World’s Top 10 Meditation Centers

There are as many ways to travel as there are people in the world. Whether it’s a visit to Brazil, an exploration of the largest zoos in the United States, or a tour of the oldest countries in the world, there are ways to travel that fulfill any interest.

While good weather and food may be the focus of many vacations, it’s also possible to pursue more of an introspective experience. Meditation centers can be found all over the world, and they can provide truly remarkable experiences.

Whether you’re a seasoned meditator or just meditation-curious, this post will help you find the perfect meditation center. After a brief overview of meditation – what it is, different types, benefits, and how to do it – we’ll list ten of the world’s top meditation centers.

Below is a world map showing the top ten meditation centers in the world.

The World’s Top Meditation Centers

A world map highlighting various meditation and yoga centers, such as Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Esalen Institute, Gampo Abbey, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Centre for World Peace and Health, Plum Village, Kathmandu Meditation School and Retreat, Isha Yoga Center, Wat Suan Mokkh, and The Buddhist Retreat Centre, with markers indicating their locations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Top Rated Meditation Centers Around World


Location: Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Map showing the Northeastern region of the United States with a red marker over pointing out Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Kripalu’s location in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Nestled in the Berkshires, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is not just a retreat but a holistic experience for body and mind. Renowned for its yoga programs, Kripalu goes beyond asanas with its emphasis on wellness, offering workshops that span from self-care to spiritual exploration.

The tranquil setting, overlooking a picturesque lake, complements the center’s mission to foster an integrative approach to health.

Gampo Abbey

The white and gold Stupa of Enlightenment stands before a group of trees at Gampo Abbey, one of the top meditation centers in the world.
Stupa of Enlightenment at Gampo Abbey

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

A Google Maps image showing the geographic region of Eastern Canada and Northeastern United States, with a focus on Prince Edward Island, which is marked with a red pin labeled 'G' for Gampo Abbey.
Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada

Gampo Abbey beckons those seeking a monastic experience in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. Located on Cape Breton Island, this rural sanctuary offers a unique life of contemplation, community, and simplicity.

Visitors can dive into the study of meditation, engage in communal work, and embrace the rhythm of monastic life amidst the rugged beauty of Nova Scotia’s coastal landscape.


Location: Big Sur, California

A Google Maps screenshot showing a section of California with a red pin labeled "E" for Esalen in Big Sur, California.
Esalen in Big Sur, California

Perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Esalen Institute is a pioneer in personal growth and transformation practices. Known for its workshops, alternative education, and breathtaking views, Esalen is a place where the mind, body, and spirit converge. Its famous hot springs, organic gardens, and the sound of crashing waves provide an unparalleled backdrop for meditation and introspection.

Centre for World Peace and Health

Holy Isle can be seen from Lamlash on the Isle of Arran in Scotland.
Holy Isle, Scotland

Location: Holy Isle, Scotland

A map showing the geographical location of Holy Isle in Scotland near Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, with a red pin marking the city's position.
The Centre for World Peace and Health location in Holy Isle, Scotland

Off the western coast of Scotland lies the Holy Isle, home to the Centre for World Peace and Health. This spiritual sanctuary, with its interfaith approach, is dedicated to peace and holistic well-being.

The island’s natural beauty offers a serene backdrop for meditation, while the center’s programs encourage harmony between different worldviews, fostering a collective aspiration for peace.

Wat Suan Mokkh

Location: Chaiya District, Surat Thani, Thailand

Map showing a section of southern Thailand with provinces such as Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Trang, including the location of Koh Samui.
Wat Suan Mokkh in Surat Thani, Thailand

Wat Suan Mokkh, the ‘Garden of Liberation,’ is an idyllic refuge in the province of Surat Thani. Founded by the influential monk Ajahn Buddhadasa, this forest monastery emphasizes a simple and mindful way of living. Visitors can attend the 10-day silent meditation retreats, delving into Vipassana meditation amidst the tranquility of tropical gardens and reflective ponds.

The Buddhist Retreat Centre

Green hills and cliffs make up the landscape in KwaZulu-Natal's Drakensberg National Park.
Drakensberg National Park in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Location: Ixopo, South Africa

A map showing a part of South Africa including the cities Durban and East London. In the center, the country of Lesotho is highlighted, and a red marker labeled 'B' is placed near Durban.
Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, South Africa

In the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal, The Buddhist Retreat Centre offers an escape into mindfulness with a panoramic view. The center’s philosophy embraces Buddhist principles and the art of quietude.

