This Retreat Center has the BEST Teacher Lineup and Awesome Food

1440yogaindoor.jpg

Northern California's most ambitious new wellness destination—aimed at solving everything from vitamin D deficiency to jiggly tush to addictions to sugar and screen—quietly opened this past May just 60 miles south of San Francisco.

On 75 acres in the redwoods outside Santa Cruz in Scott's Valley, 1440 Multiversity is bringing a dose of modern mindfulness to a former bible college with a higher-education-meets-retreat-style model of classes, workshops, healthy eats, and overnight stay options to fit all budgets. Beyond the old school and every day retreat programming like Qigong and Tai Chi, the magic is in class sizes that feel almost private, and a calendar full of more contemporary offerings features a faculty that reads like a Coachella lineup for yoga and meditation enthusiasts. After a weekend yoga workshop, I left feeling like 1440 is one of the best domestic havens for the 21st century.

1440Outdooryoga.jpg

As someone who plans family vacations around wellness retreats (it's for their own good!), I got a serious case of FOMO when I first saw the property's massive catalog. This season 1440 will host leading meditation instructors Sharon Salzberg and Davidji; Hollywood favorite yogi Steve Ross and SF's own Wanderlust headliner Jason Crandell. I elected to try Crandell's Optimizing Your Vinyasa weekend yoga retreat—because to this health nut, nothing sounds more luxurious than a weekend full of lunges and anatomy jokes with one of our city's best.

When I checked in for my 36-hour stay, I popped into a general welcome session in the property's stunning, converted mid-century chapel, and then to dinner, where I ate enough tofu and cassoulet to feed a health-conscious army. After dinner, on a very full stomach (I didn't know our first session started that night until a new friend mentioned changing for class over chocolate cookies), I joined about about 25 students for our first two-hour yoga session with Crandell. We dove into the weekend's coursework of opening and strengthening all of the muscles and joints used during traditional Vinyasas (downward dog, chaturanga, lunges, etc). The following morning, midday and afternoon sessions followed a similar pattern of lecture on the day's topic followed by an active yoga session to put into practice what was just discussed. Most of the class plunked down around $700 to stay on campus for an all-inclusive weekend, while a few others were Airbnb-ing or taking advantage of a locals-only day pass. I loved staying on-campus, but also appreciate that they are so flexible in how people want to mold their own stay.

1440 Rooms.jpg

1440's hotel rooms—a mix of converted dorms with rustic shared bathrooms and former public spaces now with private bathrooms and balconies overlooking the surrounding redwoods—might be as close as the Bay Area gets to a five-star wellness resort. But at the end of each day of hours-long yoga practice, all that really mattered was having solid A/C, comfy linens and a view to distract me from my exhaustion as I applied an entire tin of Tiger Balm. Soon there will be an infinity pool and a full spa geared toward soothing those sore muscles (will report back on that one soon); for now, you can try walking it off on the handful of short hiking trails that crisscross the property, or meditate in the redwood "cathedral."

1440 Food.jpg

If you prefer to eat your pain—and happen to be vegan, gluten-free or both —you will have come to the right place: 1440 serves thrice daily buffets of health-conscious omnivorous eats that tread the line between corporate offsite and eco-stylish. While not totally plant-based (I wish they were, but I'm assuming this was a business decision to not scare off the South Bay's big tech company meeting planners), high brow takes on traditional retreat fare is served at each meal, which plenty of vegan options. During my visit, I dug into vegan pastries and locally made coconut yogurt each morning; there was also customizable vegan pad Thai and vegan pot de creme. Nearly everything offered is gluten- and sugar-free.

During my last meal, while stuffing my bag with 1440's vegan, gluten-free banana bread, I was already bookmarking pages in the property's catalog for a future visit - to Sadie Nardini's long weekend - COME! As happy as I was as a solo traveler making a yogic pilgrimage, the creature comforts and heavily staffed event production team seem fit to attract big companies—and there is plenty of room and course options to keep us all happy.

Weekend and weekday workshops can be booked with a room and board package, or a la carte. For locals or those who don't require accommodations, a $95 day pass is available for dining and grounds access. Single rooms start at $175 per night.

