Get ready for some zen time at these
Top 5 weekend retreats:
Karma Lifestyle Yoga Weekend Getaway
Get your mind and body in balance in this one or two-day retreat in Cobourg, November 19 to 20, designed by yogi and dietitian Francesca Bonta. You’ll experience the energy flow and release of aerial yoga (being suspended from the ceiling gives you a whole new perspective on things), take a hands-on class in essential oils to open up your heart, and sample delicious live food snacks. The perfect detox for urbanites, with Via train station pick-up and delivery. “You don’t need to travel too far to recharge,” Francesca says. “This is an opportunity to de-stress, and to embrace yoga in a beautiful, tranquil studio.” Beginners welcome. Space is limited to 10.
Ste. Anne’s Chakra Journey
The famous spa, on a quiet country road east of Cobourg and north of Grafton (with a spectacular view of Lake Ontario), offers more than pampering body wraps and a eucalyptus steam room. There are three-day, two-night yoga retreats, which combine healing meditation and yoga classes with lux spa treatments, so you can glow inside and out! Retreats on November 8 to 9, and 22 to 23, focus on getting in tune with your chakras, the seven energy centres of the body.
Harmony Dawn Retreat
Surround yourself in wilderness and let it all go… Harmony Dawn, about 25 minutes north of Cobourg, is tucked into a hilltop overlooking Rice Lake with an incredible get-back-to-nature vibe. Voted one of Canada’s greenest buildings, so you get to experience what off the grid really means, thanks to hosts Nicola Lawrence (chef and co-founder) and her husband Andy James (teacher, healer and Qigong master). Qigong, if you haven’t tried it, is related to tai chi. It’s an ancient Chinese healing series of physical postures and breathing techniques. Harmony Dawn has a variety of meditation retreats, like the two- to seven-day mindfulness retreat which includes nature walks and Qigong, mostly in silence. This is a place for transformation and gaining self-awareness. This is where you’ll find your inner peace!
Come here for a getaway to experience the therapies of Ayurveda, the healing tradition of India. (Think penetrating head massages and colon cleansing.) On the outskirts of Brighton, 30 minutes east of Cobourg, this unique wellness spa has resident Ayurvedic doctors who will design a custom treatment for yours truly to help you achieve your health goals (and definitely get those shoulders down from your ears).
Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre
Beyond Northumberland County, this centre sits on a sprawling wooded property in the countryside north of Barrie. It’s known for silent retreats, where your smartphone just doesn’t belong. You can take a midnight walk and listen to the coyotes howling or try “forest bathing” where you simply stand or sit in the forest to meditate and appreciate the stillness. Rest, recuperate, and eat clean with organic vegetarian meals. “With the silence comes clarity of thought, motivation and attention. Without distractions of communication, electronics and media, you can focus on your own thoughts, become more self-aware and grow a little more.” We could all use a little of that, right?
Life can be such a whirlwind. We’ve got our coffee and our energy bars to keep us chugging along, but still…
An escape to the countryside, for a shot of fresh air and solace, can be the perfect remedy to the hectic hustle. You can hear yourself think. You can even hear the crickets chorusing at night. It’s that kind of place! There is space to roam, and quiet streets to wander. You can take a less-travelled path, and put your phone on airplane mode, just because.
Rest and recharge!
Best wishes from Cobourg, Ontario’s Feel Good Town.