By Sara Quiriconi
The quieter the world gets around us, the greater we begin to realize how loud our inside world is. Seeking a margin of inner peace required a trip to the Catskills and a touch of Ayurvedic healing to rediscover a healthier, balanced version of me – and I’m worth it.
You know you’ve uncovered something magical when you return back home from your trip and your husband says, “You look radiant.”
I had heard of the Catskills in New York, and how beautiful it was to escape city life and retreat into nature. I actually grew up in New England – Connecticut, to be precise. But for some reason, in all of my thirty-six years of life, I had never visited west of New York City in the state.
Tired, drained, and fairly worn-looking after a business trip to Colorado, the experience to YO1 Wellness in the Catskills was the ideal trip I needed to restore, recoup and fill my own cup of self-love and inner balance.
YO1 Wellness is the kind of place you visit, and once you get there, you ask yourself, “How did I not know this place existed before?” It has that undiscovered feeling that you want to tell all of your friends about. Yet, at the same time, you want to keep it secluded and to yourself too.
It’s not your typical retreat, that offers yoga, gives you a massage, feeds you green juice in the morning and calls it a healthy vacation. You do get to do all of that, however, at YO1 Wellness, you also experience and learn something about yourself, and take home insight that a beach, book, or single yoga class just couldn’t offer.
I honestly think I visited YO1 Wellness at the best time of the year in early October. Getting to see the fall foliage on the drive through New York state was a treat for this jaded Miamian. Through the mountains, the windy roads, and spacious landscapes, I arrived at the quiet, peaceful entrance of this 1300-acre Ayurvedic paradise.
The lobby took my breath, being massive in size when entered. In its centre, a long, glass-framed fireplace magnetically drew my eye, followed by my hands that needed some warming from the crisp, fall air. A quick sniff, and that natural smell of zen a place like YO1 embodies immediately took my stress level from a high eight to a cool four.
Shortly after, my team of health advisors took action to assess my personal health concerns, making the most of my visit.
“Are you vegan?”
95% plant-based, yes.
“What are your health goals?”
Hmm…sleep better, and less anxiety?
“Will you be fasting?”
No, thank you. I spent too many years on the anorexic fast to consider this. Personal choices and self-awareness. Oh, and do you have coffee?
They do. It’s not encouraged to drink coffee, but there’s an understanding of balance and flexibility.
Finding out my Dosha composition and balance (or lack thereof) was next, and was fascinating to uncover. Mainly Pitta (the fire and water sign), with the presence of all three Doshas, making me equally weird, and special at the same time.
All of this information helped to create my personalized wellness agenda for the following days of my stay. A blend of mud and hydrotherapies, healing massages, acupuncture, yoga classes, juices from the juice bar (which are optional), and morning Kriyas for cleansing.
Kriyas are purification techniques, a tradition in Ayurvedic medicine that clears out the nose and eyes using oil or water. Optional, but offered every morning at 6:30 am in the specific Kriya room.
The following days during my stay at YO1 Health Resort were jam-packed, much like my life back at home or when I’m travelling. The difference is, instead of a Skype call, writing a hotel blog review, editing a new travel video, or an hour of email replies, I was allotted a full-body mud bath with Jan, a four-step hydrotherapy session with Mel, and Deep Tissue Massage with neck specialist, PJ.
Not a bad upgrade in my jam-packed life.
For meals, we collectively sat in a large dining hall with individual service. I’m a picky eater, so I was a bit concerned about what they would have for me at their noon lunches and evening dinners. Just like the wellness agenda was personalized, the chefs at YO1 had no problem accommodating, offering double orders of steamed vegetables and soups. (Of which I would have had a triple order if I didn’t feel ashamed to ask. The soups were truly that good.)
Mornings overlooking the view from the lake through the large windows of room #607 was a meditation in itself. Seeing the stillness of the waters and the rustle of the trees, I was quickly reminded that life didn’t have to move so fast. Nature grows on its own time schedule, nothing is, or can be, rushed, and it turns out perfect each and every time.
In reflection, after my visit, I observed that we don’t usually take this kind of time for ourselves. Time to be in nature, experience a touch of silence and seek to learn, working on healthier versions of ourselves. We all need more of that, to hit the pause, learn, and then move – redirected – forward.
I regretfully checked out two days later and gave my thanks and said my “See you soons” to the wellness team, knowing I would be returning. The stay felt far too short, but my heart left grateful to have experienced this Eden of Ayurvedic medicine.
In the weeks after leaving YO1 Health Resort, back to my regular routine of content creation, coaching and travelling, I, of course, had my stressful moments. When I needed it most, I closed my eyes and visualized that peaceful view overlooking the lake from room #607, embodied that warmth of homemade soups, and the healing hands of their therapists.
True peace is learned and comes from within.
As a leader and entrepreneur in the Travel Wellness sector, Sara Quiriconi takes wellness, travel and creativity to another level. Basing her empowering content and message on her previous struggles with mental health issues, addictions and overcoming cancer, Sara’s Live Free Warrior approach is real, authentic and retable for any Wellness Warrior. Connect with Sara at saraquiriconi.com and on Instagram @livefreewarrior.