Yoga elder Sama Fabianreturns to The Spa at Stoweflake in Stowe, Vermont, for a five-day yoga retreat May 23 - 28th. I attended her classes at , who wowed me at The Balanced Life Retreat last May. Charismatic, original, and precise, Sama is a yoga genius, yet the classes are valuable for everyone from the beginner to advanced practitioners.
From 8 to 9:15 a.m. the group will tune in to the body's energy through bandhus (body locks), kriyas (techniques to manifest awakened energy), and vayu practices, which help to move the body's energy in the proper direction. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Sama will lead the group through mindful, gentle asana practices. From 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sama leads a discussion on optimizing our personal resources and our responses to challenge and transition in our lives. And from 4:30 to 6:00pm she leads the group in restorative practices and yoga nidra, a nurturing, relaxing practice to restore your energy.
"It is in life's challenging moments of transition that we need to stabilize our nervous system and rekindle our connection to our personal power," Sama says. "In this retreat we will learn to optimize our resources and ready ourselves to respond skillfully to conditions as they arise."
People are sometimes too casual about getting a massage. They show up one minute before the massage is supposed to start, dripping with sweat from a workout, and get mad because the person at the front desk is helping someone else.
Here's the way I look at it. If you're investing in a massage, why not do everything in your power to make it a therapeutic and relaxing experience? Here are my tips for getting ready for a massage.
A sauna is one of the most common amenities in hotel, resort and destination spas, and yet it is often sadly empty. I think there are a couple of reasons why this is the case. First, most saunas in American spas just aren't very hot, so it takes a long time to warm up and really feel the beneficial sweat.
Another reason is that most Americans just aren't that comfortable with the sauna experience, and don't know how healthy and detoxifying it can be. I also imagine spa directors saying to themselves, "Hmmmm, no one goes in there very much. Why use so much electricity keeping the room at 160F?" Most Americans seem to prefer the hot tubs, which may feel good, but are chemical-laden baths. Saunas, on the other hand, are truly healthy.
We could learn from the Finns, who invented saunas and introduced the word to the English language. Ninety-nine percent of Finns take a sauna (there, it rhymes with downer) at least one a week. When they visit their summer cottages in the countryside, life practically revolves around the sauna, and they cool off in nearby lakes. Read more about why you should give the sauna a try the next time you go to the spa.
A few years ago I found out about Ajne all-natural fragrances, made by Jane Hendler, an artisan parfumeur and Certified Master Essential Oil Therapist. "Most products use synthetic ingredients and aromachemicals," she says. "True rare and precious perfumes, on the other hand, return to old world and even ancient practices of using real plant ingredients, many of them more costly than pure gold."
I am a natural beauty aficionado and was eager to try the scents, but her showroom is in Carmel, California. So Jane sent me a few samples of her ready-to-wear scents so I could see how they interacted with my own body chemistry. I chose the grounding blend of Om, a blend of sandalwood, ancient Himalayan heart cedar and deep forest lichen. (Was it just a coincidence I became a Buddhist shortly after?)
And anyone can order up some samples based on what you think you'll like. Ajne offers nine sample sets of four different perfumes in tiny roll-on bottles are grouped by families of scent -- wood, herbaceous, citrus, etc. Read More...
Spa Week is coming up April 21-27, 2014. That means hundreds of participating spas will offer $50 spa treatments that usually go for far more. You will be able to view and book treatments for the Spring 2013 event starting in March.
Some spas allow for direct booking on the SpaWeek website, while other you may have to call. Be sure to specify you want to book your $50 Spa Week treatment when you call for appointments.
You can save even more by buying Spa & Wellness gifts cards at a 15% discount offered to About.com readers. Buy a bunch of cards for $25 or $50 and you can use them as you spa-hop. Enjoy!
