Our New Summer Spa Package!

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“Four for Three” 

Announcing The Ranch’s 

Summer Spa Package 

Four Treatments for only $329 + tax

June 15 – August 30, 2013

Enjoy four 50-minute or less treatments* of your choice this summer for approximately the price of THREE! (Actual savings vary, but can be up to $91 dollars)

Upgrade Option: Choose four treatments*, including all 80- and 90-minute treatments,  (TOTAL: $529+tax).

* Shorter treatments also eligible. This offer excludes Four Hand Massage, Cooking Classes, and Therapeutic Private Sessions (Watsu, Craniosacral, Chiropractic Service, Feldenkrais, and Acupuncture).

Spa services are limited to availability; guest will be guaranteed the number of treatments in their package, but not necessarily the specific treatments of their choosing. Spa package pricing is per person, for up to seven continuous days.

Some restrictions apply. Prices can change without notice. Mexican tax (11%) is not included in these prices.  

Yoga Backbend Workshop with Hazel

hazelI’ve been coming to the ranch for almost a year now and surprisingly I have never taken one of Hazel’s classes before. Not because I didn’t want to, but we always seem to be here on different days. Anyway, I need to get with be program because she was great!

The class was more of a workshop on yoga backbends, something that I’ve been struggling with (we’ll get to that later), but it surprised me in many different ways. First I’ve always thought of backbends as the wheel pose, but actually there are a lot of many gentle ways to stretch the back.

With the help of the blocks there are options for those of us that may not have flexibility on our side.  For example the “supported fish” where you place one block under your upper back and another under your head and let your arms flow back which is an amazing stretch.  The next was the “supported backbend” with the block under your sacrum (between your tailbone and waist) which felt equally amazing (“like heaven” is what one person said in class). You can build up the intensity by adding another block to add more height.

Lastly, it was time for the wheel pose. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about it. I’ve attempted doing it before but number one it scares me and number two, I always feel like it hurts the middle of my back. Well, I learned a big lesson from Hazel. If you’re having any sort of pain in your back while you’re doing it, don’t push yourself. Focus on the beginner steps of squeezing your legs together as if there is a block in between them.  You will also need to increase flexibility in your shoulders and upper arms which I think is my problem.  Without the flexibility, it’s really hard for your arms to be able to support your upper body.  So now I know why I’ve always had trouble with backbends!  But my goal is to do it, so I’m currently working on creating more flexibility in my shoulders. I’ll keep you all posted on when I finally get it down!

Daily Ayurvedic Practices

Recently we had our Ayurvedic Specialist, Carla Levy, speak at the Ranch regarding the best daily ayruvedic practices to help us stay healthy and prevent disease.  It was a very interesting discussion and brought up some really useful tips that are very easy to do on a daily basis.

The first thing we talked about was: What we do first thing in the morning?  Carla talked about how most of us wake up in a panic or overwhelmed, thinking of all the things that we need to get done for the day.  I’m totally guilty of this.  That is literally the first thing that crosses my mind.  What do I have to do today?  Or many mornings the first thing I do is check my email on my phone.  No good!  Recently, I’ve made an effort to not check my phone first thing in the morning and the thing is, not only do I feel less stressed, but also my eyes feel less strained as well, which is a relief.

Carla explained that the way we start our day greatly effects how the rest of our day goes.  She suggests doing a little chanting in the morning to stay calm and relaxed.  In Ayurveda, chanting is used as medicine.  We did a little bit in class and it was amazing how much more relaxed I felt after chanting for a couple minutes.  Another way to start your day calmly is saying a little prayer giving thanks.  Or instead of worrying about getting things done, say something like,” I wonder what today will bring,”  which someone suggested in class.  I like that one!  Keep it positive.

