When you are on a retreat, you get away from the hustle and bustle of the world, follow a certain routine, and be with nature. Depending on what kind of retreat you go to, you will have different experiences; you will learn self-reflection, meditation, spiritual advancement, yogic techniques, or physical relaxation approaches. One common theme all the retreats have is they bring a pause in busy life and give a perspective on your life, work, and journey. When you really get in the weeds of life, getting a pause, a mindfulness retreat is uniquely valuable. Think of it this way: you stop rowing for some time, come up to the deck of the ship and decide the direction where you want to go before you go down to row. Mindfulness retreats are valuable for everyone but more so for teenagers.
Teens are the future of our civilization. Full of energy, hope, and strength. They think differently, big, and limitless. With them, they bring the power to change, the courage to do things, and the determination that it can be done. I for one see the Sunrise of a better future in our teens. However, teens are also under a lot of pressure to succeed in academics, extracurricular activities, and social relationships. They are constantly bombarded with information from their smartphones, social media, and other digital devices, making it difficult to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness retreats for teens offer a way for young people to take a break from their hectic lives, connect with themselves and others, and learn valuable life skills.
Mindfulness and its benefits
Mindfulness is a way to bring the mind, awareness, and sense of engagement to the present moment. One of the great Yogis of the past said, whatever happened has happened, and what hasn’t happened yet, why worry about it? Life only exists in the present moment; Mindfulness takes you there.
Regular practice of mindfulness helps in the overall development of teens’ personalities. From the lens of academics, Mindfulness designed for teens helps in better memory, problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and time management. There is another article I wrote explaining the benefits of Mindfulness for teens in detail.
What do Mindfulness Retreats for Teens include?
Every mindfulness retreat is different based on the size, location, focus, duration, theme, and staff it has at the venue. Some retreats are set in nature such as the ocean, rivers, mountains, forests, etc., some retreats are silent retreats and some are more adventurous. Retreats can vary from a 1-day retreat to all the way 10 days (or even longer). You have to pick the ones that align best with your current stage and goals.
Mindfulness retreats for teens can include immersive experiences, group activities, meditation, breathing, self-reflection, activity with nature, manifestation, etc. Love, empathy, and compassion are other important elements that are included in the retreats for teens.
Benefits of Mindfulness for Retreats for Teens:
- Reducing Stress, and Anxiety: Teens today are under a lot of social and academic pressure, which can lead to stress and anxiety. Mindfulness retreats offer an opportunity to disconnect from the heaviness of daily life and bring clarity to life and purpose, which can reduce stress and anxiety levels. If there is an accomplished teacher, teens will learn a lot about ancient yogic stories and lifestyle that brings abundant meaning to life.
- Promoting self-reflection: Mindfulness practices can help teens develop self-awareness and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, without any judgment. The ability to reflect on themselves without any judgment brings about creative and problem-solving skillset. This is very valuable for personal growth and development.
- Improving attention and concentration: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, have been shown to improve attention and concentration. These skills can be valuable for teens as they navigate their academic and personal lives.
- Developing emotional regulation skills: Mindfulness practices can help teens develop skills to regulate their emotions, such as identifying and labeling emotions, accepting emotions without judgment, and responding in a constructive way. As teens grow up in the real world, working with others in collaboration is an extremely critical skill set. Ability to not only understand your own thoughts but also of others will set future leaders apart.
- Building connections with others: Mindfulness retreats for teens offer an opportunity to connect with other young people who share similar interests and values. These connections can be valuable for building a sense of community and support.
- Promoting self-reflection: Mindfulness practices can help teens develop self-awareness and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can be valuable for personal growth and development.
How to choose the right mindfulness retreat?
If you are interested in attending a mindfulness retreat for teens, there are a few important elements to consider while choosing a program:
- Length: Consider how long the program is and whether it fits with your schedule and needs.
- Location: Think about where the retreat is located and whether it is accessible to you.
- Content: Look into the retreat’s content and whether it aligns with your interests and goals.
- Instructors: Research the instructors who will be leading the program and their qualifications and experience.
- Language: It’s always good to make sure that language aligns with what you are comfortable with. If the instructor speaks your first language, it’s always a plus. The concepts when understood in the native language, really sink in.
- Cost: Consider the cost of the program and whether it fits within your budget. Most expensive does not necessarily mean the best.
- Reviews: Look for reviews from past participants to get an idea of their experience and whether they would recommend the program. Depending on how important is this for you, have a chat with previous attendees.
Mindfulness retreats for teens offer a valuable opportunity to take a break from the stresses of daily life, connect with oneself and others, and develop valuable life skills. I will highly suggest schools, NGOs and community centres shoulder some responsibility to arrange and organize Mindfulness Retreats for teens in their area. These retreats can be a powerful tool for promoting mental health and well-being and can help teens develop skills to navigate the challenges of adolescence and beyond. If you are interested in attending a mindfulness retreat, be sure to research different programs and choose one that aligns with your interests and goals.