Finding Balance at Rancho La Puerta – Part Two

Continued from
Finding Balance at Rancho La Puerta – Part One

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Crystal bowls at Rancho la Puerta

During our week at Rancho La Puerta, a wellness resort in Tecate, Baja, Mexico, I was relieved that 1) Adam was loving the intense circuit training and cardio classes and 2) many of the activities were gentler and more free-form.

After all, wellness is all about finding balance, right? Some of my favorite activities throughout the week were Feldenkrais, a system of minimal movement designed to improve your posture and balance, and Partner Thai Massage, which allowed 20 minutes of massage instruction and receipt for each of us and will be followed up with a link to an instructional video.

Together, we particularly enjoyed crystal bowl therapy. While we lay in a circle with about 20 other folks, supported by pillows and wrapped up in blankets, seven pale crystal bowls in varying sizes were struck lightly with a rubber mallet, releasing vibrations designed to open the body’s seven chakras. Still with me? I can’t exactly explain this, but after 50 minutes of bowl action, we’d either taken the world’s deepest nap or tapped into our psychic cores. Either way, both times we did this we looked and felt pink, soft and fabulous.

Also strangely powerful is the labyrinth, a pebbled, eleven-circuit maze set beside a dreamy sycamore grove. With it all to ourselves, we kicked off our shoes and started walking slowly and deliberately until we met quietly in the center, both feeling inexplicably emotional. Designed to be a metaphor for the journey of life, it hugs you before you can even hug each other.

Adam walking the labyrinth at Rancho la Puerta

For an actual burn, I enjoyed dance classes like ¡Ay Carumba! with the inimitable Manuel Velazquez, where he teaches you a fun, high-energy salsa number with attitude, as if you’re preparing for Dancing With the Stars; and two different versions of NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action), a female-focused dance that promotes strength, balance and finding your inner “yes.”

The spa was a real treat for both of us, and much needed. It’s split into three buildings — the Villas, Women’s and Men’s Health Center — to maximize treatment space. The sun patio/eucalyptus steam room/sauna facilities at the first two are generally open only to women, but on Wednesday nights, only men are welcome. No matter when you come, blend their special lemonade with their herb water for some addictive hydration.

Clockwise from top left: the Ranch's legendary Broadway choreographer/dance teacher, Yuichi!; Water Works in the Activity Pool; some exciting work in sculpting class; marriage therapist/presenter Dr. John Jacobs

Treatments here are performed with great care. I tried Brighten the Mind, a sugar scrub and massage combo that smells like a whole spring garden; and Nature’s Most Pure Facial, which in-between beautiful bouts of head, neck and shoulder massage, used eco-friendly products to polish up my dull, grey complexion. Adam tried his first-ever Gentleman’s Facial, which made his face glowy and smooth (in an entirely manly way, of course), and feel asleep a time or two during his ultra-relaxing Healing Therapy massage. What fixed me up right more than anything else, though, was a 90-minute hot stone massage; the stones were rested on my hands, belly and lower back, and used to help knead knots from my muscles.

All treatments and salon services are additional costs, though extremely reasonable. For instance, a couple of women I met got amazing, baby-soft pedicures for $35; that’s at least $40 less than you’d find at resort spas in the States.

We sadly missed both lectures by therapist Linda Carroll on Love Cycles, the waxing and waning of love and comfort in a marriage, but since she makes six yearly trips to the Ranch you might be lucky enough to catch her another week. We were both impressed by a pair of lectures given by Dr. John Jacobs based on his book, All You Need is Love & Other Lies About Marriage. Jacobs, a New York City psychologist (who was at the Ranch with his delightful wife, psychologist  Vivian Diller), asserts that divorce is prevalent in modern marriage because the main thing holding couples together is an ability to positively answer the question, “Am I happy with this person?” Among many other helpful takeaways, we were intrigued by this reminder:

Jacobs cautions that if your goal is to stay in your marriage, your energy is better spent figuring out how to ask for what you want in a way that your partner will hear you.

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Continued in
Finding Balance at Rancho La Puerta – Part Three

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Adam and I were invited guests of Rancho La Puerta for a week,
and received complimentary lodging, meals, classes, hikes, lectures and spa treatments.

A Saturday-to-Saturday stay at Rancho La Puerta generally costs between $2,800 US and $4,700 US
(depending on room size and the season),
and includes lodging, food, classes, hikes, lectures, use of all facilities,
and, if needed, transportation to and from San Diego Airport.
Cooking classes, private sessions and personal spa treatments are additional.

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If you’re excited about visiting Rancho La Puerta for yourselves,
please know that I’ve been authorized to offer you a $250 credit!

Feel free to either contact Rancho La Puerta directly and say you were referred by Travels With Two,
or leave a comment here with your email address and I’ll send you a certificate.

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