one & only

By: kyle roderick

While yoga eases its way into even more 21st century minds and bodies, luxury resorts all over the world are offering life-changing, site-specific programs that empower guests to practice the yoga that best suits their needs. With a variety of classes offered in their serene and fragrant Yoga Garden, on a pristine beach looking out to sea and in yoga studios or private rooms, One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Baja California is one of the leading examples of this trend. Yoga at Palmilla is way more than a blissed-out vacation pastime – it’s a sensually supporting and nurturing experience that can help you reprogram your mind and body.

As you may already know, one of the prime meanings of the word yoga is union. One & Only Palmilla offers a wonderful opportunity for the mind and body to enjoy this rare yet natural state, and in the exquisite light of beachside Baja, at that. Guests can arrange an entirely spiritual retreat while enjoying a largely organic menu and spa cuisine that runs between 1400 to 2000 calories. With so much sunlight, dynamic yoga, the ever-present sound of the surf and superb food (star chef Charlie Trotter has devised a raw food menu that’s utterly sumptuous), the mind/body/spirit is given everything it needs to plug into the Source.

For starters, there is a seven a.m. walking silent meditation on the beach, followed by Hatha yoga class on the beach. There are also pranayama classes, during which handouts are provided, so that one can practice breathing to support yoga asanas.  (One may also choose private pranayama classes here.)  For those seeking the ultimate in open air-lung liberation, there is an oxygen-based relaxation class on the beach. 

One meditates under a shady palapa with a certified oxygen therapist, while breathing carefully calibrated amounts of oxygen and staring at the waves rolling onto shore. It’s just a matter of time before breathing rhythms sync up with the sea.

Along with daily Ashtanga classes inside the yoga studio, there are also 80-minute meditation sessions as well as “Positive Thinking and Thought Power.”  Some other relevant classes for 21st century yogis include: yoga for golfers, yoga for kids, family yoga (where three generations often practice together), partner yoga, chair yoga and the compellingly titled “yoga of business.” 

Along with a spa menu, replete with massages, facials, reflexology and the like, there is a bio-regionally specific Temescal (think luxury Mayan sauna) experience that leaves one feeling purified, lighter and beautified. The resort’s spa manager Alfredo is a former massage therapist who worked at Rancho la Puerta and other superb healing zones before coming to Palmilla. “Our philosophy is that we recharge our guests and give them what they need, and in so doing, we recharge ourselves and the earth.”  

Also highly recommended is the cranial-sacral therapy, including a 90-minute aqua cranial-sacral therapy treatment performed in a mineral water pool. And speaking of pools, there is a lot of pool space at Palmilla for lounging, meditating and sleeping. But those that are sun-shy may still merge with Nature and the ocean without ever leaving their quarter. Each room comes equipped with its own high power telescope for whale watching, sunset-viewing and plain old zoning out into the blue.

On the more active side, Palmilla guests may also go on whale-watching excursions in season. Horseback riding on the beach is a perfect balance to an active yoga schedule, as is going for a walk or a jog on one of Palmilla’s trails, or taking a day trip into the austerely beautiful desert area near the resort. Here you will see intensely-hued flora and fauna à la iguanas, hawks, rabbits and more. On a recent trip, guests watched a family of rabbits sitting together, staring into the sunset. The rabbits appeared to be absorbing shakti, the nurturing, feminine force of life – or perhaps they were simply daring their human observers to breathe deeper, meditate and do their yoga.

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