Mud Messy? … Who Knew?

Posted by Maria on June 6, 2009 under Bath and Body, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Photo gallery, Spa Review, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Weight Management, Yoga | 8 Comments to Read

I took Homespunspa (read yours truly) on a road trip to Whistler, British Columbia last weekend.

Whistler will be the home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and is a wonderful outdoor playground and a perfect location for a summer spa weekend retreat.

I could not have picked a better weekend weather-wise. We were experiencing the best stretch of weather I have seen in these parts in years — clear blue skies and sunshine all the way!

View of mainland BC near Horseshoe Bay from the ferry. Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye.

View of mainland BC near Horseshoe Bay from the ferry. Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye.

I planned a trip to Whistler because I wanted to reward myself for my weight loss. I also wanted to do something special for myself on the edge of my 40th birthday. I called it my “39 and holding road trip.”

I made an appointment at Solaris Spa the week before and that was the highlight of my trip. First I took a yoga class with Colleen at 10:30 am. The poses were more challenging than I was used to and we did some new-to-me stuff — like tilting, turning and twisting on one leg — which kind of reminded me of those tipping duckies that drink water. The space was really lovely with a spectacular view of the snow-covered mountains. Colleen new her yoga inside and out, so to speak, and was a good instructor. It just goes to show no two yoga instructors are alike and you’ll never take the same yoga class twice, even with the same instructor. Colleen also added a chant to her practice, which I enjoyed, but wasn’t exactly sure what to do with.

After the yoga class, I had my first ever mud wrap treatment. At first I had signed up for the thalassa seaweed wrap because I wanted a detoxifying treatment, but Shelly, my spa specialist, suggested I go with the mud instead, which does the same thing, without the unpleasant smell.

This trip was all about stepping out of my comfort zone and this propelled me out of my nest. I soon wondered, what have I gotten myself into? I didn’t know what to expect and I soon found out how messy and involved a mud treatment was. I was so glad I didn’t have to do the laundry there.

First I had to strip down to my skivies. Cringe. I quickly hopped on to the bed that was covered with a heated blanket, a plastic sheet and regular towels and sheets. I thought Shelly did a great job in making me feel at ease. First she exfoliated my skin with some sort of abrasive glove or brush. It just acted to stimulate the skin, preparing it for the mud. I definitely felt the bristling effect, but at the same time, it was quick and painless.

Then she took the dark, coffee ground-brown mud and painted it on my limbs. It was cool to the skin. After that step, she wrapped me up like a burrito in the plastic sheet and heated blanket. It was very relaxing. I just closed my eyes and was glad my nose didn’t start to itch. Meanwhile, Shelly massaged my face and feet.

Shelly warned me about the contrast I’d feel in the air temperature as she unwrapped my cocoon and yes it was noticeable. The hardest part of the whole process was getting out of the warm bed and into the shower to wash off. I had to make my way covered in clay, wearing a bathrobe and flip flops, across the spa lobby and into the Swiss shower room. (That is my only criticism of the whole experience). People just don’t need to see that before lunch.

Anyway, I tried not to take too long in the shower, but the mud doesn’t exactly rinse off that easily, even though it’s water-soluble. Thank goodness for their pipes that it virtually contains no clay.

Moor Mud (also known as therapeutic peat moss) is an organic substance, produced from the natural decomposition of a galaxy of plants, herbs, flowers and grasses, under special conditions, over thousands of years.

Found in moor mud bogs of Europe, moor mud has been used as a spa treatment ingredient since day one. It contains minerals, trace elements, vitamins, amino acids, plant hormones and fatty acids in a molecular form that is easy for human skin to absorb.

Moor mud has an extraordinary ability to heal, nourish and detoxify the body as it promotes circulation, stimulates the immune system, relaxes muscles, relieves pain, breaks down fat cells, reduces cellulite and improves range of motion — perfect for someone like me who is exercising and doing yoga regularly to get fit.

Getting a back massage was the last part of my mud spa treatment. Unfortunately, I took too long in the shower which didn’t leave much time. I chose the mimosa fragrance, as part of my celebration theme, for this stretch. Shelly told me to drink lots of water because some people get dehydration headaches after detox treatments.

All in all I felt so relaxed. What a beautiful morning. Sipping my water, I walked so slowly through the village and forest path. It took me 40 minutes to walk back to my hotel room — a trip that would normally take 10 to 15.

There’s something to be said about getting away on your own to enjoy your own company and not having to deal with other people’s agendas. As much as I wanted to meet people there, I’m so glad I had the luxury of “Me time.” It was worth the trip.

Here's my Moor Mud Treatment in writing. Drop-in yoga class was $20.

Here's my Moor Mud Treatment in writing. Drop-in yoga class was $20.

High Noon Yoga Class Gets a High 5

Posted by Maria on April 7, 2009 under Fitness, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness, Yoga | 4 Comments to Read

I started a beginner’s lunch hour yoga class today through my day job and I’m really glad I signed up.

At first I was a little bit apprehensive because I had taken a yoga class five or so years ago and wasn’t that into it. I didn’t mind the instructor so much but I was slightly put off by the instructor’s keener sidekick. You know the type — there’s one in every class — stringy hair, don’t look like they’ve updated their look since 1977, and even though they shop in health food stores, they look pale and fragile. And they seem to sell free-range chicken eggs on the side. That’s basically what I think of when I think of yoga. But I digress.

This time though, the yoga class was more my speed. The instructor was easy to follow. I felt like I could keep up and wasn’t doing it all wrong. I’m not a nimble person. I have no range of motion. Never have been. If I sit on the floor with my legs stretched out in front of me, I can’t reach past my shins. I’m hoping practicing yoga will help me be more flexible in my body and less rigid in my thinking.

The hardest move for me was when I was on my belly and I had to lift my legs and arms off the floor as if they were floating. It’s kind of like Superman flying. The instructor said “some people can lift their feet off, some people can lift their shins off and some people can lift their thighs off the mat.” I thought that’s not going to happen. I will keep you posted if it ever does.

I particularly liked the balancing poses. The instructor said, “if you fall, make it dramatic, take out your neighbours.” Nobody did. And there was “No real wind in the trees today.”

Although I was looking forward to the class, I was stressed before I got there. Work has been crazy busy and I was feeling rather overwhelmed. I was also concerned about how this was going to work with work. Was it wise to break up my day with yoga?

But somehow, after doing this pose and that pose for an hour, I did end up feeling relaxed. And then the afternoon went by more smoothly. I wondered if I would end up crashing at some point, but I didn’t. I managed to keep a steady feeling of alertness and clear thinking all day.

I think this is definitely a good idea for me. I’m hoping this will help me manage my stress and compliment my cardio and weight lifting activities. Even several hours later, I’m feeling in good spirits.

Have you ever practiced yoga? What kind? Do you enjoy it? Please leave a comment and share your experiences.

And as we closed today’s class, I’ll say to you, Namaste.

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