Leading a healthy lifestyle and enjoying a variety of new and different travel destinations aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive concepts—at least, they don’t have to be. An increasing number of avid travelers are starting to realize the joy and importance of continuing their healthy lifestyles while they travel to exotic and other locations.
First let us point out here that the wellness tourism industry’s first glossary of definitions, introduced in early 2018 by the Wellness Tourism Association(WTA), informs us that in today’s world, Wellness Retreat has TWO definitions:
#1 A guided, intention-driven, multi-day program with a set or semi-set schedule, and hosted by one or more facilitators. The program may include learning and lifestyle workshops such as meditation and healthy eating, as well as fitness activities such as yoga, nature walks and hiking.
#2 A smaller facility with accommodations and hospitality services and where the primary purpose is to provide programs and experience for the Wellness Traveler. The facility may have fewer wellness activities, services and facilities than a Wellness Resort.
And, when it comes to a Wellness Vacation, well that is more self-directed.
“A wellness vacation/holiday is wellness travel powered by a wellness-focused intention. Wellness vacations/holidays are typically self-directed with the traveler setting his or her own timetable and schedule. A wellness vacation may also include a wellness retreat,” says the WTA.
When booking either a Wellness Retreat (definition #1) or a Wellness Vacation, the main goal is to find the “right fit” based on your intention or goal. That goal could be to shed a few bad habits in exchange for healthier alternatives. Or it could simply be for a general overall reboot. Whatever your health and fitness goals may be, there are a variety of wellness retreats in Canada and the United States that are geared toward helping you reach those goals and generally improve your overall lifestyle. You’ll find a few options in our Wellness Retreat Guide.
Types of Wellness Retreats
If you’ve been considering going on a wellness retreat in Canada or the United States, then the first step is to figure out what you hope to accomplish. What are your goals? What is the intention or objective? For instance, are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to de-stress or detoxify your body or mind? Or do you simply need to take a “me time” break and get away from the fast-paced hectic nature of your daily life? And, of course, the availability of healthy food options is an integral part of any wellness retreat or wellness vacation.
Whatever it is you need, the carefully researched and “right fit” wellness retreat can help you improve your mental and physical state of being.
Here are just four types:
Active Retreats in Nature
For some people, the word “retreat” is associated with the concept of traveling to exotic locations and practicing yoga or meditating on the beach. While active retreats can certainly include yoga and meditation the focus is more on fitness-type activities in nature. Active retreats are ideal for people who enjoy fitness activities surrounded by nature: hiking, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, or simply walking or running along a beach or forest path.
Meditation, Self-Awareness and Yoga Retreats
Meditation and yoga retreats tend to run at a slower pace but can be challenging nonetheless, especially for people who are accustomed to always being on-the-go. Sometimes, simply slowing down even for a brief meditation or hatha yoga session can be a difficult but necessary practice to help you become one with yourself. Such retreats teach how to incorporate mindfulness in one’s everyday life both on and off the yoga mat. The added bonus is that the regular practice of yoga and meditation also helps tone both the body and the mind.
Digital Detox Retreats
A digital detox is exactly what it sounds like. For an extended period of time (that could be anywhere from three days to a week or longer), you’ll be encouraged to relinquish all technology and learn to just live in the moment without the aid of smartphone or other devices. Technology will always be there when you return to your regular routine, but a digital detox will help remind you of the value of making real human connections, not only with others, but with yourself.
Healthy Learning Retreats Led by Experts
One of the fastest growing categories of wellness retreats are those led by experts including medical professionals, nutritionists, authors, wellness coaches, and a wide range of other health-focused experts. These are typically hosted by an expert with regularly scheduled lectures, workshops, and sessions, as well as other components including healthy food options, fitness activities, and nature.
Wellness retreats can help you gain a greater understanding of the human condition while also helping you cultivate a strong sense of self, push your limitations, and connect with other likeminded individuals who are also looking to improve a specific aspect of or their overall health.
You might also be interested in these tips for planning a wellness retreat or wellness vacation and questions to ask yourself before you book.