Top 10 Meditation Retreats in Northern California

Top 10 Meditation Retreats in Northern California

Top 10 Meditation Retreats in Northern California

Thrills can be physical, social, or psychological. Meditation retreats offer all this and much more.

They create an ideal environment to disconnect from your thoughts and push the limits of your mind and body.

These retreats place you in a cocoon, a bubble away from all distractions. They help you listen and tune in to your body and mind.

Signing up for a meditation retreat can help you develop a sense of hope and clarity that may not be possible daily.

Qualified instructors at a reputable meditation retreat can help you enhance your meditation skills and move towards new techniques.

Check out this list of the 10 best meditation retreats in Northern California to start your journey of self-discovery.

  • Ananda Meditation Retreat

Sure, you can move to an expensive place or isolate yourself in a tiny house to seek peace, but retreats provide better breakthrough environments.

Ananda Meditation Retreat is nestled in lush gardens and woods at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Its short- and long-term programs allow you to discover your inner, higher self.

Silent retreats and meditation programs specifically for women are some of their offerings. These are kept in the lap of nature under the guidance of experienced yoga practitioners.

Accommodation options range from simple studios to cozy cabins with views of the distant Sierra peaks so you can choose your secluded experience.

Meditate in the serene gardens or the domed temple. You can also meditate on the hot sand or the rocks along the banks of the Yuba River.

  • Ananda Meditation Retreat
  • Price: From 150 USD
  1. Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center

Established by the Brahma Kumaris world spiritual organization, Anubhuti Retreat Center is situated on a hill near San Francisco Bay.

It offers practical meditation methods and exercises when surrounded by vast expanses of protected open space, water, and wildlife. These help in understanding one’s inner strengths and values. The course aims to increase self-esteem and tolerance.

Experienced Raja Yoga practitioners conduct all programs. The accommodation is provided on sharing basis with a private bathroom.

Most rooms have spectacular views of the gardens, pond, Novato Creek, bay, and the rolling hills of Marin County.

  • Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center
  • Price: Free (also accepts voluntary donations)
  1. Silent Stay Meditation & Retreat Center

Silent Stay Meditation & Retreat Center is located on a private, gated estate in Vacaville. It is situated on a hill overlooking Pleasant Valley and Lake Berryessa.

This serene Retreat accommodates guests in private/shared rooms with mountain or garden views. Corresponding events offer a mix of traditions with an eclectic program, allowing guests to enrich their lives with walks, yoga, swimming, and quiet contemplation.

The duration of their silent retreats varies from two days to nine days. This facility is also known as Heartfulness Meditation which is a three-step process.

In the Retreat, you can cook your meals in a functional kitchen. Bond with fellow guests through daily meditation sessions that can also be mixed with therapeutic massages.

  • Silent Stay Meditation & Retreat Center
  • Price: From USD 175
  • Vajrapani Institute

Located near Boulder Creek, California, the Thunderstorm Institute is located within the Santa Cruz Mountains bordering Castle Rock State Park.

Established on the principles of Gelug Buddhist traditions, it offers a bouquet of programs ranging from a few days to weeks. These come in a group and private settings to benefit beginners and trained meditators alike.

There are also customized programs available for families and young adults. It’s a boon for groups of 21 and over.

With handpicked teachers, it is open to all community members and provides wholesome vegetarian meals and meditation equipment.

  • Vajrapani Institute
  • Price: From USD 68
  1. The Expanding Light Retreat

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Expanding Light Retreat is a part of Ananda Village.

It combines Ananda Yoga (a variant of Hatha Yoga) with Dhyana Yoga for deeper spiritual realization and self-awareness. Indoor and outdoor accommodation options and specially prepared vegetarian food are a bonus.

Healing and massage treatments are available here, along with meditation sessions. The Karma Yoga program is of particular interest to many.

Options for spiritual counseling, private/group yoga or yoga therapy, and private retreats make it the perfect place to tune your chakras, heal your soul, and discover the divinity within.

