Between everyday stress, politics, and the rise of social media, everything we interact with can start to feel stressful. In a time where the concept of self-care can range from drawing a warm bath to having a therapist on speed dial, we’re more aware of the importance of taking time for ourselves.
In this environment, life-coaching retreats are growing in popularity, supporting those of us who need general guidance, help in dealing with life change, or support to move beyond a major trauma. Whether it’s two days or two weeks, the retreats below offer space, facilities, and knowledgeable and professional support. Here are seven of the best life-coaching retreats in the US.
1. Esalen — Big Sur, California
A fixture of the northern California coastline since 1962, Esalen Institute has been the go-to place for alternative, New Age, and philosophical practices from the moment it opened. In 2016, 15,000 people attended workshops on topics ranging from yoga and meditation to tantric sex.
The workshops currently offered focus on individual growth with a social and community-contribution focus. Visitors can partake in personal coaching classes like Quarter-Life Calling: Creating an Extraordinary Life in Your 20s, or build their own retreat using Esalen’s popular A Time To Reflect program, which allows visitors to enjoy the famous hot springs and organic cuisine, while tailoring daily movement and exploration workshops to their own needs.
If you’re seeking the opportunity to expand an existing life practice, Esalen also offers continuing education courses in a wide range of fields. In an effort to be as inclusive as possible, Esalen provides some scholarship and work study options — so don’t let cost be an impediment to exploring your true self on the Big Sur coast.
2. Desert Harbor — Sandia, New Mexico
When you imagine going on a retreat, you might picture a wild desert with blue skies and brown sagebrush, windswept canyons, and utter silence. It’s a cliched image, but it exists for a reason. Desert Harbor is a tiny but perfectly set-up guest house in New Mexico, right off the Turquoise Trail between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
The center offers personal retreats, which can range in length, since the schedule is flexible and based around your needs. Life coaching is available in one or two-hour sessions. The facilities are eco-friendly and off-grid, powered completely by solar panels. It’s the perfect environment for finding inner peace.
3. Kripalu — Stockbridge, Massachusetts
This gentle, yoga-based community and workshop center began as an ashram deep in the Berkshire mountains.
The center has established itself as a strong base for those seeking certification in massage therapy, therapeutic yoga, ayurveda, and a new program in Mindful Outdoor Leadership, which is designed to help integrate love of nature with mindful, appreciative living. Kripalu’s enormous facility sits on the edge of a lake and is surrounded by forest. The life-coaching retreats are interspersed with regular workshops on mind-body awareness, yoga, and a range of other topics, from writing classes to neuroscience. Workshops and classes offered are always changing, but are frequently repeated.
If you’d like to tailor your Kripalu experience to your needs, you can also select an R&R Retreat, which allows you to stay as long as you like and participate in all of the daily movement activities, as well as scheduled personal life coach and nutritionist sessions. Well-known holistic teacher and life coach Stephen Cope is based out of Kripalu and frequently teaches classes there. Check the calendar for his schedule.
4. Omega Institute — Rhinebeck, NY
As with most of the other retreat centers listed here, Omega Institute offers a wide range of programs. The main focus of this educational nonprofit is on social justice, particularly trauma recovery and resilience, with special programs for veterans and women recovering from sexual assault.
The facility has a life coach training school, called Coaching for Transformation, which is a 10-month certification program specializing in helping coaches to understand clients from an intersectional perspective. Coaches trained at Omega learn about the social factors that might impact the lives of those around them and undertake 40 practice hours of coaching in the local community.
If receiving help from others is what you need at the moment, Omega also offers a range of accessible workshops, with more being added every month; check out their schedule page for current offerings. You can schedule personal sessions with onsite coaches, who are also teachers in the coach training program — so you know they know what they’re talking about!
5. Art of Living Retreat Center — Boone, North Carolina
A beautiful locale nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the Art of Living is consistently listed as one of the best retreat centers in the US. Their popular Happiness Retreat helps participants reduce stress and find their inner purpose through quiet movement, meditation, gratitude practice, and more.
Consultations are available, with a focus on ayurvedic medicine and lifestyle balance through natural remedies. Guests can also take movement or pottery classes, enjoy freshly-prepared organic meals, guided nature walks, chanting, and an evening bonfire.
In addition, the facility has a spa on site offering a variety of treatments. After the consultations and classes, you can simply sink into a lavishing treatment and be utterly pampered for an hour and a half.
6. Nurture Through Nature Retreat Center — Denmark, Maine
You can book a personalized holistic life-coaching retreat with Jen, which includes 12 hours of coaching and a stay in one of their yurts or eco-cabins. If you prefer to explore life coaching in a group setting, you can check the schedule of upcoming workshops for a variety of options. Workshop facilitators also collaborate with the space to lead programs ranging from weekend mom getaways to sacred chanting or silent meditation retreats.
The center is open year round, so you may want to consider the silence and peacefulness of a winter visit; cabins and yurts are fully heated, and warm water for showers is available, as well as a Finnish steam sauna.
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