November 14, 2010

Relaxation and rejuvenation found in Sedona

Posted in Between Us column, Health, Spirituality, Travel, Women at 2:10 am by dinaheng

In a hurry, hurry world, there’s no better place to slow down, breathe, and reconnect with spirit than Sedona, a small town in the red rock mountains of northern Arizona where you’re surrounded by nature and an energy that encourages you to look inward.

I’ve visited the area many times over the years, enjoying walks in the national forest, talks with newfound friends, and peaceful moments, just sitting on a rock somewhere and taking in the view.

After a summer full of emotional ups and downs, I decided to head to Sedona with a clear  intention to relax body, mind and spirit. I only had two days, so I filled them with things I don’t normally take the time to do.

This trip, I’m staying at Enchantment Resort (www.enchantmentresort.com), a beautiful hotel nestled in Boynton Canyon that offers a number of activities, ranging from hiking and swimming to cooking demonstrations and spa treatments. From the moment you drive onto the gated property, you are surrounded by pampering.

Since the hotel’s casitas and suites are spread out over several of the resort’s 70 acres, most guests are driven around in golf carts by bellmen who are witty, gracious, and well schooled in the art of flattery. After all, when the first thing a man says to you in the morning is, “What kind of cologne are you wearing? You smell wonderful,” who could resist giving a larger tip?

My first night starts with dinner at Yavapai, the resort’s formal restaurant in the clubhouse. This evening, entrees range from $28 for vegetarian fare and pasta to $42 for meat dishes. I order a Pan-Seared New Zealand Coastal Salmon with Fresh Peas, White Asparagus, Lemon Spaetzle, Pinot Noir Reduction.

The salmon is perfectly done, but the asparagus is overcooked. A dessert called The Forbidden Apple, however, makes me end the meal with a smile. A tiny bit of baked apple in puffed pastry normally comes with cinnamon gelato, but I ask for the lavender ice cream instead, which is divine. Talk about ingesting relaxation.

The next day starts with a morning hatha yoga class at Mii amo, the resort spa. A class of four women follow the instructor through various poses and breathing exercises. While the instruction was what you’d expect at any studio, the tiny cockroach that crawls onto my yoga mat is a reminder that yes, Enchantment is in the middle of desert country where humans must co-exist with critters who were there first.

Mii amo spa/Photo provided by Enchantment Resort

Next comes a Flower Essence Bath, marketed to “relax in the powerful energy of flower essences as you embark on a treatment that combines meditation, the exploration of gemstones, water, sunlight and an in-depth flower card reading.”

Like any spa treatment, the experience is only as good as the practitioner and you make it. I’m asked to choose two “flower essence” cards that correspond to various aspects of life and the energy of various gemstones. The cards I choose are Larkspur, which relates to the body’s fifth chakra of “speaking your truth,” the practitioner guiding me says, and Indian Paintbrush, which relates to the first chakra of “survival and creativity.”

A chakra is one of seven centers of spiritual energy in the human body, according to Hindu and metaphysical philosophy. In Taoism, this circulating life energy is called chi.

After choosing the cards, I am immersed in a tub with rose petals and lavender epsom salts, which is lovely. The practitioner’s “reading” consists of reading from a book that explains what the flower essence cards I’d chosen mean. She mentions hearing the words “Martin Luther King,” “save a child,” “lots of changes,” and “Chicago.”

While “lots of changes” resonate with me, nothing else does. Oh well, the soak in the tub is heavenly.

I move on to a makeup lecture that I thought would give tips on how to more expertly apply makeup. Instead, it ends up being a sales pitch for a line of cosmetics sold in the spa gift shop. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the makeup artist can analyze your facial structure and skin enough to give you some personalized tips along the way, but alas, that does not happen.

Lunch (and later, dinner) at the Mii Amo Cafe, though, is wonderful. The menu here is lighter, and healthier, than that offered at Yavapai or Tii Gavo, the resort’s casual dining restaurant. New Executive Chef Ted Cizma is working on menu changes that will reflect planned renovations to the clubhouse, as well.

In the meantime, I have a wonderful tuna melt and fruit slices that come to 380 calories for lunch. Yes, the cafe menu tells you how good you’re being to your stomach.  I won’t say I behaved as well at dinner, but the smaller portions ensured I didn’t go overboard with the chicken spanikopita Greek vegetable salad, pork tenderloin with pesto tortellini, and lemon cheesecake. (The cheesecake was a yummy 115 calories.)

After lunch, the highlight of the day is experiencing a new treatment called Intentional Massage. Lynette Bazzill, the massage therapist who also had a hand in designing the treatment, asks me to choose a card from a selection created with different colors, words and designs on each.

I’m drawn to two cards — one that says, “I am happy. I welcome adventure.” and another that says, “I am supported. I feel encouraged.” Each card corresponds to a mixture of essential body oils. After smelling the two mixtures, I choose the card of intention for happiness and adventure, which is paired with the essence oils of geranium bourbon, lavender vera and spearmint, made by a Sedona company called Body Bliss.

Bazzill then dry brushes my body, and gives me a wonderful massage with the essence oils I’d chosen. My intention to have a happy day is certainly being realized.

Spa treatment costs average about $150 an hour for various massages and facials. More exotic specialty services — including Ayurvedic treatments, aquawork, energetic sessions and readings — can go up to $370 for 90 minute sessions. Day packages offer lower pricing alternatives.

Mii amo (Yuman for “journey”) was built around a room called the Crystal Grotto, designed to look like a Native American kiva, a place of ceremony and transformation. Crystals are placed in the four directions — North, South, East and West — and elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air are present in the room.

The placement of the room was designed so that at noon on the Summer Solstice, sunlight falls on the quartz crystal in the center of the room, causing rays of light to dance around the ceiling.

A meditation time is offered in the Crystal Grotto at the end of the day, which I thought was a lovely idea. Unfortunately, when I sit and close my eyes, the woman who leads the guided meditation has a voice that embodies dour depression. Pure silence would have been so much better.

As I walk back to my room, I enjoy the sounds of nature and the falling temperature. A hint of the coming winter is in the air, and I’m happy to turn on the gas fireplace in the casita for a little cheer.

The rooms are nicely appointed, but the walls are thin. I can hear rock music blaring from the room on one side, and water flowing through the pipes of the bathroom next door on the other side.

The nicest touch of the evening turndown service is getting little “thought for the day” cards, which share inspirational words by Native Americans. Tonight’s card says, “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is in the little shadows that run across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. – Crowfoot, Blackfoot Warrior 1830-1890.”

As I think about my first day, I’m reminded that no one can tell us what direction to go in our lives. The hopes, dreams, and fears that we all carry inside are known only to us. So wherever we choose to go, it’s easier to get there when we set the intention. Since I chose a card today reflecting happiness and adventure, I fully expect that that is what I will find along the way.

Next: Connecting with inner wisdom

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2 Comments »

  1. John said,

    Sounds like a wonderful spot. How much was it.

  2. dinaheng said,

    Since rates change constantly, the best thing to do is check their website for current rates. Sedona is indeed a wonderful spot. 🙂


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