  • The Expanding Light Retreat
  • Price: From USD 75
  1. Ratna Ling Retreat Center

Nestled in redwood, pine, and coastal oak forests, the Ratna Ling Retreat Center can be found in Cazadero, California, overlooking the rolling hills of Sonoma County.

Its suite-style cottages with spectacular views add privacy as you travel inside. This personal Retreat, guided by Tibetan Buddhist traditions, offers tailored programs, including yoga, meditation, healing, and spirituality.

Bicycling or hiking in the beautiful setting of The Retreat or Salt Point State Park. Please schedule an appointment for therapeutic bodywork at their wellness center. A balanced vegetarian meal is served while you commune with nature and yourself.

  • Ratna Ling Retreat Center
  • Price: From 239 USD
  • Northern California Vipassana Center, Dhamma Manda

Dhamma Manda is located in the Cobb Mountains region of Lake County, California. Nestled among deodar, pine, and oak trees, it provides a setting for Vipassana meditation as taught by SN Goenka. Vipassana is the process of self-purification through introspection.

Its popular ten-day residential Vipassana program is open to new or returning students. There are also programs for children/adolescents and special short- or long-term programs or service periods for returning students.

A typical day at the Vipassana retreat consists of ten hours of meditation with great silence and rest, pauses, and a videotaped discourse by Goenka.

Registration begins three months before the course start date and includes a waiting period. Essentially, a silent retreat to rigorous mental tuning is governed by a code of discipline and offered on the basis of voluntary charity.

  • Northern California Vipassana Center, Dhamma Manda
  • Price: Free (also accepts voluntary donations)
  1. Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Amidst the oak woodlands of West Marin, San Francisco, is the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. With a combination of Buddhism, Vipassana, and metta (loving-kindness meditation), participants are encouraged to renew and liberate themselves.

Suited to both beginners and experienced students, it offers programs ranging from two-hour sessions to programs that last for months and even years.

Simple accommodation includes single and double rooms, shared bathroom facilities, and delicious vegetarian food.

Absorbing meditation practices while sitting, walking, eating, or working, one-hour Dharma talks, and practice meetings with instructors are part of the daily routine here. Special programs are also offered for families, women, and students.

  1. Insight Retreat Center

Located near Santa Cruz, California, Insight Retreat Center focuses on Vipassana meditation following the Buddha’s teachings on liberation.

Enrollment is based on a lottery system and includes a waiting period. Run entirely on voluntary donations, this Retreat provides private rooms and serves balanced and mostly organic vegetarian meals free of charge.

Participants with health needs may bring pre-cooked canned meat and fish. Its flexible set of residential programs – weekend, week-long study retreats, or volunteer programs provide ample choice.

A daily program includes sitting or walking meditation, instruction, dharma talks, work meditation, and silent discussions with teachers.

  • Insight Retreat Center
  • Price: Free
  1. Nyingma Institute Buddhist Center

Looking for a unique place to stay, different from a vacation rental? The Nyingma Institute is located in the foothills of Highland and Hearst, one block from UC Berkeley.

Day, weekend, and longer retreats offer a serene environment and supportive community to find a path to inner freedom.

You can opt for well-furnished rooms with beautiful views of the Bay or the Golden Gate Bridge, with shared kitchens and bathrooms.

You can strengthen your mind and spirit with sitting or walking meditation programs, reflections, chanting, and relaxation techniques following Nyingma Tibetan traditions. Vegetarian food nourishes your health. Relax in the Himalayan-themed garden or attend daily lectures.

  • Nyingma Institute Buddhist Center
  • Price: From 150 USD

Take a journey within

Northern California is no stranger to nature and places where you can relax and have it all out to yourself, including fishing lodges and Airstream rentals.

If you want to take some time out of your busy life, why not retreat to refresh yourself?

Meditation is an extension of life, a challenging practice through which perspective flourishes and humanity grows. Meditation retreats help you rejuvenate and rediscover your inner self.

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