The second thing you should do in the morning is scrape your tongue.  Some you might be scratching your heads wondering what the heck I’m talking about.  Well, even though this practice is thousands of years old, many people don’t know about it.  It has been making a comeback at dentist office.  Have any of you been told by your dentist that you should also brush your tongue?  Well, Carla actually advises not to do that.  The reason is that overnight a lot of bacteria gets built up on our tongues overnight and when we brush it, the bacteria gets spread around.  Carla says we should be using a metal tongue scraper when we first get up and before we drink anything.

The third tip is drink a cup of hot water and lemon juice after you scrape your tongue and before you eat anything.  The reason for this?  Okay, not to get too personal or anything, but according to Carla (and many other nutritionists and wellness practitioners that come to the Ranch) you want to try to empty your bowels every morning and guess what helps you do that?  Yes, a big glass of hot water (or warm if you’re not a fan of hot drinks, but not cold.)  Apparently the hot water is like a mini-cleanse, flushing out any waste.

These are three tips that anyone can apply right away.  For more information on Ayurveda and Carla’s new Spring Cleanse, you can contact Carla at ayurveda@carlalevy.org and don’t forget to check out her site at carlalevy.org.

Art Tour of the Ranch

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A must do at the Ranch is the Art Tour with Jennifer Brandt.  Jennifer, in case you don’t know, teaches our jewelry making, painting and drawing classes here at the Ranch.  She also has a background in acting and theater, so not only is she very knowledgeable about art, but she extremely engaging and entertaining!  Her stories about the history of the art at the Ranch are really fun to listen to (my favorite is the history of Day of the Dead) and I learned (noticed for that matter) things about the Ranch that I hadn’t known before.  For instance, there’s three beautiful works of art that you need to keep an eye out for next time you come to the Ranch because chances are, you may have missed them.  The mother and child sculpture in the main Administration building where you check in, the native american sculpture on the walk from check in to the dining hall and wood sculpture in the serving area of the dining hall.  It’s amazing, after Jennifer pointed out, how many times I have walked past these works of art and not even noticed them because my mind is focused on checking in, getting somewhere and eating.  Sad actually.  Lesson learned.  No sense in rushing around at the Ranch, take the time to notice these beautiful details.

Art from top: Yarn painting by Tim Hinchcliff (Dining Hall), Under the Sea themed Tree of Life (Dining Hall), prayer arrows (Dining Hall), Day of the Dead Tree of Life (Dining Hall), sculpture of woman by Victor Hugo Castaneda (walk from Admin Building to Dining Hall), Jennifer talking about the history of the sculptures at the Ranch, close up of the woman sculpture, “High Mountain Wind” by Bruce La Fountain (walk from Admin Building to Dining Hall), “Maternidad (Maternity)” by Francisco Zuñiga (Admin building), Tree of Life (Admin Building)

Relaxing at the Women’s Health Center

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Sometimes there’s nothing more enjoyable than relaxing in the steam room, soaking in the hot tub and taking a nap on what I think are the most comfortable chairs in the world.  Talk about taking the edge off…you can’t help but have a smile on your face while doing this!  One of my very favorite places at the Ranch is the Women’s Health Center (we also have one for men too).  The very first thing I do when I enter is pour myself a cup of one of their infused waters for a little refreshing cleanse.  Usually it’s cucumber, lavender or rosemary.  Then I pick up a robe plus sandals and head to the locker room.

I love the steam room.  This to me is the epitome of luxury and relaxation (I day-dream of someday having one in my future home).  Plus, there is nothing better than getting warmed up during the chilly winter months.  Then after I’m all steamed out, there’s some ice-cold wash cloths to help cool down which feel surprisingly amazing.  There are other options as well like the sauna and the hot tub (love), but my next favorite part of the Women’s Health Center is the “quiet room”.  This is perfect after a long day of working out.  What I love to do is curl up with a magazine on one of those sleep inducing wonderfully comfortable chairs and usually what happens is I’m able to read a couple of pages before my eyes start to involuntary close.  Did I mention there are very soft blankets to snuggle under?  Ahhh….