Finding Meditation in San Diego

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My guest blogger today is Carli Leavitt, the editor of SanDiego.com. Carli is a San Diego native with a wealth of knowledge about local attractions, hotels, beaches and nightlife venues in Southern California. Enjoy reading her article about finding meditation in San Diego:

Gold domes along California Highway 101 signifying Self Realization TempleTravelers who vacation in San Diego may get caught up in the hustle and bustle of downtown or the sometimes crowded beach scene. San Diego can seem like a big beautiful city packed with tons of people and no true solace – but that’s only if you don’t know where to look. With over three million residents, San Diego definitely isn’t lacking when it comes to a social scene, but for visitors looking to get away from it all in America’s Finest City, the best place for relaxing meditation is the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas.

San Diego County happens to be home to one of the most amazing meditation grounds in the world. The Self-Realization Fellowship (or SRF as it’s often called) is home to an incredible meditation garden high atop a sea bluff above the gorgeous and famous surf spot, Swami’s. Located in the quaint coastal community of Encinitas in north county San Diego, SRF is just 30 minutes from downtown San Diego, but makes visitors feel like they’re a world away.

Landscaped stairwell to see ocean views at the Self Realization Fellowship Gardens in EncinitasThe north county coastal region of San Diego attracts yogis and yoga enthusiasts from all over the globe because of its laid-back vibe and health conscious culture. You’ll find restaurants catering to a healthy, yoga-infused lifestyle such as the Lotus Café focusing on healthy cuisine with vegetarian and vegan options, just a few blocks down Highway 101 from the meditation gardens. It seems there is a yoga studio on every block of this beach community, scattered in between countless local surf and skate shops just steps away from some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth.

Encinitas is an interesting area with a large population of people who love surfing and yoga. One morning they’re in their wetsuits at famous surf spot, Cardiff Reef, rubbing elbows with local surf celebrity Rob Machado, and the next their perfecting the crane pose at a local yoga studio. Of course, you don’t have to be a yoga aficionado to enjoy meditation and take advantage of the relaxation this area has to offer. The Self-Realization Fellowship is the best place for meditation in San Diego County with a gorgeous tropical meditation garden overlooking Swami’s beach. The gardens have flowing streams, koi ponds, waterfalls and lush green foliage with winding footpaths creating a serene environment for meditation. It’s open to the public so visitors can sit and get lost in the sounds of the ocean, resident birds and breezes blowing through the ferns in this beautiful coastal garden.

Ocean views from the gardens at the Encinitas place for yoga and meditationThe timeless spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi was written at the Self-Realization Fellowship Ashram Center in Encinitas by founder and renowned yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda. Its overwhelming beauty and serene location make it a popular destination for visitors from all over the world, looking to meditate in these inspiring coastal gardens just 25 miles north of San Diego.

For guests staying in one of the downtown hotels in San Diego, SRF is an easy drive up Interstate 5 or a relaxing drive up Highway 101 along the coast. It usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour to get to the meditation gardens from downtown depending on traffic, but it’s definitely worth the trip. For those traveling to San Diego without a car, the NCTD Coaster also runs from downtown to Encinitas for an easy and stress-free public transportation option.

The convenient location and stunning coastal setting make the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas the best place to find solace and meditate in peace in San Diego County. Get away from it all on your next San Diego vacation by making time to meditate or take a stroll through these unique oceanfront gardens.

Elephant mural on the Meditation Center gift shop in EncinitasThe SRF meditation gardens are located at:

215 ‘K’ Street
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760)753-1811

Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Closed Mondays
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I hope you will follow up on Carli’s recommendation to visit the SLF gardens in Encinitas. My wife and I visited for the first time this past weekend and really enjoyed the visit. The gardens are in full bloom, the birds are chirping away, the babbling brook is full of koi, and the views of the Pacific Ocean, where the garden reaches the seaside cliffs, are spectacular.

Although we were lured to the Pacific Highway side of the Meditation Center by the gold domed structures you’ll see along the roadway, the entrance is actually a one block walk down K Street. Quite a few people were enjoying the meditation gardens on the day of our visit but there are a number of nooks and crannies where we found secluded benches and a grassy knoll next to the pool, which used to be used used by Swami Yogananda, to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of the gardens and watch the surfers on Swami’s Beach below.

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