Sacred sites and spiritual excursions in Yucatan, Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Granada
by Karen Joslin
The hectic pace of modern life is enough to make anyone crave a little relaxation every now and then. Add a touch of divine inspiration, a dash of introspection, and an ample dose of healthy living and you’ve got a spiritual retreat. While spiritual retreats can be found all over the world, the tranquil beauty of the Caribbean provides an ideal backdrop for those in search of rest and rejuvenation.
Yoga retreats take place throughout the Caribbean. Most retreats last about a week and typically include numerous yoga sessions, meditation, vegetarian and other healthy cuisine, and time to relax. Massage may be offered as well, and there’s always time for excursions to nearby attractions. For instance, Maya Tulum in the Yucatan peninsula offers a number of side trips, such as snorkeling in the reefs, a tour of the Tulum ruins, and a full day exploring the Sian Kaan biosphere preserve. Some retreats may include in-depth discussions on the spiritual basis of yoga, while others may offer guidance on resolving troublesome issues. In any case, yoga retreats focus on enhancing the well-being of both body and spirit.
Maho Bay Camps in the U.S. Virgin Islands host several retreats annually, each led by different groups. One of these is the Omega Institute, with design-it-yourself retreats available through the winter months. A number of teachers in various subjects can be found at each retreat, and guests pursue the discipline in which they’re most interested. Recent workshops include QiGong, watercolor painting, remote viewing (the ability to psychically see other places), world dance, and mindfulness.
If communing with nature brings you bliss, you may enjoy Swimming with Dolphins in Bimini (the Bahamas). In addition to swimming with wild dolphins in the ocean, this retreat includes other interesting activities. Travelers visit sacred sites, including the ruins of a reputed Atlantean temple. A dip in The Healing Hole’s renowned waters imbued with lithium soothes bathers.
Those who find more inspiration on the sea may wish to try a sailing retreat or spiritual cruise. A few companies offer sailing retreats meant to target specific spiritual priorities. For instance, the Mind, Body, and Spirit sailing retreat in the Grenadine islands offers guidance and coaching to listen to your inner needs. Participants can help sail the boat from island to island, or just relax and let the crew handle it. An on-board chef prepares all meals, making use of fresh, local ingredients.
Zen and the Art of Sailing introduces attendees to Hinduism and Buddhism. The retreat discusses differences between Eastern and Western religions and teaches newcomers how to meditate. They then apply Zen principles to sailing, making it an ideal excursion for people who are more hands-on.
For a more metaphysical experience, try the annual Sea Angel Cruise and Inner Wellness Conference. This week-long cruise through the Caribbean offers workshops on a myriad of topics such as Reiki, communicating with animals, astrology, healing with crystals and gemstones, working with angels, communicating with the dead, and Shamanic journeying.
Because spiritual retreats in the Caribbean are often special events limited to specific dates, people interested in signing up should do their research early. With a little advance planning, your next trip could be truly heavenly.
About the author:
Karen Joslin writes for Bahamas-Guide.info, Grenada-Guide.info, and other Segisys travel Web sites.