Breathe at These Hudson Valley Retreat Centers

Adobe Stock / Marcin

Immerse yourself in serene areas of the Hudson Valley as you meditate, learn different techniques, and practice mindfulness.

By Robert Rubsam and Greta Stuckey

Meditation has been part of religious practice for thousands of years, advocated from Athens to Osaka by many philosophers, gurus and teachers. It can also be a useful tool for those looking to calm their mind amid stressful work, relationships, or anxiety. These centers offer meditation for all levels, from absolute beginner to master.

American Institute of Meditation

Averill Park, 518.674.8714

Dedicated to the “science of yoga,” AMI was founded by Leonard and Jenness Cortez Perlmutter in 1996. It offers a specially designed non-denominational form of meditation, which is taught through a variety of special online courses. Currently, yoga, meditation and science labs are taking place on Zoom for public safety. The institute also offers a unique roundtable for physicians each fall. Last fall, the roundtable took place on Zoom as the doctors discussed meditation, burnout and mindfulness in their lives.

Blue Cliff Monastery

pine bush

This Vietnamese monastery was founded by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Hanh is a Buddhist monk, peace activist and author of books whose The miracle of mindfulness and Peace is at every step. Blue Cliff is nestled in the woods of the southern Catskill region and is home to a thriving community of monks, nuns, and lay practitioners who enjoy meditation practices. Mindfulness days are donation-based for visitors, and the monastery holds about one retreat a month to learn how to cultivate mindfulness.

Chuang Yen Monastery

Carmel, 845.225.1819

Run by the Buddhist Association of the United States, Chuang Yen offers meditation in many traditions. The monastery offers online classes on Zoom, so people can participate in weekly group meditations and weekly reflection sessions. In April, he brought back his online Saturday morning program on meditation and sutta study.

Dharma Drum

Pinewood, 845.744.8114

Located below Shawangunk Ridge, Dharma Drum was founded by Chan master Sheng Yen and is dedicated to the practice of Chan Buddhism. Classes range from free workshops to in-depth retreats focusing on various aspects of Chan practice, including an online Dharma lecture focused on self-compassion. Some of the workshops are online only, while the retreats usually take place in person.

Dharmakaya Wellness Center

Pinewood, 845.640.4593

The Wellness Center is affiliated with the Dharmakaya Institute, founded by Incarnate Lama and PhD of Harvard Trungnam Gyalwa Rinpoche, currently Head of the Trungnam Tibetan Lineage. Rinpoche is a Rime master, having received teachings from the great masters of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dharmakaya Wellness Center aims to fuse Tibetan knowledge with Western understanding, resulting in an accessible practice. Weekend retreats for beginners and initiates take place throughout the summer. Weekly programs such as meditation and self-care workshops are held online and in person.

Garrison Institute

Garrison, 845.424.4800

This non-denominational contemplation center is housed in a renovated Capuchin monastery. Her retreats focus on a variety of topics such as mindfulness, Buddhism, and LGBTQ refuge and care. It also offers weekly programsincluding online guided meditation circles.

Kadampa Meditation Center

Glen Spey, 845.856.9000

The 82 acres of Kadampa include the modern Temple of World Peace dedicated to meditation. Tibetan meditation is offered by a variety of teachers, and a number of personal and group retreats are also available for those looking to deepen their practice. The center offers a variety of events ranging from workshops to overcome anxiety to a guided meditation on world peace.

Kagyu Thubten Choling

Wappinger Falls

The Hudson Valley is home to a number of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, all of which hold their own meditation sessions. KTC organizes daily practices of chanting, Buddhist meditation and Dharma discussions on Zoom. Special events include conferences from dedicated practitioners, as well as prayer sessions scheduled according to the Tibetan religious calendar. Additionally, the space also offers a three-year retreat, aimed at serious students who wish to train in the basic teachings and practices of the Kagyu lineage.

Karma Triyana Dharmachakra

Woodstock, 845.679.5906

This beautiful temple in the mountains overlooking Woodstock is a popular tourist destination, but once the crowds die down and the chanting begins, you might as well be in Dharamsala or Ulaanbaatar. The place offers a number of Tibetan Buddhism courses and has a well-stocked bookstore, as well as a number of electronic books listed on its website.

Linwood Spiritual Center

Rhinebeck, 845.876.4178

Linwood is run by the Ursuline Sisters and so offers a number of unique retreats in their beautiful riverside convent, including guided Ignatian practice retreats, twelve-step programs and a number of all-female programs.

Mahayana Buddhist Temple

Cairo South, 212.925.8787 ext. 110 or 103

South Cairo is home to the oldest Chinese Buddhist temple in the eastern United States. It organizes services, culture, programs, meditations, retreats and Dharma teaching lessons. In its cultural programs, the temple offers calligraphy classes, weekly museum visits and research on Buddhist art. Additionally, the temple plans to hold memorial services for loved ones through memorial plaques and a lotus columbarium.

Menla

Phoenicia, 845.688.6897

Menla has the distinction of being the cultural center of the Dalai Lama in North America and is associated with the House of Tibet. Located next to a creek in the Catskill Mountains, this resort offers yoga, meditation, Tibetan healing therapies, massages, body exercises, and a number of events. It’s a bit more luxurious than the average temple or meditation center, with an associated spa. This is the perfect place for those looking to both deepen their practice and perhaps get an exfoliation. Menla also offers a number of online sessions and events, some of which take place weekly.

Omega Institute

Rhinebeck, 877.944.2002

The Omega Institute’s sprawling campus in rural Rhinebeck is dedicated to all things ethical: vegan meals, sustainable practices, as well as meditation, tai chi and yoga workshops, all with the aim of liberating your spirit and your warmth. In addition to workshops, Omega also organizes retreats, conferences and professional training, both in person and online.

Won Dharma Meditation Center

Claverack, 518.851.2851

Won is, by Buddhist standards, fairly recent – ​​its founder attained enlightenment in 1916. Its tenets focus on the use, rather than atonement, of the mind. Free weekly meditation classes and retreats, such as “Returning to Our Original Mind,” focus on more mindful practices. Examples of events include a Day of Enlightenment celebration, a gentle qigong workshop, and a tai chi retreat.

Zen mountain monastery

Mont Tremper, 845.688.2228

This Western Zen monastery has been thriving since 1980 and is associated with the Zen Center of New York. It offers guided zazen meditation, as well as retreats lasting from a weekend to a month. It also offers a variety of exclusive programs such as zazen and liturgy, sangha practice groups and one-on-one meetings with teachers.


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