5 Wellness Destinations That Aren't Actually Wellness Retreats

5 Wellness Destinations That Aren't Actually Wellness Retreats

5/13/2021 8:16:00 PM

5 Wellness Destinations That Aren't Actually Wellness Retreats

Wellness isn't just about spa days and sweaty bootcamp classes under shaded palapa huts. Here, Annie Daly, author of 'Destination Wellness,' shares five wellness destinations that aren't actually wellness retreats.

arethe hibiscus flower. As countless Hawaiians I interviewed told me, the more we realize that we’re all connected, the better we all will be.BOOK A TRIPComuna do Ibitipoca, Minas Gerais, BrazilThis content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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A post shared by Comuna do Ibitipoca (@comunadoibitipoca)In the U.S., we tend to think of wellness as a solitary pursuit. But in Brazil, wellness is a community effort—the common belief is that you can't be well if your family is not well. One Brazilian professor I interviewed, who spent five years studying culture in America, said it best:"I found that wellness in America is about yourself: If you're healthy physically and psychologically, if you're financially well, if you're in a good relationship, and if you eat well, you're considered healthy in the public eye. But while Brazilians of course care about those things, too, the biggest factor of all is your family—you cannot be well if your family is not well. Well-being is a group thing, not an individual thing."

Comuna do Ibitipoca, a 13,000-acre farm slash commune slash hotel slash paradise in the farming state of Minas Gerais, perfectly encapsulates this Brazilian sense of communal wellness. I stayed there on my reporting trip to Brazil and loved its warm spirit. While Comuna do Ibitipoca does have all sorts of healthy elements, like daily 9 a.m. yoga classes, lots of hiking and biking, and fresh farm-to-table meals, the owner Renato may be its biggest wellness secret. Originally from Rio, he bought the land back in the 1980s, and soon realized that the best way to keep it sustainable was to build a community around it, so that’s what he did. Now when you stay there, the entire community—from the staff to the locals who live nearby—takes you in with open arms. headtopics.com

"Everyone is local; everyone is family," Renato told me over breakfast one morning."I started the property, but now everyone who works here is the owner. And that’s what makes me happiest of all."BOOK A TRIPThe Nattika Beach Ayurveda Resort, Thrissur, Kerala, India

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.A post shared by Nattika Beach Ayurveda Resort (@nattikabeachayurvedaresort)Located in the south of India, Kerala is known as the beating heart of Ayurveda—the ancient Hindu system of medicine and healing that’s focused on creating balance in your body, mind, and spirit. I traveled there to immerse myself in 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic teachings in the hopes of learning how to feel more grounded and whole in everyday life. Though Nattika Beach Ayurveda Resort is technically part spa, it’s much more than just massages. It’s run by certified practitioners and doctors who teach you how to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle by leading you through one for anywhere from seven to 21 days (I did seven).

Ayurveda is centered on the idea that there are threedoshas(life forces) in this world, and we all have a dominant one that’s defined our lives since birth. Science then gives us the tools to balance out ourdoshaswhen they become uneven, so that we spend the majority of our lives feeling centered. Some of these tools involve redefining the way you eat (for example, people with fiery dispositions should generally avoid spicy foods as they aggravate an already-hot internal fire), adopting a daily routine that revolves around your circadian rhythm, slathering yourself with healing oil, and keeping tabs on your emotions. I came back from Kerala with a much deeper knowledge of these tools than I had when I arrived, and continue to lean on them whenever I feel myself faltering and need to get back to baseline.

Looking for more wellness destinations? Read more: Marie Claire »

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