Retreat!

Men’s Journal Magazine – February 2007

Here’s the cruel truth. Sometimes life grabs you by the balls and twists. Depending upon your point of view, it could be the fault of your mother (Freudian), the planets (Aquarian), or (gasp!) you (e.g. Mel Gibson). We’re not here to assign blame. Just to remind you that stress kills (or at least fucks up your hair and sex life), and despite what George W. says, retreat is sometimes best. So the next time your pulse quickens, and you snap at your woman or child unprovoked, check into one of these retreat destinations, guaranteed to clear your mind and heal your soul.

Lifetime Retreats – Kangaroo Island, Australia

Big nature, power yoga and healthy cuisine converge at this family-owned luxury property with one purpose – to make you feel good again. You’ll stay in your own plush chalet overlooking the pristine southern sea and a sick white sand beach that would make a movie star jealous. Rachel Hanneford, owner/chef/yogi has both Sir Mick and the Dalai Lama in her Rolodex and offers daily yoga and Tibetan Meditation, but everything – itineraries, menus, music – is personalized. Remember that humans are outnumbered by 10:1 on Kangaroo Island. There are mobs of kangaroos, colonies of seals, and hundreds of koalas dotting miles of stunning, unspoiled coastline. Exploration is mandatory. www.life-time.com.au; 011.61.8.8354.2368; doubles from $1200/night all-inclusive

Sila Evason Hideaway – Ko Samui, Thailand

Think Zenned-out limestone, wood and glass villas with private pools, butler service and 270-degree beach views. Not to mention, fine dining and a 300 label wine cellar. But that’s the gravy. You’re here for the outstanding private yoga instruction and imaginative spa that will rub, stretch and beat the stress right out of you. You may even sign on for a palm reading or sound healing session where Tibetan bowls will vibrate your chakras into compliance. No joke, this place could change your life.www.sixsenses.com; 011.66.77.2.45678; doubles from $450/night.

Dhama Joti Vipassana Centre – Yangon, Myanmar

Maybe all you need to do is shut the fuck up… for ten straight days. Vipassana meditation, the original Buddhist practice, was perfected in Burma and is now practiced all over the world. You’ll stay in concrete dorms, eat one meal a day and spend the rest of your time in sitting or walking meditation. No talking and no writing and definitely no cell phones. It’s challenging, deep work. You’ll meditate with dozens of warm-hearted locals, who view silent retreats as a vital tool that helps them live under a brutal military dictatorship with incredible dignity. There are life lessons everywhere you look. www.joti.dhama.org; 011.95.1.549.290; vipassana retreats are free worldwide, funded on a donation basis. If you can’t make it to Asia, dive into silence at a Burmese-style Vipassana retreat center in the Sierra Foothills of California. www.mahavana.dhamma.org; 559.877.4386.

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