type Retreats – these are usually for larger groups of people and they centre on a specific theme.  A presenter or retreat leader guides the retreat.
• Silent Retreats – this is where you remain silent for either the entire retreat for large portions of it.  There are varying degrees of silence – some retreats have designated “speaking times” during meals or when getting guidance from a director etc.
• Solitude Retreat – this is like a silent retreat, but not only do you not talk to others, you do not interact with them at all.
• Structured Retreat – this is where you go on a retreat that operates to a schedule.  Thus structure can be determined by yourself, the retreat director, or some sort of a tradition such as a religious tradition.  The retreat can be rigidly structured or have some flexibility built in.
• Unstructured Retreat – this is a retreat in which you are free to do as you please. These are particularly good if you just like to let things go with the flow.
• Fasting Retreat – you undergo the retreat while you are either abstaining from food or activities.  The strictness of your fast is completely up to you – some people may abstain from food altogether while others decide to have no sugar, no dessert, no meat, and so forth.  Activities you can abstain from include watching television, reading, sex, and so forth.  It is up to you.


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