Spiritual tourism is expanding rapidly all over the world. Everything from 45 minute yoga sessions in your city to month long stays at Ashrams in Asia are becoming more and more common, especially for the western tourists who is typically lacking spirituality in their day to day lives. The spiritual traveler has an increasing number of options. Yoga sessions are the most common option and are offered at most major nature resorts, ecolodges, and beach resorts. Everyone from fitness gurus and spiritual teachers to a local, unqualified yoga teacher lead these sessions. In the jungles of the Amazon many spiritual travelers meet with a shaman who gives them a mixture called ayahuasca, which leads them to hallucinate. The shaman then leads them on a spiritual journey and more frequently meditation clinics are held during and after the ritual. In India you can stay in ashrams and learn yoga for weeks or months at a time, but must be willing to commit to the mindset and chores of the ashram. In Europe and the Holy Land many Christian pilgrims crawl on their hands and knees to walk the same steps as those from Holy Scriptures. The array of options is staggering for the spiritual tourist.
Options for beginners
Many are looking just for some relaxation and to forget the stress and chaos of the workplace. They head to a beach resort and take a few yoga classes and spend much of the rest of their trip doing what they would normally do on a vacation. These travelers aren’t looking solely for a religious makeover, just a taste of it. They aren’t going to completely dedicate themselves to a spiritual practice or ritual on their short trip. They may surround themselves with legendary gurus and teachers, but only for a brief bit of time. They may go on a week long meditation trip or even stay briefly at an Indian ashram, but these travelers aren’t quite ready to dedicate their entire lives to a certain spiritual practice.
Options for advanced
The advanced spiritual traveler often is seeking something more than just a vacation. They need to revaluate their spiritual lives and are more than willing to dedicate themselves to a ritual or religion. They may be looking to train with famous or specific teachers, renowned gurus and yogis often hold workshops in resort destinations and religious centers all over the world. These are generally classes where you won’t find beginners, but rather the most intense and dedicated followers.
Often the advanced yoga enthusiasts want to become certified for teaching yoga. They will train for several weeks or months depending on the schedule and then when they return home they can actually teach classes and sustain a living doing so. Classes for massages, Reiki, meditation, and other spiritual practices are also commonplace for those looking to expand their knowledge and skills. The advanced spiritual traveler sometimes will dedicate months or years to teachings from a guru or master. These are often community type systems where masters and gurus guide an individual toward enlightenment. Experiences such as this are most often found in Asia, especially in India.