What to Bring
We recommend bringing the following:
Slippers (to walk inside the house)
A watch / clock (during silent retreats it is not allowed to use the cell phones)
A water bottle: The center has drinking water available for refills (we have a refined system of filters (carbon, ultraviolet, ozone) in order to make the water safe).
A thermos: If you enjoy drinking tea during lectures, it is a good idea to bring a thermos, as mugs are not allowed in the halls.
Antiseptics (antibacterial gel, peroxide, alcohol spray etc.)
Medications: antibiotics, antidiarrheals
A yoga mat: Although the center has mats available for use, it is more hygienic to bring your own.
A sarong or towel: If you decide to use one of our mats we ask that you cover it with your own sarong or towel.
Electrical adapters: Mexican electricity is supplied at U.S.-standard 110 volts, 60 cycles, and U.S. devices work here without problem. Plugs and sockets are generally two-pronged, non-polar. You must bring adapters if you are going to use appliances with polar two-pronged or three-pronged plugs.
Earplugs / blindfold (for use when meditating)
Warm Clothing for sleep and for morning meditation/yoga sessions (we are in the mountains so the temperatures go down at night). Warm socks
Waterproof shoes and raincoat/umbrella for the rainy season (April - October)
Journal & pens
*Non-perishable snacks you might want to keep in your room, like almonds or granola bars (In sealed or re-sealable containers)
Please remember to change money or use cash machines at the airport / in town upon arrival.
What is the quality of the food & water in the area?
The Dining Room at the Hridaya Family Center offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is SAFE to eat here because we use a refined system of water filters (ultraviolet, carbon, ozone) and special disinfection process with ozone for vegetables/fruits.
Please, be EXTREMELY CAREFUL if you eat something in town before/after the retreat.
Food in Mexico and, especially, in San Cristobal de Las Casas is not expensive, and there are many restaurants that offer vegetarian and vegan options.
BUT: There is a water problem in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The water is not safe - there is a high risk for getting bacteria and parasites. Avoid
- eating from the street
- drinking water/fresh juices
- eating fresh fruits/salads/veggies
- drinking water from the sink. Even a little bit when brushing your teeth can be risky
* even if the food is safe, it can be served on the dishes where there are drops of water
If you do not want to get a bacterial infection/parasites - then eat and drink only cooked, warm/hot food and drinks (ideally with temperature above 60 degrees). Drink either hot water or water from bottles.
Bring with you your own antiseptics (antibacterial gel, peroxide, alcohol spray etc.)
- there are some homeless dogs in the area. Sometimes they bark a lot but they are not dangerous.
- it is recommended to check your shoes before putting them on. There may be some insects inside.
- Although there are no really dangerous insects/animals here, sometimes you may see small black scorpions, but this local species's stings do not pose any risk
How do I get to Hridaya Family Center? and What is the closest airport?
Check out our How to Get Here page
When to Visit
The "Hridaya Family" Meditation Center is open year-round and each season has its beauty. There are two defined seasons in San Cristobal de las Casas:
1) April - October: rainy season. It is warm (day temperature 20-24 degrees C, night temperature 10-16 degrees C) and it rains occasionally which creates lush, green landscapes (the most rainy months are May and September)
2) November - March: dry season. it is sunny basically all the time, but the nights may be chilly. The average day temperature is 17-22 degrees C, night temperature is 5-12 degrees C.
Is it Safe There?
The forested area around our Center with its walking trails is safe.
The town of San Cristobal de Las Casas is also relatively safe. Violent crime is rare, although opportunistic theft can happen. You can reduce its likelihood by remaining vigilant and not carrying valuables with you.
We do our best to provide a safe environment at the "Hridaya Family" Meditation Center, however we ask that all students exercise awareness in regards to personal safety and in the care of belongings. All personal belongings left around the center and in rooms / dormitories are left at your own risk.
We would also like to warn you about some scenarios in which trusting foreigners often find themselves vulnerable to crime, and to provide you some common-sense suggestions.
Please lock your backpack and luggage when you are traveling. Unlocked baggage may be subject to search and theft by unscrupulous people working or traveling on buses, trains, etc. While you are separated from your luggage, i.e. when it is in the luggage compartment of a bus, while you are sleeping, etc., use zipper locks. The same goes for purses and daypacks when you are sleeping and traveling.
Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico?
Do I need to have health insurance?
Although health care in the area is generally affordable, it is always advisable to purchase travel insurance before any trip. There are many travel health insurance plans available online. Please do some research before leaving on your trip.
Is there internet access at the school?
Wi-Fi is available on-site at Hridaya Family, but during Silent Meditation Retreats using cell phones/computers is not allowed. Our retreats are an opportunity for you to disconnect from the outside world, and instead connect with yourself and ultimately fully immerse yourself in the teachings for the duration of your stay here.
What dietary recommendations do you have?
We strongly recommend that you maintain a vegetarian diet for the duration of your yoga/meditation retreats, and/or workshops. Please also refrain from smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and using drugs during your participation in our courses.
The yoga practice (both Hatha yoga and meditation) helps tremendously in letting go off old habits and even addictions.
- The physical body
The energy body (making it easier to perceive and activate the energy centers, chakras, and energy channels, nadis)
The subconscious mind, releasing and embracing emotion
Traditionally, yoga practice always includes a vegetarian diet. Practicing yoga with a different diet may be less efficient and even risky.
Therefore, it is recommended for your health and safety as well as for the efficiency of your spiritual transformation that you choose to adhere to these recommendations.
What restaurants do you recommend in town ?
1) Plaza San Agustin: there are different restaurants there. Thai, French, Sushi, cafe Amor Negro, french patisserie/bakery.
2)Bo Lum: it is a refined and expensive option but before 12:00 PM there are delicious breakfasts at regular town price
3) Sarajevo - food and atmosphere
4) Sweetbeat - food and atmosphere
5) Achiote Cochinita Pibil - for local food
Tourist Attractions in the area: