Well Below the Surface: Serenity & Spirit
How important is the idea of self-care to today’s wellness scene? As spas have broadened their offerings to include more inward-looking services, some have even created new positions that focus on some of the more intangible aspects of well-being. We caught up with two such staffers to find out more about their uniquely titled spa jobs.
Spiritual Wellness Director, Canyon Ranch
Tell us a bit about this position?
Canyon Ranch believes that our spiritual health is just as important as our physical, mental and emotional health, so this is the final piece of our founders’ vision of inspiring people to live their healthiest, most fulfilling, most enjoyable lives. Spirituality touches everything about our lives, if we simply open up to it and make it part of our wellness practice.
What are some of your main duties?
I create and direct programming for guests to deepen their spiritual life, so on-property I give and organize lectures, offer group workshops (including ones that highlight ancient spiritual tools like labyrinths, contemplative circles and fire ceremonies), design and run spirituality retreats and events, and offer a variety of one-on-one services. My main goal is to engage guests in enriching experiences that heal and transform whatever is keeping them from knowing peace, purpose, trust, faith, enthusiasm, joy, and unconditional love and hope.
How have guests responded to these offerings?
There have been so many incredible responses. For a guest who was grieving for a lost child, we created a personal routine of self-awareness and rituals of remembrance to help her live and mourn simultaneously, while a Soul Journey experience was able to help a guest with a terminal illness deepen her belief in, and personal connection with, infinite divine energy. A couple experiencing a deep divide were able to release old resentments and recommit to one another.
Any tips on working toward “spiritual wellness”?
Some simple tips include changing how you wake each day; instead of looking at your phone first thing and creating stress, create a routine of waking up that gives attention to breathing, heart-centered meditation and soulful intention-setting. Also try to get outside every day—and when you do, notice something inexplicable about it, whether it’s light, movement, color or sound. Experience the awe of what you cannot explain, but can connect with. And of course, practice gratitude—meaning, actually say, “Thank you” out loud.
Director of Serenity, Inns of Aurora
What’s this position all about?
The Inns of Aurora created the director of serenity position because we knew people stayed with us to relax, unwind and unplug, and we wanted to enhance that experience for them. The position started with me curating in-room amenities such as yoga kits and relaxation playlists, which led to the introduction of The Loft, our on-site wellness center, and allowed me to have more face time with all of our guests.
How do you explain “serenity” to your guests?
Serenity means so many things to me. I can describe the feeling as contentment or a feeling of calm, and a sense of deep and abiding peace. For guests, I create and curate wellness-focused programming that aims to help them achieve mental, spiritual and physical well-being through diet, lifestyle and yoga practices. My main goal is to be welcoming and approachable to guests and to give them at least one idea or inspiration to take home with them that will create a sense of well-being in their daily lives.
What are some examples of these activities?
In addition to yoga classes, meditation sessions and essential oil- and tea-blending classes, I host Director of Serenity “Office Hours” where guests are able to stop by for one-on-one time with me and have an open discussion. I also lead groups walks on which we discuss topics such as architecture, history, art an d rare or interesting local natural wonders. We are also launching an Ayurveda Studio, where I’ll be able to introduce and educate guests on the practice of Ayurveda and provide some simple hacks on how these practices can be incorporated into daily life.
Any tips for finding this peace?
The first step to identifying what serenity means to you is to notice your breath. When the breath is deep, smooth and even, without pause, chances are you are serene. Once you identify what serenity feels like, notice where you are, what you are doing or not doing, and what conditions are present. You can actually cultivate serenity in any place and in a myriad of conditions by learning to train the breath.
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