Inside the New-Age Spiritual Retreats of the Future—And Our Search For Something More

While sensual magic workshops and yoni activation ceremonies weren’t always on my bucket list, I was prompted to attend Rachel’s retreat after working with her for nearly a year via Zoom sessions. I was intrigued by her tantric-based teachings, but I was also interested in cultivating my own version of spirituality. More specifically, finding a way of being that didn’t require eliciting power or acceptance from a source outside of myself—especially after two fraught pandemic years. After leaving the retreat, I felt empowered, armed with a new manifesto of spiritual living I could subscribe to, and I knew I wasn’t the only one interested in this type of life-altering experience, as evidenced by my fellow retreat-goers. 

Participants at Rachel Pringle Urb’s retreat in Costa Rica earlier this year.

Courtesy of Rachel Pringle Urb

When I got home, I decided to dig a little deeper. Why, every time I opened my Instagram or my email, was I being alerted of another personality or brand getting on board the transformation train, offering spiritual gatherings of all sizes? I was also curious to better understand what to offer at my own retreat this coming February—a six-day writing retreat in Todos Santos in Baja California Sur, Mexico—and if writers would be interested in diving into their craft while also practicing rituals Rachel taught me: breathwork, tantric meditations, and more. 

While many new-age spiritual retreats such as the one I went on in Costa Rica cater primarily to women—as well as like-minded offerings such as the La Luna Retreats in Spain and the upcoming Wild Terrains’ retreat in Mexico—the industry has spread wider than I previously thought. In fact, it’s booming, both in terms of consumer need and from an economic perspective, which perhaps explains why brands both large and small are quickly getting on board. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the world’s wellness economy is expected to rise from a $4.4 trillion market in 2020 to a $7 trillion market in 2025. While wellness tourism currently accounts for $436 billion of this total, it’s projected to soar in the coming years as the world emerges from the pandemic: Experts project a nearly 20 percent annual growth, with the wellness tourism market predicted to be a $1.1 trillion industry by 2025.

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