After you’ve rung in the new year, it’s time to take up those resolutions to eat better, drink less, exercise more. Sometimes we need a bit of a push to get started so here are some ideas about how to ring in a healthy new year!
The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is a guided rebalancing of the mind and body through sensory immersion in forests or other healing environments. Head to the Brewery Gulch Inn and take a “Dipping Your Toes” experience with local wellness expert Delphine Davidson who will guide you through an experience that includes gentle walking, periods of quietly sitting, meditative interaction with nature, breathing exercises, locally made herbal tea and wild berries when in season. Down the coast, Margaret Lindgren of Unbeaten Path Tours, leads visitors through a BreathWalk, a combination of yogic, rhythmic and meditative walking program. Enjoy this opportunity to learn a new method of walking that includes breath techniques and focused attention synchronized with the movements of the body.
Stanford Inn by the Sea
Nestled along Mendocino’s rugged Highway 1, the Stanford Inn by the Sea steps up with a roster of health-related programs tied to a multi-day stay. Available are three four-day Vegan Retreats and programs focused on everything from creativity and the all-out garden go to—“Get Your Hands in the Dirt Experience.” The 41-room inn is also home to the Mendocino Center for Living Well which offers acupuncture, Tai Chi, Chinese medicine and nutrition, and weight management courses as well as mind-bending forays including the Imagination Playshop and seasonal medicinal mushroom foraging treks.
Vichy Springs Resort
Sometimes all a good mind and body reboot requires is a good long soak. Enter California Landmark No. 980 – better known as the champagne mineral baths – off Highway 101 near Ukiah. Vichy Springs Resort and Spa, a 700-acre facility boasting America’s only warm and naturally carbonated Vichy mineral baths (and Olympic-size pool), is the perfect Rx for rejuvenation. Bed down in the historic Blue Cottage (1852), hike to Chemisal Falls or take to the creek side baths like a lime in Perrier.
Seeking solitude in a more rustic setting? Orr Hot Springs is the stop. Located next to Montgomery Woods State Park in the back country, this 27-acre bucolic escape is the real deal. Originally on the stagecoach route in the late 1800s, the resort began building cabins in the 1930s and today has a mix of lodgings near the meandering fresh mountain spring. Guests can delve into a secluded mineral bath, opt for two communal tubs set between 104–107 degrees or snag one of two stargazing tubs located atop of the bathhouse building.
City of 10,000 Buddhas
Straight off a movie set, the tiny road through Talmage leads to the Gate of Three Arches and into another realm – the City of 10,000 Buddhas. Pass through to peacocks, pagodas, “Vigor” and Virtue” signposts and the resonance of chanting monks at one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the Western hemisphere. Prime time is 10:30AM or 12:30PM, when visitors can join the service inside an elaborate Jeweled Hall of 10,000 Buddhas, which line the facility from floor to ceiling. Onsite is an excellent vegetarian restaurant; overnight visits are also welcome during specific Dharma Sessions.
Another return-to-nature-sans-the-cellphone stop is Oz Farm. Just 130 miles north of San Francisco, this secluded retreat sits on one of the most pristine stretches of Highway 1 shouldering the Pacific. Bordered by redwood forests with the Garcia River running through its 240 acres, Oz Farm is blessed with tranquility, flowing meadows, fresh air and clear water. This working ranch uses solar energy and wind to power all its operations. Lodgings run the gamut from rustic cabins to yurts, geodesic domes and campsites with a communal kitchen. Guests can take to the trails for a leisure hike, share farm chores or chill beneath a fairy ring of redwoods. Seasonal yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, cooking and artist workshops are also offered.
Nestled along an incredibly gorgeous section of the Eel River, east of Willits, Emandal is just the place for a family retreat and getaway. Come for an art stay that cultivaties creativity under the tutelage of amazing teachers, while basking in the camaraderie of like-minded individuals, savoring the gustatory delights of a thriving organic garden and celebrated country kitchen, and reveling in the serene ambiance of idyllic cabins in the woods, along a wild and scenic river. Follow in the tradition of Em and Al Byrnes, who founded the camp in 1908, and relax in the untrammeled countryside of northern California.