Yoga Retreats & Spas

Yoga Retreat: Escape to a Desert Sanctuary in Tucson, Arizona

How a desert sanctuary helped Jean Weiss return home with an open heart, a more supple and integrated body, and renewed motivation to remain balanced.

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Arizona Yoga Retreat Extended Triangle Pose Utthita Trikonasana

Three months into a fulfilling yet stressful new job, I was in dire need of a restorative minivacation. So when the chance came to visit Miraval Resort & Spa outside Tucson, Arizona, I gave myself permission to take it, just for me. I was not disappointed: After three days, I returned home with an open heart, a more supple and integrated body, and renewed motivation to remain grounded and balanced as I reentered my hectic lifestyle.

See also12 Yoga-Friendly Resorts for Your Next Vacation

My transformation unfolded through a series of bodywork appointments, meditations, spa treatments, and fun yoga, including a yoga hike and a surprisingly accessible aerial yoga class. I’d been apprehensive, thinking using the aerial silks meant doing circus tricks, but instead the cloth supported my shoulders in poses I normally have trouble with, such as Camel and Warrior III. I also had access to Miraval’s signature juice drinks and healthy portions of delicious low-calorie food throughout the day, and at night a bed that felt like sleeping on a cloud.

See also Stress-Less Travel Survival Kit for Yogis

But although I loved everything I did, three Miraval experiences are the reason I’ll return. First, my doshas were balanced by an Ultimate Ayurvedic spa treatment that began with abhyanga—a warm-oil massage to release toxins and improve circulation—and ended with soothing Shirodhara therapy, in which heated oil poured over my forehead relaxed and balanced the nervous system. Next came a life-changing Tibetan Chakra Balancing session with master practitioner Pamela Lancaster, who immediately sensed and communicated a key emotional puzzle piece that had been missing in my life. To ground, cleanse, and balance my energy points, she used healing sounds and vibrations from Tibetan bowls and symphonic gongs. Finally, a hot-stone massage offered a similar missing puzzle piece, this time for my body: I learned steps to correct imbalances following a foot injury. As my visit came to an end, I felt sad to leave but energized and eager to jump back into my life at home.

See alsoSelf-Care Tip: How to Give Yourself an All-Natural Ayurvedic Facial

Plan Your Trip

More Tucson must-dos:

Shop Up

Pop-Cycle, a local favorite store selling upcycled goods, stocks a revolving stash of repurposed merchandise, ranging from jewelry to wall art. Or, check out the clothing store Fed by Threads, where sales of each animal-free, American-made garment fund 12 emergency meals to the hungry.

Quench Your Thirst

Borderlands Brewing Company offers beer made mostly with local ingredients. Currently on tap: Ol’ Loco IPA, Prickly Pear Wheat, and Noche Dulce. Or, relax with high-quality tea at Seven Cups.

Om in the Desert

Sample the Tucson yoga vibe at The Yoga Tree, a cute adobe building where you’ll get a discount when you bring along a friend; take a $6 drop-in class on a cork floor at Tucson Yoga; or, for as low as $5 a class, check out Yoga Oasis, named best studio by Tucson Weekly.

Try our five favorite nourishing juice combos from Miraval