Miraval's Sweet & Savory Cooking (Hay House, 2014), is an inspiring way to bring the legendary Tucson destination spa into your home. The recipes were created by executive chef Justin Macy and pastry chef Kim Macy, the charming married couple who both work at Miraval in Tucson. Justin, in fact, started as a prep cook at Miraval when he was just 17 years old! And though the recipes come from a professional kitchen, most are easily accessible for the home cook.
Miraval's Sweet & Savory Cooking buy nowopens with beautiful breakfast breads, like the Classic Vanilla Coffee Cake with nonfat plain yogurt to bring the calorie count down to 160 per slice. There are easy, interesting appetizers, like Truffled Black Olive Bruschetta, and entrees like the Venison Chili that I'm eager to try. (I have a friend with a freezer full of venison.)
The desserts look special, though not always easy. The Brown Sugar Pineapple Cake with home-made Macadamia Nut Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce might be a challenge. But overall it's a lovely book that makes you want to cook.
"What we really shared with readers is our philosophy on food and the role it plays in our lives, "say Justin and Kim. "Cooking is a way Read More...
Hand-made beauty products using all-natural ingredients are on the rise. Search for "natural skin care" in the Esty store, and you'll get nearly 17,000 choices. But quality is highly variable and with shipping charges, it's not as inexpensive as it looks. I spent a small fortune trying to find good, natural products, so I know.
Last year I fell in love with a locally made, all-natural skin care line called Kamama, created by master therapist Holly Kirk, whiIe visiting The Canebrake in Oklahoma. I especially love her Rose Floral Mist and Orange Blosoom Floral Mist ($21 for 4 oz.), the Peppermint Foot Scrub ($14.99 for 8 oz.) that doubles as a refreshing body scrub, and her super-nourishing Rejuvenating Lip Balm ($3.95).
At that time you could only get Kamama at The Canebrake, but now Holly has set up her own Kamama on-line store. Better yet, you can get some of her products on sale (including the Orange Blossom Floral Mist for $12.60) because she's changing her labels.
We've heard that we should drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. But not many of us drink that much. And as it it turns out, even that recommendation may be low. I thought I drank plenty of water -- most days anyway -- but going through The Conscious Cleanse alerted me to the fact that I wasn't drinking nearly enough.
Once I started following new recommendations on how much water to drink every day, I felt better. My muscle tissue and joints felt more fluid and flexible, and pain in my shoulders eased significantly. I highly recommend that you check out the latest thinking on how much water each person should drink every day (it's individual), and how to get all that water down.
A cleanse is a way to detoxify your body and give it a break from the foods that might be causing you trouble, such as dairy, wheat, sugar, caffeine, and eggs. During a cleanse, your digestive system doesn't have to work as hard, which leaves more energy for the body to detoxify and heal. But there are different kinds of cleanses.
The Master Cleanse kicked things off in the 1940s with an austere blend of lemon water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. But the advent of juicing and green smoothies has made juice fasts easier to follow. And food-based cleanses like the Conscious Cleanse actually teach you how to discover the best way for you to eat -- all the time. Read more.
I thought I was a healthy eater until I went on the two-week Conscious Cleanse, a combination detox/elimination diet developed by Julie Eberle Palaez and Jo Schaalman. I had to give up plain Greek yogurt, my husband's home-made whole wheat bread, and organic peanut butter, along with the usual suspects like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. The idea was to detox with a very simple eating plan, and discover the foods that might keep me from feeling my best.
I thought I drank enough water, but I started each (heavily hydrated) day with 32 ounces of hot water with lemon. The more water I drank, the thirstier I was. I couldn't figure it out until one of the Facebook coaches said dehydrated people aren't thirsty, just like starving people aren't hungry. I thought I ate enough vegetables, but not I was eating a LOT more, especially green leafy vegetables like kale and collards that went down easily in a morning green smoothie.
Caffeine withdrawal was rough. But after the first week, I started feeling pretty good. And by the time the cleanse was over I had experienced profound improvements in my health. Losing five pounds was the least of it. And the program was easier to follow than I had imagined, due to great support from Jo and Jules during the cleanse. Read more.