Wellness Around the World

Originally published on YOGANONYMOUS — December 19, 2015

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It's the time of year when one aching thought starts creeping into the mind: Escape.

The colder weather rushes in, along with a myriad of invitations to holiday parties that you'd like to decline but are obligated to attend. Just about nothing sounds better than an escape, whether it's to a snowy, wintery retreat or a blissful beach scene of palm trees and crashing waves. Either way, the end result is the same: a change of scenery. 

And what could be better than a little wanderlust mixed with winter wellness? With the focus on healthy lifestyles at an all-time high, hotels, resorts, and organizations around the world are striving to create the ultimate retreat for both relaxation and revitalization. Going beyond the standard spa treatments of massages and facials (though we'll never knock those blissful experiences!), these getaways are offering some next-level wellness programs and retreats to keep visitors happy and healthy.

Yäan Wellness Energy Spa

Ahh, the magic of Mexico. If you haven't heard of Tulum, please, I implore you, Google it, get to know it, fall in love with it, and goBeTulum is a resort in beautiful Tulum, and a place that gives you both the feeling of being immersed in bohemian beach culture and a tropical jungle—all wrapped in one boutique hotel paradise. It gets a little bit touristy this time of year, with everyone wanting to escape the winter and all, but no worries, there's plenty of soft sand, coconuts, and yoga mats to go around. Get your passport ready for a healing, relaxing getaway. 

The Yäan Wellness Energy Spa at BeTulum really runs the gamut in the offerings they have for guests, from classic spa treatments, to yoga classes, to juice cleanse programs. One of the more uncommon, and quite interesting options offered is Temazcal. Temazcal, as defined by CNN reporter Savita Iyer Ahrestani, “Entails entering a stone igloo with little or no clothing on and sweating it out to the sound of chanting and the fragrance of herbs.” Instructed by a Yäan Wellness Mayan healer this will surely be a body-mind experience unlike any other. These two and a half hour ceremonies are offered both privately and to groups in the open “full moon” ceremony. 

Wanderlust Festival, New Zealand

As if you needed any other reason to attend a Wanderlust Festival, Frommers says that this time of year in New Zealand “fresh fruit is falling off the trees.” While in most parts of the U.S. February is indicative of cold weather and winter, in New Zealand it's sweet, sweet summertime. So kick off the new year with Wanderlust and enjoy a four-day long escape from the norm. Great Lake Taupo in New Zealand is in for a yogi takeover from February 4-7. According to a recent article from Vogue's Marisa Meltzer, Wanderlust Festivals are likened to “Coachella for the yoga set,” which sounds just like what the doctor ordered for those creeping winter blues

Tickets for the festival are available for purchase now, and allow you to choose options that best cater to your needs and desires. A four-day ticket categorized as 'Tier E' will grant you access to partake in three daily activities of your choosing (and there's a ton to choose from!), and you'll gain access to one daily lecture as well as all music, so you can move and groove with the best of 'em. Tickets are also available for individual activities (SUP Yoga, horseback riding, or an organic and delectable farm-to-table dinner etc.).

If you're unable to get out of the U.S. you can always enjoy a bit of the festival fun with yoga classes, a cafe, and more at the Wanderlust Hollywood center.

Grail Springs Holistic Retreat & Spa 

So, for those cold-weather lovers out there we can't skip out on a winter wonderland wellness retreat. Located in Bancroft, Ontario this Canadian spa is award-winning, and an absolute must for cold-weather lovers looking to recharge in a beautiful place.  

The spa offers a variety of special program packages that vary in length (from day passes to some lasting up to 21 days) and focus, from the all-inclusive “grail experience” to add-on programs like juice cleanses, a full-body detox program, or the “energy regeneration” program. With the all-inclusive program package—whether you stay for two nights or more—you'll be participating in yoga classes, hikes, and meditation practices. And for the week guests will be placed on a diet that is created to reflect the Alkaline Diet (if need be, vegan guests will be accommodated accordingly).

Naturally, there are also classic spa treatments like massages and facials, as well as seaweed and mud-based masks, wraps, and some classics with a twist like the “aromatherapy massage.” Want to hear a fun fact? According to McDougall Minerals, Bancroft, Ontario is considered the “mineral capital” of Canada—so if you believe in the healing power of crystals and minerals, being at a wellness retreat in this city will be that much more magical.

The Ranch 4.0 Program, Westlake Village

California is always a good idea, and a getaway that incorporates those glorious feel-good California vibes, "treat yo' self" accomodations, and healthy living is an even better idea. The Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village offers an assortment of health and wellness programs and activities. There are classes offered for aspiring (and experienced!) cooks in their “wellness kitchen” where participants (both guests and locals) can learn about preparing a healthy and delicious meal from a registered dietician-chef. Their “farm to fork Friday” is a two-hour experience that gives class members a treat in both learning about organic, farm-fresh dishes—and enjoying said dish.

Their impressive “Ranch 4.0” program gives guests the lavish experience of staying in the luxurious Four Seasons accommodations while entering a four-day long wellness and exercise program. The luxe hotel teamed up with The Ranch at Live Oak in Malibu and California Health & Longevity Instituteto create this invigorating one of a kind program. The boot-camp-esque setup includes days full of intensive exercises and workouts like hiking, weight lifting, and yoga classes—and program attendees also receive a daily massage after a hard day's work. 

Photo By Neil Ga


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