<span id="lblNoFrames"><h1>Binder1.pdf</h1><br/>Resident August Special Edition 2010 • 27With Julia Roberts luring us with her spiritual quests in mystical locales in “Eat Pray Love,” it’s natural to yearn for blissful days of calming meditation, delicious or-ganic meals and rejuvenating yoga classes in serene settings. But with the summer wind-ing down, most New Yorkers are looking at longer work days and kids back in school and can only dream of ? nding inner peace in a far off location. Plus the amount of en-durance it’d require to sit through a 16-hour ? ight to an ashram in India would test even the most skilled in the art of meditation. Rest assured there are exceptional spiri-tual retreats in our own backyard promis-ing respite from our hustling lives without compromising on comfort. Whether you are looking for relaxation or personal growth, or simply want to recharge for a week or weekend, there is a place within driving dis-tance that meets your needs. Here, you will ? nd ? ve retreat centers offering invigorating getaways. SIVANANDA ASHRAM YOGA RANCHFor a real yogic experience, look no fur-ther than the ashram located in the moun-tains of Woodbourne, NY just 100 miles from the city. Started by Swami Vishnude-vanda in 1974, disciple of Swami Sivanan-da, founder of the International Sivananda Vedanta Centers known for authority on Hatha and Raja methods, the ranch offers a haven of 77 acres of hilly woodlands, relax-ing yoga classes, workshops on stress man-agement and healing through music among others. Start your day with a 6 am satsang (meditation and chanting) accompanied by traditional Indian harmonium in the oc-tagonal temple with ? oor to ceiling windows and a large shrine for Hindu deities deco-rated with fresh ? owers. Exercise your body with a two-hour yoga class emphasizing breathing and chanting. Later, engage in an hour of karma yoga (sel? ess service) helping out in the kitchen or working in the garden. Savor wholesome vegetarian meals and take leisurely walks around the property taking in the fresh air and beautiful Catskills vistas. A 12 person Russian wood-burning Bania Sauna awaits you for more relax-ation. Stay overnight in either the turn of the century farmhouse or a 1920s hotel built as a breatherium for $95 a night. This is the perfect place to go for those who have limited interactions with one of the oldest religions on the planet and a discipline that has proven for centuries to be bene? cial for a sound mind and body. www.sivananda.org/ranch/. ZEN MOUNTAIN MONASTERY Those looking for a completely different experience where silence is truly golden, have a contemplative stay at the Zen Moun-tain Monastery nestled in the southern folds of Mt. Tremper. Its 230 acres of meadows, marshes and cliff streams are bordered by the juncture of Beaverkill and Esopus riv-ers in the Catskills. A chapel turned mon-astery, the awe inspiring white oak and blue stone four-story structure with a holy cross in front was designated as a state and fed-eral historical landmark in 1994. Those who have never had exposure to this school of Buddhism need not worry. This peaceful oasis is open to people of all ages and back-grounds and offers introductory retreats ? rst weekend of every month giving a glimpse of Zen training in the context of its Eight Gates Program, a modern version of the Buddhist eightfold path on the way to end suffering. The day begins before dawn with Zazen (formal practice of sitting meditation) with an explanation on how to tame your “mon-key mind” and be present in the moment. This stillness sought is carried into all ac-tivities throughout the day starting from a yoga session or tai chi class to art practice capturing the natural world with brush and ink to an hour of light work in the kitchen or gardens in silence. Walking meditation (akin to a conga line) replaces the sitting one as a form of meditation in action. An oppor-tunity to meet with a Zen master, who un-like in Asian countries could be a woman, a clear western in? uence, is available to those seeking guidance. End your stay attending a lecture given by one of the teachers on a speci? c topic related to life and Buddhism. A week-long sesshin (silent) retreat is also offered at the end of every month for seek-ers of an intensive training. Four-day retreats start at $350, weekend price is $195 and in-clude dorm rooms in the main building along with three delicious meals. During your stay partake in a tea ceremony in the traditional Japanese teahouse. www.mro.org. OMEGA INSTITUTE FOR HOLISTIC STUDIES<br/>Even before Chelsea Clinton turned the small town of Rhinebeck into a hotspot, Omega Institute has been a popular destina-tion visited by thousands yearly. Recognized as one of 1,000 places to see in the USA and Canada before you die, a former Yid-dish camp turned holistic center in the heart of the Hudson valley, Omega has more than 100 buildings set amongst the hills of 195 acres of greenery. Here, there is no need for schedules, unless one wants to enlist in one of their 300 workshops. Their Rest & Rejuvenation retreat is among the most popular and allows guests SPIRITUAL ESCAPES A STONE’S THROW AWAYBy Lavanya SunkaraKripaluFEATUREContinued on Page 29</span>