​​What is a retreat?

Written by: Konstantin Neumann



Time to read 6 min

Have you ever come across the word retreat in your search for relaxation and self-knowledge? You have met completely balanced people after such an experience, and now you ask yourself the question: What is a retreat? Unfortunately, it is not possible to answer this question in one sentence, because there are now many different types of retreats. Therefore, we would like to give you a more detailed insight into the topic. This way, you can find out if a retreat could be a new and valuable experience for you.

What does the term "retreat" mean?

What does "retreat" mean? Retreating is the act of moving back or withdrawing from something, and this already provides a first part of the answer to the question of what exactly a retreat is. You retreat from your everyday life with the intention of being completely in tune with yourself and enjoying more mindfulness again.

So, what is a retreat? Is it an isolation from the environment, or is it a journey to get to know yourself better? That always depends a bit on your attitude and your goals. Do you want to be completely for yourself - or do you want to dive into new insights in a group under guidance?

What does “retreat” mean? That depends on you - what does it mean to you, what does it bring you? And, of course, on the environment and the design. There are many types of retreats and no set rules on how to design them. To get a clear answer to this question, you should simply experience it yourself. We are curious to hear what you say afterward.

This is a retreat: definition in practice - what matters?

It’s not so easy to explain what a retreat is. What does it really depend on? Many people confuse the retreat with a recreational vacation that takes place in a spa hotel or some other relaxing place. Of course, there are such retreats. But the real meaning of a retreat goes far beyond massages and healthy food. Instead of seeking relaxation in a specific place, it is about discovering one's own inner balance. Often, the focus is on a specific point, such as relaxation, clarity, inner balance or even physical health.

Retreat - what is it? The five pillars of a mental retreat!

What is a retreat? Is it a journey? Does it need a hotel? Or is it an experience you can have anywhere? The retreat is based on five pillars that merge into one big whole:

  • Mindfulness
  • Self-awareness
  • Meditation
  • Silence
  • Reflection

What is the origin of retreats? Did you know that retreats were originally borrowed from Buddhism? The retreat into solitude helped Buddhist monks and monastery dwellers to focus on their own perception and to have healing experiences.

Buddhist statue

Experience with meaning: Retreat for a variety of reasons

So what is a retreat in practice? Now you know a lot about the theory, but you still haven't gotten beyond it. The retreat is a journey into the self that expects more from you than just a packed suitcase. A retreat can be painful, exciting, scary, fulfilling, and cathartic. Especially if you haven't ventured into your inner self before, it can also be a bit upsetting at first. That's why it's helpful to do a guided retreat, maybe even one for beginners. Of course, you could also go straight to a Buddhist monastery and meditate for a week wrapped in deep silence - but it probably just won't work for you from 0 to 100.

Which retreat is best? Ideally, for your first experience, you'll use a travel or group package, so you don't have to worry about the framework. Your advantage with such a guided trip is that you are not completely on your own. You participate in a rigorous sequence of experiences consisting of meditation, yoga, mindfulness, lectures and more. You don't have to spend a lot of time learning about what a retreat is and how to find yourself - on a planned and guided retreat, you get a set structure that supports you on your personal journey.

The Meditation Retreat - a journey into your own consciousness

What is a meditation retreat? Meditation is a powerful tool in the search for you and your inner center. If you manage to get out of your everyday life with only this tool, you are ready for a retreat. Although you may think that such an experience is not necessary with regular meditation, it is recommended. You do learn about mindfulness during meditations, but have you ever focused on yourself alone for several days? That's exactly what a retreat is - it simply offers you a completely different setting here.


Psychedelics Retreat - the special form of mindfulness journey

What is special about the Psychedelic Retreat? A Psychedelic Healing Retreat is special among self-discovery journeys. Here, legal psychedelic substances are used for the retreat and the journey to yourself. Everything you can experience in this setting is for the purpose of changing your perception and using your mental capacities.

There are various psychedelic retreats you can participate in, such as a mushroom retreat, an LSD retreat, or an ayahuasca retreat. Unlike purely meditative retreats, on such a retreat, you have psychedelic options that are hidden from you in your everyday life. You are in a completely protected setting and can help yourself to more self-discovery with the help of legal substances. The advantage is that you are not alone on such a retreat weekend. A carefully selected group comes together to have a very special experience during a Spirit Retreat.

At MODERNmind, we have developed Psychedelic Retreats, where you can find a new approach to yourself under psychological supervision with legal substances. Through our care, you are in safe hands and can get the best out of the retreat for you personally and your individual journey to yourself.

As you can see, there is no general answer to what exactly a retreat is. Because there are different types of retreats - depending on the focus, the goals and the execution.

Preparation - how to get fit for the retreat

The goal with a mental retreat is for you to completely relax and focus on yourself. This requires some preparation, just like a classic vacation. What is important before the retreat? Arrange for someone to do your chores, such as watering flowers or caring for animals.

You can prepare for your retreat with meditations. Some retreats also require a certain diet, so you can prepare yourself and read up on specific topics. For some people, it is important to know what exactly they will be facing. If you wish, you can read the exact description of the retreat beforehand. Often there is a structured daily schedule. From this, you can also see what clothes and accessories you should pack in your bag.

Retreating in your own four walls - does it work?

Meditation, legal psychedelics, distance from the environment - that could also work at home, right? Theoretically and in a weakened form, yes - but it is not recommended. The change of location helps you to switch off better from everything. In your own four walls, you are always tempted to occupy yourself with everyday things and thus get distracted. In addition, the supervision at the retreat by trained instructors is worth a lot. You can let go much better when someone tells you what to do than when you have to think about it yourself.

Why go on a retreat at all? What is the advantage with the retreat?

"What is a retreat?" is probably the most frequently asked question about this exciting topic. Now you know what a retreat is. And why should you participate in one? In our everyday lives, we are exposed to all kinds of stresses that affect our bodies and minds. The retreat journey is designed to help you get rid of these difficulties and find your way back to inner balance. Also, new clarity about yourself, your current situation and your future desires are beneficial.

Back to the real world - coming home from your trip

What about after the retreat? During your retreat, you may find a new approach to yourself. You may be able to look at things from a different perspective, regain more clarity for yourself. It's important that you don't put all of this in the background again once you've returned to everyday life. Maybe you write down important insights, small rituals that you want to keep, or simply aspects that are important to you now. Don't lose sight of yourself again.

It can be helpful if you don't have to go back to work for the first few days after your return. Instead, you should allow yourself a short period of regeneration to get back to normal. If you enjoyed it, there's nothing stopping you from doing it again. Your mind and body will tell you when they are ready for another time out. What is a retreat? You can best answer this question for yourself after your first experience.