Last updated: 04:06 PM ET, Thu June 18 2015

Yoga and Meditation Find a Place in Spas

Features & Advice | James Ruggia | June 16, 2015

Yoga and Meditation Find a Place in Spas

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Just this week we celebrated Global Wellness Day (June 13) in more than 30 countries, a day set aside “to make people aware of the value of their lives, get away from the stress of urban lifestyles and from bad habits, and thereby find peace.” As the spa movement continues in its effort to break new ground, it increasingly finds that wellness extends beyond the physical and into areas of personal growth. Thus yoga and meditation classes and session are turning up with more regularity in the products offered by hotel spas around the world.

Last year, for instance, Six Senses introduced a Yogic Program and “Six Senses Meditation” defining their wellness products as mediums of “self-discovery where people find that they can change their whole lives and are given the tools to do so through exercise, healthy eating, and spiritual teachings combined.”

This year’s World Travel Market in London will launch the WTM Wellness Lounge. However spiritual spa gets, it’s also a moneymaker. The 2014 Global Spa & Wellness Economy Monitor evaluated the sector as creating $3.4 trillion annually. The WTM’s Spafinder Wellness 365 (Nov. 4 and 5) will host wellness exhibitors and wellness buyers.

London is also the setting for the highest yoga classes in the world as Yogasphere offers classes in The View from the Shard at 1,016 feet. It also offers classes in a private club in Regent's Park, Harley Street. Yogasphere is the official yoga partner for Matt Roberts Personal Training in their exclusive clubs in Mayfair, Chelsea, Liverpool Street and Hampstead.

The Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona is now offering Mandarin Oriental Spa City Retreats, a wellbeing program that goes beyond treatments and massages, seeking a “holistic experience that produces physical and emotional equilibrium.” Two separate five-day retreats: Release Detox and Rejuvenation Anti-ageing. Release Detox Retreat promise to “leave guests feeling positive, centered and recharged.” Meditation, exercise and nutrition combined speed detoxification and slow ageing.

The Rejuvenation Anti-ageing Retreat available through December, for instance, is priced from €3,605 per person for single accommodation, and includes lifestyle and nutrition consultation; such daily exercise as yoga, Pilates or power-walking or jogging with a personal coach; use of such spa facilities as steam room, fitness center and indoor pool; three daily rejuvenation meals at BistrEau restaurant; a daily massage, a facial; two 75-minute body and face CACI treatments; a collagen facial; pedicure with massage and five nights in a deluxe room.

Guests at the Santikos Collection’s Aegean Suites Hotel and Skiathos Princess Hotel can join in Moonlight Paddle Boarding with “YOGAqua moon salutations on the glistening, moonlit waters of Skiathos with stars sparkling overhead.” The Aegean Suites Hotel is an adult-only all-suite property overlooking Skiathos town. The nearby Skiathos Princess overlooks a beach at Agia Paraskevi.

Both properties promote healthy Mediterranean cuisine and extensive wellness activities such as Herb Hikes, Spa Rituals and yoga. According to the Ashtanga yoga traditions practiced by the hotels full moons are a perfect time to practice. The experience is combined with Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. Moonlight Paddle Boarding will be offered on such full moon dates as July 2, July 31, Aug. 28 and Sept. 28.

Over on Corfu, the MarBella is introducing Aerial Heart Yoga, a practice which combines traditional yoga with such modern techniques as suspension and weightlessness a few feet above the ground in a comfortable yoga hammock. Group sessions last 75 minutes and take place in the purpose-built yoga area.

Aerial Yoga is said to combat stress, fatigue and joint pain by aligning the spine, decompressing the muscular and skeletal systems as well as stimulating the blood circulation and lymphatic system. Group sessions of Aerial Yoga are available twice weekly as a part of MarBella Corfu’s activity program and individual sessions are available on request.

Finavia has been experimenting with improving passenger experience at Helsinki Airport. Last year, they rolled out yoga mats in the airport’s creative “Kainuu” space and gave transit passengers a chance to stretch between flights. It’s all part of Finavia’s TravelLab project, which tests new services like yoga and Pilates classes. The Kainuu space, near Gate 30, is open 24 hours a day, giving passengers a place to stretch at any time. Yoga mats, as well as instructions for various exercises are provided in the space. The space employs dark green carpets to evoke a mossy forest floor with décor with wooden plank and natural stone floors as well as quirky lounge seats covered with traditional woven rugs.


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