Thriving Together Series

Thriving Together Series: The Value of Mindfulness Retreats


By: Laura Winkler, Graduate Internship Supervisor/Career Advisor, University Career Services

“Do not pursue the past. Do not love yourself in the future. The past no longer is. The future is yet to come. Look deeply at life as it is. In the very here and now, dwelling in stability and freedom.” – Buddha

Could you use some time away from your regular routine to focus on your well-being? Mindfulness meditation retreats provide a respite from the pressures of everyday life, offering transformative experiences that help us connect with our true purpose. These retreats not only offer a reprieve from our hectic routines, but also support our holistic well-being by tending to our physical, mental, and emotional needs. Let’s explore the well-being value of mindfulness retreats.

Taking a retreat offers you a variety of benefits that include renewed energy, creative space, and time for purposeful reflection, according to this article from

You have many options for how to focus your time on a well-being retreat. This blog mentions examples such as personal growth, self-discovery, yoga, spirituality, meditation, breathwork, nutrition, fitness, leadership, spa experiences, silence, dance and movement, plant-based medicine, emotional healing, mental health, nature, business, sensuality and sexuality, self-care, relationships, and more.

When I made the decision to attend a three-day mindfulness conference hosted by Boston University’s School of Medicine in October 2022, I embarked on a journey filled with uncertainty. Despite my limited experience with mindfulness practices, I was intrigued by the idea of learning meditation and was ready to test the waters.

Little did I anticipate that this experience would exceed all my expectations, leaving an enduring impact on me both personally and professionally. Here are my top five insights gleaned from this impactful meditation conference.

  1. Meditation centers the mind in the present moment.

Initially, I was skeptical about my ability to meditate given the restless and anxious nature of my mind. While I was open to the idea of trying meditation, I had doubts about my ability to excel with it. However, with persistence, I discovered that I have the capacity to anchor my mind to the present, allowing me to experience moments of calm. Even brief instances of centering myself in the present moment have brought me a sense of relief.

  1. Meditation is a personal journey.

Throughout the retreat, I embarked on a process of trial and error, exploring various meditation approaches and tools. It became evident that our preferences for meditation styles varied significantly. Some participants gravitated toward guided and structured practices, while others – like myself – preferred less structured meditations by tapping into our imagination and utilizing metaphors to evoke a sense of calm.

  1. Focusing on breathwork is essential.

After hours of refining my breathwork during the retreat, I discovered its profound capacity to anchor me to the present moment. I realized that by slowing my breath and inducing relaxation throughout my body, I could effectively center myself. I also discovered various breathing techniques that uniquely address a range of emotions like anxiety, anger, and fear.

  1. Practicing mindfulness within a learning community is beneficial.

I quickly discovered that learning meditation with fellow peers enriches our experience. During group sessions, I gained valuable insights into the diverse aspects of mindfulness from both facilitators and fellow participants. Meeting people at various stages of their mindfulness journeys – from novices to experts – offered enlightening perspectives. Moreover, observing the positive effects of meditation on my peers underscored the profound impact of this transformative practice.

  1. Sustaining mindfulness practice following a retreat is challenging.

I returned from my mindfulness conference with a greater sense of calm and openness. When I shared these positive effects with a friend, her response mirrored my inner transformation: “I can tell. You are actually glowing!”

Despite these initial euphoric moments, I’ve encountered challenges in maintaining my meditation practice amidst the demands of everyday life. While I haven’t gotten my radiant glow back, I now feel better equipped to navigate life’s daily hurdles. Most importantly, I’m driven by an unwavering commitment to continue growing on my mindfulness journey.

Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being offers a variety of resources to help Mason’s students, faculty, and staff enhance their mindfulness practices. Among these resources, Mason’s Koru Mindfulness training has played a pivotal role in helping me sustain the meditation practice that I initially cultivated during the retreat.

Now that I’ve highlighted the amazing benefits of mindfulness retreats, why not consider making your next vacation a mindfulness retreat? Rather than stressing over trip planning, envision yourself immersed in a prearranged retreat dedicated to enhancing your well-being. Discover nearby mindfulness retreat options at A mindfulness retreat is an invaluable experience that rejuvenates you without requiring a vacation from your vacation!

Additional Resources

Join Mason’s upcoming Koru Mindfulness sessions online.

Enjoy articles on all aspects of mindfulness meditation at

Learn more about research on the well-being benefits of mindfulness from The Greater Good Science Center.

Write one of these Thriving Together Series features! We’re looking for contributions on all topics related to well-being. Read other Thriving Together Series articles here and contact us at for guidelines. Thank you for helping our Mason community thrive together online!