// 1440 Multiversity, 800 Bethany Dr. (Scott's Valley), 1440.org

Evacuating Wine Country Fires and How to Support

Courtesy of Sandman Santa Rosa

Courtesy of Sandman Santa Rosa

A 3:30am Call in Santa Rosa

I woke up Monday morning at 3:30am to the landline ringing in my hotel room at Santa Rosa's Sandman hotel, a design-y, recently renovated nouveau motel downtown. I picked up after three rings and all within the next minute, maybe a minute and a half, I was told to 'evacuate and evacuate now because the fire was closest to your building', threw on pants/sweatshirt/shoes and grabbed what I could with one arm on the way out to the car. At some point during all of that I opened the front door to assess what was going on, and how big of danger we were in, and a huge billow of thick smoke blew right in, and along with it howls and screams and gusts of wind. 

Once we got downstairs and to our car, we followed another car leaving from the hotel lot as it made a right onto the main road. Because this was the first time I'd stayed in Santa Rosa I had no idea where I was or how to navigate. And because the entryway to the hotel was already in flames, and much more so the vegetation across the street, following someone who might know more than me was what my fight or flight mechanism deemed safest. Seeing we were driving into more fire - to the left and the right and raining from above, my fiance turned around to avoid driving into any larger fires that might lay ahead. At this time there was no news or emergency warnings distributed via mobile to say what this fire was or more importantly what to do and where to go. We were clueless and just trying to GTFO. 

On the other side of the street from the hotel property was a gas station, with a fire truck at one of the pumps and a very calm looking fireman next to the truck. We pulled in, I hopped out of the car (in my nightie/yoga pants/sweatshirt combo) and taking in his relaxed-despite-armageddon all around vibe, attempted to be super chill about the 'why is everything on fire and am I going to die in it?' thoughts swimming in my brain. 

He told us how to get to the freeway going south, where to go and all in such a calm way . We found the onramp, which was also on fire, plowed through the smoke and flames and booked it back home to San Francisco. All the way looking at flames to our left and listening to some super unprepared late night easy listening DJs on the radio try their best to share updates on what was happening. 

Despite the horror of evacuating without knowing what it was we were running from, where to go and where the fires were coming from, I lost nothing. The hotel I stayed at was spared, and the beyond gracious hoteliers have managed to return all of my belongings: phone, clothing, wine in the last couple of days.  I cannot imagine what it's like for those who went through this process to lose every.single.thing. The North Bay communities have been devastated, and continue to be ravaged, by these insane fires. 

So what can we all do? Short of getting a firefighting license or vet tech certificate, most of what these communities are asking for are donations. Cash, clothing, supplies. 

Here are some of my favorite organizations, and how to get involved:

Sweat to support in SF

SoulCyclewdog.jpeg

Sonoma SPCA x Well + Away ride at SoulCycle Castro
Many of the shelters in the Sonoma areas are taking in evacuated families, both those who have lost their home and those are waiting to find out if they still have one, but are unable to accept animals. Sonoma SPCA is temporarily housing so many of these evacuated animals, but also housing strays and treating those who have been burned in the fires. Join us for a Saturday afternoon ride with instructor Chris on October 21 at SoulCycle Castro in SF, all proceeds will benefit Sonoma SPCA. Sign up via Eventbrite

MNTforParsley.jpg

MNTSTUDIO benefiting Napa Valley Community Foundation
MNT's studio director Carlie Long is a Napa Native with family throughout the Napa area. MNT is hosting a mat Pilates bootcamp class this Saturday, Oct 14, at 9am. Sign up via MindBody

Outside of the Bay Area

Make a donation in any amount to the following funds:

Well in SF: Sober Dance Party, Yoga at Bloomies and the class Pop-up

Daybreaker2.jpg

Daybreaker Breaks Dusk

From the creators of the early-morning, non-alcoholic dance party series known as Daybreaker, comes Dusk, this Friday night at Grace Cathedral. The party starts with an hour of yoga taught by Paige Earl, followed by a booze-free dance party DJ'd by the team at Opulent Temple. If you're up for this sober shindig, boozeless happy hour treats will be provided. But be sure to BYO yoga mat if you're planning to take class. // FridayOct 6; yoga 6:30-7:30pm, dance party 7:30-9:30pm; at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St. (Nob Hill); tickets ($25-35) available at daybreaker.com.

