Best Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats for Mental Health Awareness Month

With 1 in 5 Australians aged 16-85 experiencing mental illness in any year, keeping our minds healthy has never been more important. However, when it comes to our health and well-being, we often forget about mental health, which encompasses our social, psychological and emotional wellness. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, my friends at Health and Fitness Travel, the wellness holiday specialists, shine a spotlight on mental health with the best mindfulness and meditation retreats you can book this year.

Mental Health Awareness Month (also referred to as "Mental Health Month") has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings. More recently, it has been attracting more Australians with campaigns such as Mindful in May, where participants are invited to start a daily meditation practice and focus on self- care for better mental health.

Need to getaway to embrace this new habit? We encourage you to take a break from the stresses of modern-day life in some of the world's most inspiring destinations. From the secluded island of Koh Samui in Thailand to the beautiful Algarve coastline in Portugal, learn the art of being present and return home transformed with the right tools to thrive no matter what life throws at you.

Thailand: Kamalaya Life Enhancement Retreat

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Escape to the tranquil island of Koh Samui for a transformative holiday at Kamalaya. In an intimate group setting, co-founder, Karina Stewart, will personally facilitate the retreat to support you to embrace a more balanced life. Together with Kamalaya's team of practitioners, be guided through a process of awareness and understanding, with private sessions to help address individual wellness goals, be it about stress relief, mindfulness or finding emotional balance. In between sessions, enjoy Kamalaya's spa offerings or attend complimentary classes like yoga, meditation and Tai Chi for a well-rounded healthy holiday.

Retreat dates: 24 August – 14 September 2019

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights at Kamalaya from $7,850. Price includes a wellness program, full board and transfers.

New Zealand: Aro Ha Nature Writing & Mindfulness

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Nestled on New Zealand's beautifully rugged landscape, a retreat at Aro Ha is designed to stimulate the body and mind. Embark on a mindfulness journey with novelist and meditation teacher, Albert Flynn DeSilver, who will host this special retreat. He will teach 'Mindful Mediation Classes' as well as guide you through the 'Writing as a Path to Awakening' classes—a process of utilising the practice of writing to cultivate deeper self-awareness, increased emotional intelligence, and overall expansion of consciousness. Experience multiple aspects of wellness with a combination of fitness, adventure, relaxation and wholesome food.

Retreat dates: 3 – 8 June 2019

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 5 nights at Aro Ha from $4,725pp or $5,070 for single occupancy. Price includes a wellness program, full board and transfers.

Thailand: Amanpuri Awareness

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Enter into Aman's flagship luxury wellness resort on Phuket's west coast for a profound journey of self-awareness. This meditative experience helps you restore your inner balance through a mindfulness immersion guided by a former Buddhist monk. Declutter your senses with a combination of yoga, meditation and reflection, harmonised with holistic treatments such as cranial sacral therapy, reconnective healing and Reiki to further promote inner stillness. Choose a dedicated diet plan to set you on the right path to renewal from within.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights at Amanpuri from $10,650pp or $15,050 for single occupancy. Price includes a wellness program, full board and transfers.

Sri Lanka: Santani Wellness Resort Re-balancing Bliss

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Located amongst dense greenery and mountains of southern Sri Lanka, Santani is ideal for guests seeking to rest, relax and meditate. Restore your inner balance with a variety of relaxation therapies and de-stressing treatments, from deep tissue massages to Ayurveda. Clear your mind and rejuvenate your body from head to toe with guided hikes, group yoga and meditation sessions, as well as a therapeutic dip in the thermal salt water pools. Don't miss to attend lifestyle discussions to better equip you with the right tools to continue a more balanced life when you return home.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights at Santani from $3,845pp or $5,050 for single occupancy. Price includes a wellness program, full board and transfers.

India: Shreyas Silent Retreat

Declutter the mind within 25 acres of secluded lush vegetation at Shreyas Silent Retreat on the outskirts of Bangalore, India. This wellness retreat provides precious time for a holistic holiday to detox the mind in an area of silent, tranquil, stunning natural beauty. With peaceful guided sessions in trataka and yoga nidra in addition to participation in selfless activities such as lending a hand in the local community, learn how to take control of your mind and become self-sufficient in mental well-being maintenance.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights at Kamalaya from $2,875pp or $4,070 for single occupancy. Price includes a wellness program, full board and transfers.

Portugal: Vilalara Longevity Mindfulness

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Set along the infamous Algarve coast, this retreat boasts beautiful botanical gardens and ocean views that make for an ideal mindfulness escape. Slow down the pace and experience a greater sense of inner peace with meditation and together with private sessions with Vilalara's resident mindfulness teacher, acquire the life skills to use mindful movement every day, enhancing how you live your life in every way. Fully immerse yourself in the experience with relaxing Thalassotherapy sessions as well as other ocean-based treatments to leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 3 nights at Kamalaya from $2,790pp or $3,205 for single occupancy. Price includes a wellness program, half board and transfers.