Canyon Ranch, known for its wellness resorts and spas, is opening a retreat space in Woodside, California, complete with luxe rooms and secluded paths in the middle of the Redwoods.
Nestled beneath the Redwoods about 45 minutes from San Francisco, Woodside Retreat opened November 1. The first retreat-style location for Canyon Ranch delivers on amenities and forest bathing, yet its steep nightly rates make it a splurge. You’ll have the option to come by yourself or with a group, and you can book two-, four-, or five-day retreats, choosing from featured options or fully customizing your schedule.
The 16-acre property has 14 guest rooms in the main retreat lodge, plus 24 private rooms that are elevated on stilts with private wraparound decks overlooking greenery. Each structure was created based on principles in Chinese medicine to allow for free flow of qi and to emphasize harmony. There are also secluded paths for year-round hiking, biking, and contemplative walks. Woodside Retreat’s offerings include an outdoor obstacle course, yoga and meditation classes, creative expression courses, tai chi, nutrition consultations, spa treatments, and an indoor saline pool and whirlpool.
Meals, such as hearth-roasted Monterey king salmon tandoori and a Norcal farmer’s market relish tray, are served at a communal table at the on-site dining hub The Hearth—committed to preparing local vegetables, root to stem.
Transition into winter feeling calm, grounded, and centered with these self-care tips from the holistic wellness experts at Still Soul Studio in Charleston, South Carolina.
“If your nervous system is already overstimulated and depleted, seasonal changes can trigger anxiety, depression, and increased stress,” says holistic life coach and co-owner Elli Richter. Meditation can be an integral part of calming down, re-centering, and finding more joy and clarity. Try this visualization meditation for a few minutes at any time of the day: Find a comfortable resting position, close your eyes, and take three deep breaths. Next, inhale to the count of four, and exhale to the count of six. Visualize a bright sun far above your head, and sense its warm light washing down on you like a gentle shower. Continue for at least three breaths. On each exhalation, feel any tension you are carrying begin to release and dissolve into the earth beneath you.
Raw sesame oil is known in the Ayurvedic tradition for its calming and grounding effects. Rubbing it on your feet before bed can help relax your body and calm your mind, allowing for a deep and restful night’s sleep, Richter says. “I love warming the oil slightly and adding lavender before massaging it in,” she says. Try it: In a saucepan, warm one-quarter cup organic sesame oil over medium-low heat for three minutes. Add three drops of organic lavender essential oil—a scent that research suggests can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Slowly and mindfully massage the oil into the bottoms of your feet. Richter recommends sleeping with socks on after applying the oil to help maximize absorption and keep it from staining your sheets.
A rundown pool house gets a transformative facelift to make room for deep reflection and relaxation.
Easy tranquility and ethereal minimalism aren’t exactly what come to mind when we think of bustling Parisian streets and flea markets, yet that’s exactly where Rozalynn Woods says she and co-designer Michaela Scherrer found the inspiration for this zen-heavy, poolside Pasadena cabana. “We noticed there was a confluence of things happening in Europe with gray concrete floors, whimsical window coverings, and white plaster walls,” Woods says. “Earthy elements were coming into play, whether we were window-shopping or discovering the marvelous old architecture or walking in the famous Parisian gardens with all their wonderful foliage.”
The idea was to convert the dilapidated, 1,300-square-foot space into a serene hideaway for quiet reflection by the water. Think grasscloth rugs, bamboo accents, and plenty of live elements such as an indoor-outdoor weeping willow tree and vibrant water lilies. Providing a bit of respite without detracting from the view of vegetation, translucent panels filter sunlight. The designers, yoga and meditation practitioners, also called on their practices to help inform the design. Meditation cushions rather than traditional seating adorn the patio, and a coffee table acts as a vessel for soothing white sand: Play with it or sink your drink into it—whatever helps calm the nerves.
“Light is a big part of feeling good in your space,” says Woods, and to achieve the bright, breezy vibe in the cabana, she and Scherrer focused on the use of materials, textures, and negative space—creating the illusion of the interior merging with the outdoors. Paler surfaces allow for more light reflection, Scherrer says, while translucent textiles soften sunlight without blocking it.
Located at the foot of the Talamanca Mountains in southern Costa Rica, Kinkára—which will celebrate its first year as a yoga and wellness destination in September—is a lush 880-acre property featuring a large mandala garden with rotating and seasonal herbs, vegetables, and flowers. At the center of the garden, organized in a geometric design intended to create positive energy flow, is an open-air wooden pavilion for yoga. “Each part of the property was designed and built to not only have a minimal environmental impact, but actually be regenerative for the land and surrounding ecosystem,” says cofounder David Comfort. For example, the yoga shala was constructed using wood from invasive tree species, such as rainbow eucalyptus, and other locally sourced building materials. The invasive trees were planted by ranchers long ago and the property now repurposes the wood for furniture and structures.
Kinkára’s tents include solar-powered lighting, plush bedding, USB charging pods, and Wi-Fi. Most retreats are customized and include farm-to-table meals (with fresh produce from the mandala garden), sound-healing ceremonies, guided asana and meditation, hiking, horseback riding, and waterfall swims.