Vinyasa 40 Stories Up

Loews Regency Hotel is bringing Sky Deck Yoga back this fall for those wanting to downward dog with a 180 degree view of the city. Now through October 31st, and in partnership with Wheel House, the property will host two weekly Saturday morning classes: one athletic power Vinyasa class, the other a precision Vinyasa with an emphasis on alignment and breath. Both classes end with tray-passed green juice from in-house restaurant Brasserie S&P. Yoga mats and towels are provided. // $25 per class, Saturdays, Loews Regency, 222 Sansome St., (FiDi), loewshotels.com/regency-san-francisco.
 

Core Power + Rosé All Day At Bloomie's

To kick off its October Pink campaign, Bloomingdale's is hosting a pink-themed morning yoga class, taught by Core Power instructor Monica Kaufman, accompanied by pink wine and goodie bags from Spiritual Gangster. What does this mean for your weekend? Saturday morning yoga and rosé literally all day (10am to 4pm), courtesy of Coravin. There is a $10 reservation fee, 100 percent of which will be donated to the breast-cancer-fighting Carey Foundation and Marisa Acocella Marchetto Foundation. // Yoga mat and goodie bags included; doors open at 8:30am, yoga at 9am; Bloomingdales, 845 Market St., (SoMa); sign up at Eventbrite.

Sunset Hike on the Peninsula

Get outside to soak in the fall sights and smells with the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). Amid the glow of the setting sun, trek five miles from the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve to the top of Mindego Hill (newly opened to the public). Snacks will be provided at the top of the hike, and POST guides will be on-hand to share the history and planning of the lands they protect. // Free, Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, (Redwood City); reservations at Eventbrite.

Strength, Spirit and Recovery

If this is the first you're hearing of Taryn Toomey's pop-up class at The Assembly, sadly both Saturday and Sunday sessions are sold out. Keep an eye on the waitlist to sign up for all of the other wellness options the Assembly has in store for its first full weekend of fitness, mindfulness and creative coursework. Classes include HIIT-style strength with Tony Forte, spiritual-strength with Rachael Brooke (of the famously packed 7am SoulCycle classes), and new mobility class called 'The Release' with local fitness celeb Liz Letchford. Art-focused mandala making and a private tour of new work led by artist Heather Day round out the weekend. // The Assembly, 449 14th St. (Mission), theassemblysf.com

Iconic California Dude Ranch Adds a Touch of Wellness

Source: Alisal

Source: Alisal

The one time my family of native Angelenos tried to go camping together, it turned out like Troop Beverly Hills or The Parent Trap—an embarrassing comedy of errors. After trying to take one for the team, my city slicker dad got overwhelmed by outdoor noises, lack of heated toilet and low sleeping bag thread count. He checked us into a hotel after he patted himself on the back for making it through two DIY campfire meals. Instead of trying that again the following year, we checked into The Alisal, the classic guest ranch in Solvang, where turndown service, nearby wine tasting, and 10,000 acres of trails to hike and ride got us hooked; a trip to The Alisal became an annual family escape during my childhood years.

It's been nearly 20 years since I last visited The Alisal as a kid on a family trip, so when I heard there had been a large renovation to the spa and a healthy menu upgrade, I grabbed my mom and headed to the ranch resort, located 40 miles north of Santa Barbara. The footprint is the same as it was on my last visit, and just as it was in 1949 when Clark Gable was married on the property; just as it was when the Jackson family opened the property to guests in 1946. A long driveway lined by sycamore trees ends at the barn and a row of cottage-chic guest rooms. At first glance, the only thing that had really changed was the itch that the ranch would scratch for my modern adult self: With nary a bar of network coverage, this trip obliterated any resistance I had for a total digital detox.

There's no major signage or dramatic foyer with sophisticated floral arrangements to receive you upon arrival, just a low-key front desk and a couple of college-age staff to hand over keys and a map of the grounds. The historic ranch, which has hosted the likes of Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck, has been wooing people with simple creature comforts and a five-star ranch experience for generations.

