“Find my purpose.” “Let go of attachment.” “Sleep better.” “Let go of judgements.”
I let out a sigh of relief as I settled in for our first evening at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. Hundreds of people had traveled here this weekend to work on themselves and these were just a few of the things we heard as the first presenter, Megan, asked the audience what they hoped to learn from this weekend within.
I've been a fan of Deepak Chopra for many years and have always loved his approach to life, meditation, and his ability to combine science and spirituality in order to help people live their best lives. Visiting his center in Carlsbad, California has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I had never made the time in my busy schedule. Although I came here with no expectations, I felt like this visit came at the perfect time in my life.
Scott and I have both practiced meditation daily for the past 3 years and have found it to be life changing. We take a very relaxed approach to meditation — we don't use any mantras, music, or guided talks — however, I'm always interested in learning new techniques. This weekend we would be learning and practicing Primordial Sound Meditation — a technique rooted in the Vedic tradition of India.
What are the Benefits of Meditation?
Have you ever wanted to feel more peaceful and less reactive to the circumstances in your life?
In our daily lives filled with technology, social media, and a never-ending to-do list, many of us are stuck in a prison of conditioning. Meditation helps us break out of these habits that we lock ourselves into. Sitting quietly and practicing mindfulness makes you aware of your thoughts. Over time, it teaches you how to detach yourself from those thoughts and as a result, you become less reactive to your thoughts and your life's circumstances.
Our weekend at the Chopra Center was a great opportunity for us to recenter and refocus our attention. Practicing mindfulness over our weekend at the Chopra Center has carried through to our daily lives at home and I've found myself remembering to stay present in each moment — even the uncomfortable ones.
This practice has completely changed my relationship to food as well. I've always used food as an escape from my feelings or I eat unconsciously when I'm stressed. Reminding myself to stay present while eating every meal has given me the opportunity to realize when I'm hungry versus just wanting to escape an uncomfortable feeling. I never realized how much my mind wanders while I'm eating food. It's fascinating, actually. I don't think I've ever really been fully present while fueling my body until now.
What is Primordial Sound Meditation?
In Primordial Sound Meditation, a mantra is used to help you slip into the silence between your thoughts — some people refer to this as “the gap” or “pure awareness.” Each person is given their own personal mantra, which is the vibration the universe was creating at the time and place of your birth.
If you're new to meditation, repeating a mantra can be helpful because as your mind starts to wander (which it will do!), the mantra helps to bring you back to your awareness. In group meditations at the Chopra Center, someone will guide you through the first few minutes of your meditation with questions to ask yourself, which I found very helpful.
Meditating in a group can sometimes feel more powerful than meditating on your own and it's a great way to get started if you feel like you don't know how to meditate.
What to Expect at The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, CA
The Chopra Center offers meditation classes, yoga classes, workshops, coaching, and massage treatments. If you're not able to come for a weekend retreat, they offer meditation and yoga classes almost every day and you can enjoy some peace and quiet on the beautiful grounds at the Omni La Costa Resort.
They take an ayurvedic approach to their massage treatments — using herbal-infused oils, aromas, and massage techniques to balance your unique mind-body type. We both found our massages extremely relaxing and meditative. I appreciate that they hold silence during their massage sessions. It's almost like an hour of meditation with the benefit of someone massaging you.
They also offer workshops and retreats on specific dates. We attended a weekend workshop where an Ayurvedic breakfast and lunch were provided each day. You can check their retreat schedule here.
You might even get to join a retreat with Deepak Chopra himself. He spoke at the retreat we joined and I definitely highly recommend trying to coordinate a visit while he's there.
Whether you join a full retreat or just drop into a few classes, the Omni La Costa Resort is the perfect place for a wellness escape. The property is stunning and it felt as if everywhere I looked there were hummingbirds, vibrant flowers, and lush landscaping. You can easily find a quiet spot to relax or meditate. The staff were all very upbeat and friendly, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
Have you ever experienced a wellness retreat? I'd love to hear your experience in the comments!
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