Those who participate in retreats can enjoy Zen and Vipassana meditation, walking the labyrinth or the nature trails, and participating in community service, all within a space that celebrates biodiversity and conservation.

Isha Yoga Center

People in colorful clothing gather in front of a giant Shiva statue at Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore, India.
Shiva statue at Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore, India

Location: Coimbatore, India

A map showing the region around Coimbatore in southern India with geographic labels in both the local scripts and English, a red pin marking the city's location.
Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore, India

At the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, Isha Yoga Center stands as a bastion of the yogic tradition. Founded by Sadhguru, the center offers various programs and practices, including the Inner Engineering retreats that aim to ignite inner transformation. The ashram is also home to the impressive Dhyanalinga, a unique meditative space that doesn’t ascribe to any single faith or belief system.

Kathmandu Meditation School and Retreat

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal

A map showing Kathmandu and surrounding areas in Nepal, with major roads, cities, and natural landmarks such as Mount Everest and national parks.
Kathmandu Meditation School and Retreat in Kathmandu, Nepal

In the vibrant heart of Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Meditation School and Retreat provides a sanctuary amidst the hustle. Offering a variety of meditation courses, from Buddhist teachings to modern techniques, this center is a nexus of tranquility where practitioners can deepen their understanding and experience of meditation in a city steeped in spiritual history.

Plum Village

Location: Village des Pruniers, France

A Google Maps overview showing part of France with cities and towns such as Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Limoges, major roads, and regions like Parc naturel régional des Landes de Gascogne, with a red marker over the city of Bergerac.
Village des Pruniers in the Dordogne region of France

Founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village is a mindfulness practice center in the Dordogne region of France. This community is grounded in the teachings of mindfulness, compassion, and peace.

Visitors, known as ‘friends,’ can participate in communal activities, learn the art of mindful living, and experience the practice of walking and eating meditation in the lush French countryside. There are also other Plum Village practice centers located around the world.

Spirit Rock

Location: Woodacre, California

A Google Maps screenshot showing the San Francisco Bay Area with a red pin marking San Francisco's location.
Spirit Rock in Woodacre, California

In the serene woodlands of Marin County, Spirit Rock Meditation Center stands as a beacon for mindfulness training. With a focus on Insight Meditation (Vipassana), Spirit Rock offers a range of programs from daylong workshops to silent retreats, fostering a community dedicated to awakening and compassion.

The center’s commitment to inclusivity and sustainability is as steadfast as its dedication to the practice of meditation.

What is Meditation?

A stone statue of Buddha sits among trees in a forest.
Buddha statue

At its core, meditation is a practice that aims to train the mind, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth. It’s an ancient tradition that is deeply rooted in various cultures around the world and has a rich history that spans thousands of years.

There are many different ways to meditate, and they are centered primarily around mindfulness, focused attention, and deep breathing. Other methods include walking meditation, music meditation, and even dishwashing meditation. These techniques are designed to help individuals approach a state of mental clarity and emotional calmness while offering a whole host of other potential benefits that we’ll explore in the next section.

For the uninitiated, there are a number of misconceptions that can surround the idea of meditation. To set some of them straight: meditation is not about obtaining a new set of beliefs, becoming a different person, or even achieving a state of total enlightenment.

At its core, meditation is about observing the present moment without judgment, acknowledging thoughts and feelings as they arise, and gently guiding the mind back to a point of focus.

Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation are both broad and profound, extending from improved mental well-being and stress reduction to enhanced focus and creativity. Scientific research supports its positive impact on various aspects of physical health and mental health, including lowering blood pressure and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Here’s a list of some additional potential benefits of meditation:

  • Strengthening of the immune system
  • Stress reduction
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Increased attention span
  • Reduction of age-related memory loss
  • Improved sleep
  • Pain reduction
  • Mood regulation

How to Meditate

A woman sits in meditation on a carpet in a white room.

There are many different ways to meditate, and knowing where to begin can be daunting to beginners. This is one of the reasons meditation centers can be so beneficial – they offer guidance and a focused environment to help you make the most of your practice.

Fortunately, meditation is truly accessible to everyone, regardless of experience or background. We’ll outline the basics of a few different methods and techniques for meditating below:

Mindfulness Meditation

This practice involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment, without judgment. Begin by finding a quiet space, sitting comfortably, and focusing on your breath. As your mind wanders, which it naturally will, gently bring your attention back to the breath. This technique helps cultivate a state of active, open attention to the present and can be practiced anywhere, anytime.

