by Wendy Kagan
The Hudson Valley is retreat central: We're where city and suburb folk go to slough off the debris of everyday life and reconnect with something bigger. Yet so many of us who live here don't take full advantage of the wealth of retreat centers in our midst. The following is a sampling of spring and early summer retreats from river-hugging Garrison to mountain-perched Menla.
Sky Lake Lodge
True Nature: Writing and Drawing Your Life with Barbara Bash
May 18-19, 2013
The place: This Shambhala contemplative center for meditation, arts, and community is nestled in a Shawangunk forest setting. While single rooms are rarely available, retreats at Sky Lake are affordably priced and open to on-site lodgers or commuters.
The retreat: Spend a weekend creating your own illustrated journal pages that combine writing and drawing, and that draw inspiration from the spring woods around Sky Lake. Teacher Barbara Bash guides you with techniques and traditions following the ancient principles of heaven, earth, and human.
Menla Mountain Retreat
Sound Healing Retreat Intensive
John Beaulieu, Mitch Nur, Philippe Garnier, and Peter Blum
June 20-23, 2013
The place: Set on a 320-acre private nature reserve in the Catskills, Menla is the realized vision of renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher Robert Thurman. Highlights include a beautiful new spa, yoga studio, and hiking trails.
The retreat: Some of America's foremost experts in the art and science of sound healing will lead this four-day immersion. Bliss out to Tibetan singing bows, crystal singing bowls, biosonic tuning forks, and more, and learn the science behind their healing powers. Learn more
Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Yoga Adventure Camp for Grownups
June 23-28. 2013
The place: Omega may well be the jewel in the crown of Hudson Valley retreat centers. With its walking paths, gardens, lake, delicious communal dining, and varied accommodations, the 200-acre campus radiates beauty and serenity.
The retreat: With the playful YogaSlackers team leading the way, you'll enjoy daily yoga (including AcroYoga slackline yoga), climbing, trail running, and more.
The Garrison Institute
Sharon Salzburg & Rachel Cowan:
Celebrate Independence with Us - Loving Kindness as a Path to Inner Freedom
July 5-7, 2013
The place: A former Capuchin monastery overlooking the Hudson River on 95 peaceful acres, with a meditation hall, lodgings, dining hall, library, theater, and many walking paths threading through a parklike setting.
The retreat: Enjoy an opportunity to explore lovingkindness meditation with its best-known teacher, Sharon Salzburg, and gain new insights into the practice from Rachel Cowan. While Salzburg brings a Buddhist approach and Cowan expounds on Jewish traditions, both teachers offer a non-sectarian, accessible meditation practice that is open to all.