203_alisal_may.jpg

Of the many ranch-appropriate activities offered daily, including archery and air-rifle target practice, morning and sunset horseback trail rides remain the biggest draw. Offered three times per week, a classic Alisal breakfast ride is an hourlong trek across the ranch's stunning acreage.

The wranglers are experts on everything Alisal, from its history to the way they track local animals such as bears, owls and two resident bald eagles. Wranglers will point out things that might otherwise go unnoticed—bald eagle nests and their feathers on the trail. The breakfast that takes place halfway through the ride is a traditional continental affair, featuring pancakes, cereals, fruit and other usual suspects. While a slam dunk for those who prize hearty and classic over healthy and organic, they do their best to accommodate dietary restrictions and the ride itself is so rewarding that breakfast is really just fuel for the way back. 

1U2B5447.jpg

Opened in 2016, the ranch's 6,000-square-foot spa has been designed to feel like a zen-style barn, with exposed beams and cozy Pendleton blankets in the central lounge, in addition to a fitness center and treatment rooms. Go-to services for the saddle weary include the Trail Blazer, a scrub/massage combo, and a deep muscle massage that gets right down to business post-afternoon activities—there's tennis, hiking, swimming and one-on-one yoga and Pilates classes. The nearly endless options help ameliorate the urge to open your Instagram app. If non-hotel yoga is what you're after, nearby Bloom yoga offers creative and challenging flow classes (and cell service!) - a real delight during my visit.

Alisal's bar and dining rooms are classic California ranch-style: stonework and fireplaces and horse bridles and repurposed barn gear. The nightly live music and bottomless chips and guac make it easy to forget about inboxes and Netflix queues. New chef Anthony Endy is refreshing the food and beverage program with more plant-based fare. Vegan and vegetarian options will be offered nightly in late 2017, with a full refresh appearing in spring of 2018. Until then, the staff are happy to prepare something delicious off-menu to accommodate dietary preferences.

7-07-Alisal-Pool-2_J9D0593-.jpg

After a traditional ranch-style dinner featuring beautiful seasonal produce from the Santa Ynez valley—a memorable heirloom tomato salad was inhaled in about three seconds, and hearty dishes included fried samosas and luscious risotto. There are no late-night dessert bars or DJs or anything to disrupt the perfect quiet here—just open space and the best excuse to stay in: cozy cottages (35 of the 73 have been recently redone) with cowboy-cool furnishings, Pendleton coverlets, wood-burning fireplaces and gorgeous views from every one. // Studios start at $550/night; The Alisal, 1054 Alisal Rd (Solvang), alisal.com

 

The 7 Healthiest Fast Casual Restaurants You Need to Know for Your Next Road Trip

Amyssaladonpurple.jpg

While I always (always, always) love an impressive five-star hotel, I often prefer a healthy fast casual meal to a Michelin-starred one. Sure, there’s no culinary stardust and I won’t so much as glance at a wine list when I’m ordering at a counter (even I draw the line somewhere), buuuut if I’m going to be stuck in an uncomfortable chair for the duration of a meal I’d rather it be for 30 minutes and not three hours. Another bonus for the dietarily restricted? FC joints let me substitute ingredients to my heart’s desire without offending a Bon Appetit darling or my wondering for the next two hours and 45 minutes just how much my server hates me beneath their perfect, Michelin manners.

I do enjoy fine dining for special occasions and for the wine list. I just want healthy, plant-based food the way I want it to make my body feel awesome the other 90% of the time. So that is why I am so stoked on what is happening with the current crop of fast casual restaurants who are going full-board with healthy eats. Here are my current favorites - some national, some regional and all are happy to substitute whatever you like.

 

SweetGreen

Source: @SweetGreen

Source: @SweetGreen

This DC-based salad chain is a growth machine. The first time I tried it, I queued up with the New York lunchtime rush, wrapping around the corner of 28th street for a salad for a salad in a plastic container. It was worth it! Year-round go-tos like the Spicy Sabzi are filling AF with tons of textural variety and color, and seasonal salads rotate based on location and time of year. Basically everything that I love. You can also just DIY a totally customized salad, at the counter or via mobile app in advance so you can grab and go.
Locations: CA, NY, DC, MD, VA, MA, PA

 