Focused Attention Meditation

This method involves concentrating on a single point of reference. It could be your breath, a mantra, a specific word, or even the flame of a candle. The goal is to focus entirely on the chosen object of attention, and when the mind drifts, to gently redirect it back. This practice enhances the ability to remain calm, focused, and grounded.

Body Scan Meditation

In this form of meditation, attention is directed to different parts of the body, often starting at the feet and moving upwards. It can be done in a lying or sitting position. By mentally scanning yourself, you observe any discomfort, tension, or sensations without trying to change them. This technique promotes bodily awareness and relaxation.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Aimed at cultivating an attitude of love and kindness towards everything, even sources of stress and those one has difficult feelings towards. It involves silently repeating messages of love and goodwill towards oneself and others. This practice can foster a sense of interconnectedness, empathy, and an overall positive outlook.

Walking Meditation

Perfect for those who prefer movement to stillness, walking meditation involves focusing on the movement of the feet and becoming mindful of the experience of walking. It can be practiced in a labyrinth, on a nature trail, or even in your own backyard. The rhythm of walking helps to calm the mind and bring a sense of bodily presence and awareness.

Regardless of the technique, the key to meditation is consistency. Even just a few minutes a day can make a significant difference in one’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. As you explore different methods, remember that there’s no right or wrong way to meditate. The best practice is the one that feels most natural and beneficial to you.

Benefits of a Meditation Center

A group of women sit together in meditation on mats in a room.

For beginners and advanced meditators alike, spending time at a meditation center offers unique benefits that can deeply enrich one’s practice and overall sense of well-being. These centers, designed to foster tranquility and mindfulness, provide an ideal setting to explore meditation in a supportive environment. Here are some of the key advantages:

Structured Environment: Meditation centers offer a structured setting that is conducive to deepening one’s practice. With scheduled sessions and guided instructions, individuals can learn various meditation techniques under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Some centers are more structured than others, and this is something that’s worth researching before choosing a meditation center.

Community Support: One of the most significant benefits is the sense of community. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share similar goals can be incredibly motivating. This is true even in meditation environments where prolonged periods of silence are encouraged.

Distraction-Free Zone: In today’s fast-paced world, finding a quiet space free from distractions can be challenging. Meditation centers are designed to be peaceful havens, allowing individuals to fully immerse themselves in their practice without the interruptions of daily life. This environment fosters deeper concentration and mindfulness.

Access to Expertise: Meditation centers often host workshops, talks, and retreats led by skilled practitioners and teachers. This access to expertise provides invaluable insights into meditation techniques, philosophies, and the integration of mindfulness into daily life. It also offers a chance to ask questions and receive personalized guidance.

Holistic Health Focus: Many centers emphasize holistic well-being, incorporating elements such as yoga, breathwork, and nutritional guidance alongside meditation. This comprehensive approach supports physical health, mental clarity, and emotional balance, contributing to an overall sense of wellness.

Retreat Opportunities: Meditation centers frequently offer retreats that range from a weekend to several weeks, allowing for an immersive experience. Retreats can significantly deepen one’s practice, offering intensive periods of meditation that can lead to profound insights, personal breakthroughs, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Natural Settings: Often located in serene, natural environments, meditation centers offer a connection to nature which can enhance the meditative experience. The natural beauty and quietude of these settings contribute to relaxation and stress reduction, amplifying the benefits of meditation.

Image Sources and Copyright Information
  • Meditation Centers World: © Mappr | CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International
  • Stupa of Enlightenment at Gampo Abbey Surrounded by Nature: © Nicole Bratt/Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic
  • Serene View of Holy Isle from Lamlash on the Isle of Arran: © jazman/Shutterstock
  • Panoramic View of the Lush Greenery in Drakensberg National Park, KwaZulu-Natal: ©
  • Visitors at the Adiyogi Shiva Statue in Coimbatore, India: © Srinivasan.Clicks/Shutterstock
  • Serene Buddha Statue in a Forest Clearing: © Madam Pong/Shutterstock
  • Young Woman Practicing Meditation in a Serene Indoor Environment: © 220 Selfmade studio/Shutterstock
  • Diverse Group of Young Women Practicing Yoga in a Serene Indoor Setting: © fizkes/Shutterstock