Sandeep and I met in different locations (the spa, the palace, the outdoor yoga pavilion), always immersed in nature, to the sights and sounds and smells of Earth. Most of our meditation sessions involved me asking him questions that helped empty my mind, ending with breathing and relaxing my body. I was physically removed from chaos, but also mentally purging it, too. I achieved better posture and felt more at ease, I felt more intuitive and more confident. I was also hyper aware of my surroundings, and even had a variety of metaphysical moments, like astral projection, which sounds strange, but when you reach a point in meditation, it’s not uncommon.
Ultimately, I learned how my body and mind is connected, and treating your body well serves your mind well (and vice versa). Sometimes thinking about meditation is meditation, and as long as you create the time and mental space for it, even as little as five minutes, you’re halfway there. As Sandeep continually emphasized, meditation is all about breathing.
Whether you sit, lie, or stand, focusing on being aware and present in your surroundings can help bring calmness, focus, and clarity,” says Malminder Gill, a licensed therapist and coach and founder of Hypnotherary London (hypnosis-in-london.com), who says breath awareness and mindful breathing can help improve concentration and reduce anxiety.
Meditation is becoming aware of any limitations and trying to change these limitations to something positive. It’s not just about closing your eyes, but to observe yourself, too. Ultimately, meditation is surrendering yourself and clearing your conscience. It helps with stress, it helps conquer anxiety, it’s therapeutic, it makes you self-aware and it creates a positive environment. Meditation is also one of the oldest practices on Earth, proving it has stood the test of time for deeper knowledge of self-awareness and inner calm. “Meditation helps you let go of bias, feel calmness, and allow yourself to see openly and clearly without judgment or distractions,” says Gill. “It aims at having awareness of the obstacles in the way of your focus. It focuses on compassion, deep thinking, and feeling at peace.”
Gill helps high-profile clients meditate and gain clarity in their lives, and she makes sure they carve out time to meditate when they travel. “Most people prefer a quiet space so they’re not interrupted, but if that’s difficult, I recommend walking meditation. You can feel grounded as your feet connect with the ground. You don’t have to travel abroad to do this as you can practice on a daily commute or lunch break. Notice the sound of birds, how leaves fall to the ground, the beauty and colors of nature. Feel how your body reacts to the air, the weather, the way you walk, focusing on deep breathing, standing tall, relaxing your shoulders, and relieving any tensions. Don’t stress if your practice slips. Staying present in the moment of your travel will give you similar mindful and relaxation benefits.”
While you can meditate anywhere, even in busy places like New York City (I go to Modrn Sanctuary (modrnsanctuary.com), a holistic and alternative wellness center), there are outdoor-centric destinations that provide an excellent environment, and you don’t necessarily need to check into an exotic wellness retreat like I did to get started. Some great meditation destinations can be found in stunning places around the world, and immersing in nature helps create tranquility. What matters most is being able to just shift your mind temporarily and focus on your breathing.
Here are four beautiful destinations that are not only perfect for meditation, they also make unforgettable vacation spots.