Native Foods

Source: @NativeFoods

Source: @NativeFoods

Chef Tanya, as all of Palm Springs and her pretend bffs like me refer to her, is an OG vegan fast casual visionary. The first Native Foods opened in Palm Springs in 1994. I spent the entirety of my lunch budget while at UCLA on spicy scorpion burgers and key lime pies the Westwood location. Big hearty bowls combine various grains like quinoa and rice with creative sauces like a vegan ranch and a moroccan, and the burgers are divine.
Locations: CA, IL, OR, CO

 

Chipotle

Source: @YouCanGoVegan

Source: @YouCanGoVegan

Yeah, I know it’s not sexy or new or indie, but if you are road tripping outside of any metropolis, beyond the ‘burbs, chances are you are going to not necessarily want, but need Chipotle. The most widely available healthy FC outlet of any on this list, Chipotle is a solid standby for salads and bowls with multiple bean options, vegan sofritas protein and seriously legit guacamole. I don’t remember the last time I’ve eaten at one within a city center, but once the radio options narrow to static or country, seeing a Chipotle off of a freeway is like an oasis in the desert. Locations: Everywhere and beyond

 

Flower Child

FlowerChild.jpg

To just get right out with it, Flower Child gets my order right maybe 1 out of every 5 visits. I return because it’s delicious, and somewhere deep down I’m hoping they figure out they are in the service industry. There is no yummier, easier (when they get it right) place for hearty vegan bowls, curry hummus, and the thrill of a restaurant overwhelming me with the number of clean, vegan side dish options. They have something for every craving: post-workout and need something light and hydrating? Yep. Something when it’s rainy and I need to eat my feelings, but like healthy? Yep. And when they do get my order right it makes my entire day.
Locations: AZ, CA, TX

 

True Food Kitchen

Source: @TrueFoodKitchen

Source: @TrueFoodKitchen

From the owners of Flower Child, True Food Kitchen is a slightly less casual fast casual take on healthy, American-meets-Mediterranean bites. With anti-inflammatory menus dreamed up by Dr. Andrew Weil (check out my interview with him for 7x7 here!), dishes are full of phytonutrients, healthy fats, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. The ancient grains bowl is a fall staple in my routine when I’m in Santa Monica or Walnut Creek. While it and other dishes can include a vegan protein, friends that prefer an animal protein can add shrimp or a similar option so everyone can tuck into their preferred take on ‘healthy’. Just don’t leave without ordering a slice of squash pie to share. YUM.
Locations: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MD, PA, TN, TX, VA

 

Mendocino Farms

MendoFarms.jpg

A lot of this menu is actually not crazzzy healthy or super vegan-friendly - I mean, it calls itself a ‘sandwich market’. But the items that are healthy and plant-based are different from the offerings at any other bowl/salad/wrap spot. And when a craving hits for their vegetarian Chinese salad or the enlightened falafel wrap with a vegan tzaziki that is pressed like a panino, nothing else does the trick. Lunch is busy and the vibe is so LA, at least at the Wilshire location. They offer free samples of sides when you go to pay, which I think they do to upsell, but it just confuses me. But if free sides are a plus for you - then just another reason to check out Mendo Farms.
Locations: CA

 

Amy’s Drive-thru

AmysDriveThrulayflat.jpg

It’s a schlep from most things other than the Santa Rosa mall (insert emoji girl with “I guess?” hands up) or specific parts of wine country from San Francisco, but I’ve gotten pretty slick with excuses to visit Amy’s in the suburban hamlet of Rohnert Park. And once I’m there, I make sure to bring a few friends at least, so we can order as much of the menu as possible. Amy’s is of course owned by the people who make those sodium-rich but delicious burritos and pizzas that were an awesome go-to for microwaving after an extended happy hour in college. The new all vegetarian/vegan drive-thru so so much more sophisticated than my drunken freezer to microwave burrito-scarfing. High ceilings, a ton of staff and a sunny patio make it such a pleasure to indulge in vegan burgers, burrito bowls, superfood salads, mac and cheese with veggies and non-dairy milkshakes. I know I said this was a healthy list, but sometimes a treat meal is the healthiest thing at that moment.
Locations: CA for now, more soon. Check out this Fast Company story on the upcoming expansion!

