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Tassajara?s summer meditation series
No phone? No TV? No electricity? Oh my!
Alia Malley

Come on, fess up: How many times this week have you checked your email in the middle of the night?

For those of us who might have a bit of, um, digital dependency, there’s Tassajara, a meditation retreat 25 miles southeast of Big Sur. The main focus? Unplugging.

Found at the bottom of a canyon deep in the Ventana Wilderness, Tassajara has no electricity and rooms are lit with kerosene lanterns. (There aren’t even any clocks!)

Most of the year the bucolic, nature-filled area is closed to all but monks and students, but for five months starting on May 1, the center flings open its doors for yoga lovers and stress balls. Start your day with the easygoing Healing Power of Stillness class, which introduces the concepts of Zen Buddhism through restorative yoga.

At night, meander down the creek to The Narrows, a clothing-optional swimming hole where you can sneak in a small bottle of wine and sip by moonlight.

One word of warning: Temple chores (chopping vegetables, washing dishes, scrubbing floors à la Eat, Pray, Love) are a necessary part of the ascetic experience. But hey, you’re here for the private escape, not the lavish pampering, right?

Tassajara retreats start at $204; rooms from $100 per night; sfzc.org

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