Could meditation be the best way to get back control of lives?
PSY MEDITATION At last, a meditation session for real beginners. Sitting on a cushion in a half lotus, eyes glued to something three feet away, we concentrate on breathing. And if a thought comes to mind, we don’t watch it drift by like a cloud in the sky. No way. We try to wade back upstream to see how that thought began to take shape. According to Alexandre Malbrand, the idea is to take it on board: we can take part in our thoughts, not control them. Hence the very interesting “step back” in the face of stress and our recurring sources of angst. Pragmatic, don’t you think? €29 / hour, Le Tigre, 17, rue de Chaillot, Paris 16th, tigre–yoga.com.
SIXTH SENSE. Ophélie comes to your home to help you nurture your natural instincts when it comes to making decisions. The session begins quite simply, by focusing on breathing — from deep within. Then, guided by her voice, we try to really feel the different parts of our body: tingling, shivering or burning sensations under the skin can all be used to withdraw from our thoughts, reconnect with our feelings, and develop our intuition. The aim is to be able to keep a sufficient distance from a given situation so that we can make the right choices naturally. €80 € / hour, +33 ( 0 ) 6 15 97 48 52.
A SELF-HEALING MANTRA. People come here with a voice recorder, because, beyond the rather conventional lotus and half–lotus positions and working on our breathing, you have to listen, remember information and recite mantras at the same time as Sofia Stril–Rever, the Dalai–Lama’s biographer. The choice of these secret formulas, all Sanskrit in origin, is decided at the beginning of each session and depends on the issue or problem that needs to be dealt with. You are then required to repeat them at home, if possible in the evening. The aim is to enable the sound vibrations to heal an organ, regulate an emotion, or release a mental block and free the mind. Intriguing. €88 / hour, +33 ( 0 ) 6 01 91 92 10.
INDIA — FOR THE PURISTS. Every year, the Ananda wins an award for the best spa retreat. The location is a heady experience in itself, perched 1,000 metres up in the foothills of the Himalayas, just above the Ganges. A ll spa programmes offer a combination of Ayurveda, yoga and meditation, with seven different methods, including purifying chakras ( Chakra Shuddhi ), the technique of inner visualisation ( Chidakasha Dharana ), and mantra therapy ( Ajapa Japa ). The classes are run by professional graduates from the Bihar School of Meditation. Exclusif Voyages, +33 ( 0 ) 1 42 96 00 76 and anandaspa.com.
BALI — FOR AESTHETES. No–one comes to Como Shambhala Bali to be mollycoddled, but rather to find inner peace. An extensive programme alternating meditation, yoga, tai– chi, spiritual discussions and Buddhist teaching. The courses are held in a protected environment in the heart of the jungle, where you can escape for a while from the disturbing face to face with yourself, follow a white– water rafting course, or cross–training along the rice fields, where you may actually meet a traditional healer. comohotels.com
PORTUGAL — for the Mystics among us. The Penha Longa in Portugal is the only Six Senses to have a meditation maze! We move forward guided by a Master to realign body, heart and spirit, and to see what we want to do with our lives. Once we find the answer, we follow a short Shiatsu or Qigong class near the Sintra national park, where you can capture the fabulous seismic energies of the place, a 14th–century monastery, no less. penhalonga.com.