Tell us your favorite fast casual joints and/or road trip stops in the comments below:

Take Your Down Dog Outside, Clean Up Your Makeup Routine and Party Like a Healer this Week in SF

Bay Club YOTP 3.jpg

Yoga on the Plaza with Bay Club

It’s a gorgeous week for taking your workout al fresco, and this Thursday the Bay Club is hosting a free yoga class at The Plaza in FiDi. Led by Bay Club instructor Jennifer Kelly, this is the last class in a weekly series celebrating national yoga month. After a 60-minute flow, post-class refreshments will be served - because what’s better than day drinking outside in yoga pants? The class itself is an all-levels Vinyasa flow class set to music broadcasted through attendees’ individual, wireless headsets. Donations will be accepted onsite to support Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation.  
-
5:30pm check-in, Bay Club Financial District, 555 California St. RSVP at Eventbrite.

 

The Center SF Turns Two

Home to breathing workshops, monthly moon circles and esoteric wellness modalities from EFT Tapping to Reiki, The Center SF is having itself a birthday party on Thursday, September 28. Festivities will include tarot readings, astrology, live music, healthy snacks, beverages and plenty of dancing.  
-
7p.m. - 11p.m., Tickets are available for a requested donation of $10. The Center, 548 Fillmore St (Lower Pac Heights). www.thecentersf.com/

 

Work Hard, Sleep Hard

Mattress Firm and OrangeTheory Fitness are hosting a ‘Work Hard, Sleep Hard’ pop-up event on Saturday, September 30. Through 12 p.m., Mattress Firm will be onsite showing off their latest offerings and sharing advice on how to up your slumber game for enhanced athletic performance. Mattresses will be in-studio for testing, or post-workout napping, after the a.m. sweat sesh, and Revive Kombucha will be serving beverages. First class is free at OrangeTheory for new students.  -
OrangeTheory Fitness, 343 Sansome Street #125, 8:30a.m - 12:30p.m. www.san-francisco.orangetheoryfitness.com/

 

Your Best Face Forward

FaceWest is now open in the Marina. Get your makeup done with cruelty-free, vegan, clean beauty products curated by Bay Area native owners Pavla and Petra Langer. Makeup artists can put a look together for you for anything from opening night to ‘natural makeup 101’. Pro tip: if you’re running from makeup to an event with zero time for hair, they have blowdryers and styling tools on-hand for quickie hair styling, too.  
-
FaceWest, 3236 Scott St. (Marina). www.faceweststudio.com/

 

Laughing Lotus Class @ Athleta Sutter

Home of the signature lighthearted and soulful Vinyasa yoga style, Laughing Lotus is the studio of the month at Athleta Sutter. This Saturday, BYO mat for an hour of all-levels yoga flow with a Laughing Lotus instructor. After class, yogis have the run of the store before it’s open to the public, as well as a chance to win an Athleta gift card and complimentary refreshments.  
-
 Athleta Sutter Street, 255 Sutter St (Union Square). Free, 8:30a.m. - 9:30 a.m. stores.athleta.net/store-4146/

Sweat Your A** Off This Weekend with Tone It Up and FitFest

JillianKK 2.jpg

This Saturday Brings a Fitness Double-Header

This weekend, two of the season’s biggest fitness events are going head-to-head on opposite sides of the city. In one corner, San Francisco’s homegrown, inaugural FitFest is taking place at Crissy Field from 10am-4pm. In the other, founder Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott of Los Angeles’ fitness empire Tone It Up are taking over Civic Center Plaza for the SF stop of their national tour from 12pm - 5pm.

How do you choose?? I’ve been seriously considering carbing up Friday night in order to jet back and forth all day to lunge with K+K (as the Tone It Up community refers to founders Karena and Katrina) in SoMa then Sweat and Flow with Shauna Harrison in the Marina, then back to Civic Center for push-ups and HIIT with Jillian Michaels. But if you are trying to fit anything else into your day, like a meal or any other non-workout activity, you may need to narrow down Saturday’s ambitious plans. To help you in what is bound to be a choice harder than K+K’s abs, here are the breakdowns of what’s happening at each event.

Tone it Up Tour

On their inaugural cross-country tour, K+K and BFF Jillian Michaels are leading nearly two hours of HIIT-based strength workouts and a dash of yoga.

