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You don't need to plan a round-the-world itinerary, the way author Elizabeth Gilbert did in her memoir, "Eat, Pray Love," in order to go on a journey of self-discovery.

With its historic hot springs and spectacular coastline, Northern California provides the perfect environment for personal growth and transformation.

Hidden amid the rolling hills and redwoods, you'll also find a wide range of retreat centers where you can unwind the body, quiet the mind and boost the spirit.

Here are a few of the centers where you can get a much-needed dose of relaxation and renewal after the stressful winter holidays.

The Angela Center (535 Angela Drive, Santa Rosa): Although it is grounded in Catholic tradition and sponsored by the Ursuline Sisters, this long-established retreat and learning center on a landscaped hillside in northwest Santa Rosa promotes spiritual and psychological development, social responsibility and creativity to people of all faiths and cultures.

The center offers ongoing groups, salons and counseling services as well as special retreats. Coming up on Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is a "Centering Prayer Retreat Day," an opportunity for prayerful silence within a group. The retreat, which begins with an introduction to the method, will be led by Ruah Bull. Cost is $50.

For more information: angelacenter.org; 528-8578.

Avalon Springs (13333 County Road 107, Middletown): Avalon Springs was previously known as Howard Hot Springs, and operated as a health resort from the late 1800s until 1970.

Avalon Springs will host a New Year's Retreat on Jan. 10 to Jan. 12 for those who want to move into yoga poses and then unwind in magnesium-rich spring water. The weekend retreat will be led by Jasmine Tarkeshi, who is the co-creator of Laughing Lotus Yoga Centers in New York City and San Francisco. Prices range from $449 to $665, depending on sleeping arrangements. Aside from yoga and soaking in spring water, expect to go on hikes and enjoy food prepared by a therapeutic chef.

For more information: avalonsprings.com; 928-9890.

The Bishop's Ranch (5297 Westside Road, Healdsburg): Owned by the 85-church Episcopal Diocese of California, headquartered at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the ranch has been in operation since 1947.

The 343-acre property offers accommodations for 100 people, including rooms at the original 1930 ranch house, two other lodges and five cottages. The grounds include extensive gardens, oak groves, walking trails and a solar-heated swimming pool.

"We welcome all people, and we serve all Christian denominations, and all other faiths," said Sean Swift, executive director of The Bishop's Ranch. "We see nature as the best path toward knowledge."

The centers hosts 7,800 guests a year, with visitors staying anywhere from one day to two weeks.

Programs coming up include a writing workshop entitled "Your Authentic Life: Finding Your Own True Taste," Feb. 7-9, at $294 per person, and the "Ranch Quilt Retreat" for quilt-making, Feb. 9-13, at $475 per person.

For more information: bishopsranch.org; 433-2440.

Blue Mountain Center of Meditation (3600 Tomales-Petaluma Road, Tomales): This longtime meditation center teaches "passage meditation," which involves memorizing and deeply concentrating on specific spiritual passages or prayers. Students are guided to choose passages from great saints or spiritual leaders and teachers based in a faith language that is comfortable to them. It could be anything from The Prayer of St. Francis to passages from Lau Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, American Indian tradition, the Bhagavad Gita and more.

The practice was developed by the late India-born Eknath Easwaran, who held degrees in literature and the law and who began teaching passage meditation in Berkeley after coming to the U.S. in 1959 on a Fulbright exchange program.

Blue Mountain is hosting a day-long workshop retreat from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 18 at the First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma, 939 B. St. Cost is $100 (sliding scale and special rates for young adults available). The workshop is an imtroduction to the fundamentals of passage meditation and includes a vegetarian lunch and meditative walk with a mantra. Blue Mountain also offers retreats for beginners and returnees (starting at $300 for a weekend retreat, including accommodations and vegetarian meals). The next introductory retreat is Feb. 2-23.

For more information: easwaran.org.

Isis Oasis Sanctuary (20889 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville): The Isis Oasis Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization, as well as a temple dedicated to the Goddess Isis, ancient Egyptian mother of all nature.

Epiphany seekers will want to pen this in their day-runners: The Isis Oasis Sanctuary is having an Epiphany Symposium Jan. 3 to 5. The idea is to begin the New Year not just with resolutions but with revelations and ways in which to make them stick throughout 2014. The three-day, two-night retreat is $250 per person, based on a shared-room rate. Organic meals are included in the package.

For more information: isisoasis.org; 857-4747.

Ratna Ling Retreat Center (35755 Hauser Bridge Road, Cazadero): You can create your own customized retreat or select a structured experience at this serenely beautiful center located within a redwood forest in Cazadero.

Ratna Ling, founded in Berkeley, is rooted in Nyingma, one of the most ancient lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. It is an intentional community of teachers, students and volunteers who strive to embody and share wisdom, compassion, harmony, caring and appreciation of the natural environment.

Guests at the 110-acre center stay in modern, private cottages for one to four people equipped with comforts like gas fireplaces, jetted tubs, wi-fi and hardwood floors. A short walk away is a lodge where home-cooked vegetarian meals are provided three times a day, buffet style.

Personal retreats are spiritual in nature and can be arranged for a minimum of two nights up to extended stays. Guests create their own structured experience, choosing among a variety of classes offered throughout the day, including Kum Nye (a type of yoga) relaxation, yoga, meditation and transforming stress. Massage services are available.

The center also hosts organized retreats in everything from Ayurvedic holistic medicine and meditation to vegetarian cooking. Coming up on Jan. 10 is a 3-day Post Holiday Detox Yoga Retreat ($520).

For rates and more information: 510-809-4987; for group or personal retreats: 510-809-4995; ratnaling.org.

Sonoma Zen Center (6367 Sonoma Mountain Road, Santa Rosa): Sonoma Mountain Zen Center was formed in 1973 to continue the Soto Zen lineage of Japanese Zen priest Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and to make everyday Zen available to people in Sonoma County.

Programs offer a variety of ways to engage in Zen practice, with an emphasis on a commitment to the practice of sitting meditation (zazen) every day.

The center will offer its "Winter Practice Period," registered through Japan's Soto Zen Headquarters, Jan. 27-Feb. 22, at $60 per day.

For more information: smzc.net; 545-8105.

Meg McConahey, Peg Melnik, Diane Peterson and Dan Taylor contributed to this report.

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