Best Places to Meditate
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in, deeper this time. Breathe out.
Now close your eyes for a moment, and think of the most peaceful place you can imagine. Go ahead, we can wait. Was it a faraway place? Surrounded by tall, powerful trees or the ocean, as deep and dark as the nighttime sky? Was it someplace exotic, or someplace familiar, closer to home?
Finding inner peace through meditation should be as calming and relaxing as possible. Sifting through the stress and distractions of everyday life to find that calm inner center of our minds takes time. It also takes a supportive environment to find those perfectly still moments. We searched through almost 400,000 Instagram posts to find the most popular spots for meditation and yoga. Want to see if yours made the cut? Read on to find out.
We searched through more than 80,000 posts on Instagram for the most popular countries marked with #meditate and found that some of the most prominent spots happened to be in cities. Maybe it’s the hustle and bustle of city life that drags us down. Finding Zen among the craziness of urban life was a top priority for nearly 70 percent of meditating city dwellers.
Parks, beaches, and hotels were also favored spots, alongside mountains and the outdoors. Even on vacation, finding those tranquil moments is important, and the serene backdrop of mother nature can be one of the most natural meditative environments around.
Other popular spots we explored were Buddhist temples, gyms, restaurants, and residences. Meditation happens where it happens, and we made it a point to explore all of the options.
Based on the Instagram posts we searched, metropolitan meditation was most common in the state of Monaco. This tiny coastal paradise, located on the French Mediterranean coast, may be best known for the Grand Prix motor race it hosts annually. It’s also a Zenful destination. If you find yourself passing through, be sure to save a moment to experience their transcendental meditation. It might help keep you calm and relaxed on your travels and beyond.
Australia and Iceland also showed up as popular meditation spots for reflection. They may not offer identical climates for your outdoor activities, but their city locals can offer comforting contemplation.
Not to be considered a one-note wonder, Monaco also had the most posts tagged for meditation in the park. Tranquility can be found in any one of Monaco’s beautifully sculpted meadows, but perhaps the loveliest is the Roseraie Princesse Grace garden. It was built in 1984 and commissioned by the Prince for his late wife, Grace Kelly. You can also find peaceful relaxation in the Jardin Japonais with its serene waterfall and Zen garden.
Off the coast of Venezuela sits Aruba, a tiny Dutch-Caribbean island famous for its crystal blue waters and white sand beaches. Aruba offers one of the most naturally beautiful scenes for waterfront meditation in the world,and came up as the most popular spot for “sun salutations.” For all of the peaceful solitude and outdoor yoga you could want, Aruba has more than just a few meditation retreats to pick from.
If you’re looking for something farther north for your soothing beachfront meditation, Iceland may have just the thing. Enjoy the natural waters when weather permits or the calming hot springs when it doesn’t.
Getting away should be about finding yourself, and there’s no better way than meditating in your hotel room. In Monaco, luxurious hotels provide a meditation destination as much for the tourists as for the locals. Take advantage if you’re in the vicinity, or buy a pass if you’re lucky enough to live there year-round.
If Caribbean waters are more your style, the Cayman Islands come in just behind Monaco for peaceful hotel accommodations. What could be more calming than sunrise yoga blanketed by a perpetually warm ocean breeze?
Mind + Body
Meditation doesn’t always have to be a solo experience. Gyms all over the world offer group yoga and meditation classes, and research has shown the powerful effects of strength in numbers when it comes to these exercises. Find the most workout-style meditation in Malta. A tranquil Mediterranean country between Sicily and the North African Coast, Malta’s coastal towns are about as peaceful looking as it gets. If you’re interested in working out your muscles and your chakra, they’ve got plenty of group classes just for you.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda had the second-highest amount of gym meditation on Instagram. Dominica, New Zealand, and Australia also made the list.
Finding your center isn’t just about where you are or what’s going through your mind – it can also be about what you’re putting into your body. What you eat can actually have a profound impact on the productivity of your meditation sessions, and some countries are documenting the connection through their Instagram posts. Australia and the United States had the most comforting cuisine and meditation posts at restaurants. The Maldives followed closely behind.
Meditation is one of the most important aspects of Buddhist dharma. To take control of one's state of mind, and to change it for the better, is a paramount accomplishment. At its core, meditation is a means of transforming the mind. It should come as no surprise then that Bhutan, the Buddhist kingdom at the edge of the Himalayas, had the most meditating posts at a Buddhist temple. If you find yourself in South Asia, or you’re interested in experiencing this quintessential form of meditation, the Tourism Council of Bhutan coordinates retreats all over the country.
If Bhutan is too far away, Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia. It came next for the most meditation posts in Buddhist temples (as well as in the U.S.).
Top of the World
Hiking up the side of a mountain may not sound peaceful, but imagine the physical exertion it takes to get to the end of a trail – clearing the brush, walking through the trees, climbing over roots and rocks – and finding one of the most breathtaking views you can imagine. Meditating in the mountains might get you as close to Mother Nature as possible. New Zealand, Iceland, and Sweden had the highest concentration of meditation posts on those snowy peaks.
Clearing your mind isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your daily life may be full of distractions and disturbances that can make peaceful meditation difficult. Taking your introspection out into the great outdoors may help you find that calm respite that you’re looking for. Bermuda, Malta, and Curacao all showed up as top places to meditate outside, indicating that balmy, ocean views are the most relaxing natural environment.
At-Home Quiet Time
To make meditation a part of your everyday routine, you can’t wait to be in the mountains or by the ocean (unless you’re lucky enough to live there, of course) every time you want to center yourself. Finding peace and sanctuary in your humble abode may help you not just achieve the harmony that you’re looking for, but carry it with you beyond those meditation sessions. In Sweden, we found the most Instagram posts on meditation taken from home. While courses and multi-day retreats are also popular there, bringing meditation into the home also means bringing meditation back to the family. Meditating and practicing yoga together may be a different kind of bonding experience – but hopefully, it’s a relaxing one.
No matter where you find your sanctuary, the most important thing is to make time for it. The daily routine of life can sneak up on us. Before you know it, the day is gone – and you’re still carrying the stress of trivial burdens around with you.
These popular locations for meditation were compiled based on the data of over 80,000 different Instagram posts. Hopefully, at least one of them will give you a little inspiration for your next round of you time.
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We scrapped Instagram for 399,415 posts containing the term #meditate. We then utilized geodata associated with each post to find the type of area these images were being taken at. We ranked them into the top 5 countries for each type of area to find the best places to meditate.
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