Doors to the SF tour at Civic Center Plaza open at 3:00pm, with a 30 minute Core Power yoga session kicking off the afternoon in a back-to-back series of three workouts. From there celeb trainer Jillian Michaels will lead a second 30-minute workout, and to wrap up the workout, K+K will lead a 45-minute session in the style of their famous Booty Calls posted daily on ToneitUp.com. After the workout, VIP ticket holders are welcome to meet and greet with the Tone it Up crew between 6:00-8:00pm in the Rose garden. Perks include free massages courtesy of Zeel and post-workout rose.

FitFest

Founded by Bay Area local and super fit festival producer Nate Mezmer, FitFest is also in its inaugural year with a lineup of national and local fitness bosses leading classes on a main stage, as well as smaller sessions peppered throughout Crissy Field.

Gates open at 10am, and a 50 minute, deejay-accompanied Vinyasa session led by The Pad’s Nicole Cronin starts at 1030a on the main stage to get the morning going. Shauna Harrison’s Muscle and Flow and Janet Stone’s Beyonce yoga classes follow on the main stage for some serious hometown heat. Visiting instructors include Kerri Verna of @BeachYogaGirl and Kaisa Keranen of @KaisaFit, both teaching in the afternoon. All day long, SF’s fit crew like Nate Chambers of Roark Gyms and Kokoda Fitness will be teaching short sessions on strength and mobility. Mindfulness sessions will include a journaling session with Julie Aiello of Outdoor Yoga and a panel discussion on the mindful hustle for healthy entrepreneurs.

I’ll be doing my best cross-town shuffle to pack in as many sweat seshes as possible, before crossing the finish line with K+K and rewarding myself with rose and massages.  

--

Tone It Up Tour tickets are $110 per person, $220 for VIP with Jillian Michael, $260 for VIP with K+K, Civic Center Plaza. FitFest tickets are $80 per person, Crissy Field.


 

Where to Meditate Now in SF

PacificPauseSF.jpg

 

Mindfulness is a buzzword that's been creeping into realms with previously no ties to zen living—while we can get down with meditating over our morning coffee, we're just not that into those conference room meditations startup HR managers keep pushing.

At this point, we should all be meditating—the practice has been clinically proven to help our brains with everything from basic function to anxiety disorders—but on the other hand, places like Spirit Rock and the San Francisco Zen Center aren't exactly welcoming for casual practitioners or beginners: Their days-long workshops and 90-minute classes, while amazing, are best suited to those who know what they're doing. We need a better point of entry. There are various meditation apps out there, and that two-minute meditation at your desk is better than nothing, but we want a place where we can focus for a short bit, and a real live person to guide us through.

The answer: San Francisco's new meditation pop-ups.

"Life in the Bay Area has become crazier and more hectic than it needs to be—everyone I know now wants to integrate meditation in their lives to offset stress," says Jing Lee, a former Athleta exec who recently founded Pacific Pause, which teaches beginner-friendly mindfulness meditation sessions that are short enough to work in between commuting and conference calls. Lee plans to open a modern, brick-and-mortar space soon, but until then she's popping up inside The Assembly, a new Mission coworking space that also offers fitness classes, on Thursday nights this fall. Lee's sessions last just 30 minutes, and there are three options on offer: Mindfulness 101, ideal for beginners; a body scan meditation to promote physical awareness; and a gratitude practice to help cultivate kindness. Lee says half an hour "is the sweet spot that makes it beginner-friendly but still enough time for someone who meditates on a regular basis."

If you keep hearing the word mindfulness, it's because many modern practitioners subscribe to the tradition, also known as Vipassana. The reason, Lee feels, is that "Mindfulness meets people where they are. It's an especially approachable type of meditation for the western world," she says, because it uses "non-esoteric, everyday language." It can be more accessible to beginners than some of the more traditional styles, such as Zen and Transcendental mediation, that require specific sitting postures or time- and cash-intensive trainings.

