BOONE, NC--(Marketwired - August 22, 2013) - The Art of Living Retreat Center, a 375-acre mountain-top spiritual and wellness community near Boone, North Carolina, is ushering in a modern spin on the ancient tradition of getting away from it all.
For centuries, adventurous souls seeking spiritual renewal have retreated into the countryside to deepen their practice of meditation and yoga, and to experience the restorative effects of nature. With a massive renovation of 17 buildings and 310 sleeping rooms, they are opening their doors to a rapidly-growing segment of the population wishing to do the same.
"More people are meditating now than at any time in history," says Director of Marketing, Thomas Bell. "Some twenty-million Americans took a yoga class last year. As a nation we are paying closer attention to what we put into our bodies than ever before. It makes sense that we are spending recreation dollars on more holistic, authentic and enriching experiences."
In a culture where multi-tasking and hand-held gadgets are the rule, retreat centers go against the grain by challenging their guests to temporarily let go.
"What we originally considered obstacles to our success -- we're not particularly easy to find, we don't serve meat or alcohol, and cell phone coverage is spotty -- have actually become competitive advantages. People are finding that stepping away from their routine patterns of constant thinking a couple of times a year is a prerequisite to living a happy, meaningful life."
Visitors stroll through thick-canopied trails framed by hundred-mile views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Meals are healthy vegetarian, with an emphasis on raising prana (energy) versus filling up the belly. Guests enjoy sunrise yoga, with additional classes in pranayama, (yogic breathing.) And "happy hour" is an evening meditation followed by kirtan call and response singing, with acoustic guitars and spirited dancing.
Additionally, renowned authors and speakers conduct personal-development workshops on weekends. Forward-thinking businesses and organizations rent out the facility for their own programs. And thirty-four upscale rooms -- with a spa that features coveted Aryuvedic treatments like marma and zeekhara -- cater to guests looking for a bit more luxury.
"The need of the time is to better understand our emotions and to quiet our minds," says Bell. "You can be in a tropical paradise, but if you are restless, agitated, or depressed, are you really on vacation? There is an expansion of consciousness that occurs here, a sense of upliftment and well being."