Opened in June of this year, Within is another pop-up offering half-hour mindfulness classes, located inside FiDi's chill second-floor yoga studio Moksha Life Center. Founded by Hannah Knapp and Megan Parker, a New York ex-pat accustomed to Manhattan's various drop-in meditation studios (that's right, SF has, oddly, been slow to adopt this trend), Within aims to capture worker bees before they start their day, offering just two classes with 8:15 and 9am starts, two days per week. Knapp says classes are intended for students to "exercise the muscle of attention in the present moment, and then use that muscle to set an intention for the day ahead. Getting still first thing in the morning," she continues, "really gives people the spaciousness to see what they want for that day." The founders, both refugees from the world of startups, plan to begin offering classes five days a week in September, and are thinking brick-and-mortar after that.

Pacific Pause and Within are currently the only two studios dedicated to super-accessible mindfulness meditation teachings in SF, but there are other opportunities to cultivate your mindfulness practice. The Pad(1694 Union St., Cow Hollow) offers a weekly, 45-minute Monday night "sit"; Against the Stream (rotating venues) offers longer sessions in a variety of styles in SF and the East Bay; and, for ambitious beginners and pros, veteran instructor Howard Cohn gives a 90-minute weekly meditation and talk through Mission Dharma (rotating venues).

This is a story I originally wrote for 7x7, posted on August 30. 

// Pacific Pause classes are $18 at The Assembly, 449 14th St. (Mission), theassemblysf.com; register at eventbrite.com. Within, classes are $18 at Moksha Life Center, 405 Sansome St. (FiDi), withinmeditation.com.

Healthy City Guide to Washington DC

IMG_2217.jpg

We here on the easy breezy west coast often mistakenly associate DC more with House of Cards and heated CNN debates than yoga and highbrow vegan brunch. But the capital is a wellness hotbed that’s only growing hotter, and with its annual VegFest coming up on September 2, we realized our Google Doc of ‘DC must-visits’ needed some expert attention, stat.

We turned to Well + Away friend and founder of Grassfed Media in DC Sacha Cohen for her pro advice. As someone who exclusively represents conscious clients and supports organizations including the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and the Humane Rescue Alliance, Sacha has become our go-to for navigating where to sweat and what to eat in the capital city. Here are her favorite conscious spots around town to get fit, fed, zen-ed and sunned.

Flow

For a yogic experience that ranges from super chill to 90-minutes of sweaty inversion practice, I turn to Tranquil Space in Arlington or Dupont Circle for the 60-minute mindfulness meditation sessions or the 90-minute Flow and Fly class that focuses on training arm balances. For something a bit more scene-y, try Rocket Vinyasa with Jonathan Ewing or Jivamukti with Cory Bryant at Flow Yoga Studio in vibrant Logan Circle. When I need to mix up my practice with something different, I’ll pop into an aerial yoga class with Susan at Spark Yoga in Arlington and Fairfax, or wind down with candlelight yoga on Monday nights at the Arlington Spark Studio, taught by Lika Elwood.

Fuel

Book ahead for a table at Equinox Restaurant, the city’s most delicious vegan brunch, helmed by husband-and-wife co-owners Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff. A signature brunch buffet serves up fresh seasonal dishes including a crispy cauliflower tempura, yellow tomato and pineapple gazpacho, as well as a made-to-order tofu scramble bar and vegan sweets like chocolate pot au creme. Mocktails and cocktails including an American Vegano and, naturally, a signature Equinox Bloody Mary are made from fresh juices and purees.

Get Out

Get outdoors to hike it off throughout 32 miles of trails in DC’s beautiful Rock Creek Park, sprawling across 1700 acres and bisecting DC’s northwest quadrant. If you’d rather try your SoulCycle skills in the great outdoors, all roads and paved trails in Rock Creek Park are open to bicyclists. A popular paved path begins just north of Peirce Mill and follows the creek all the way to the Lincoln Memorial.

Get Cultured

Many of DC’s art and culture institutions are free because they are part of the publicly and institutionally endowed Smithsonian Institution. A few of my favorites for contemporary and modern art include The Hirshhorn Museum, The East Building of the National Museum of Art, The Renwick Gallery and The Phillips Collection. If you want to museum hop, the epicenter for access to most of DC’s free museums is the National Mall. Each of these museums has renowned permanent collections as well as rotating exhibitions such as the recent much buzzed about Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirrshhorn.

Indulge

The adorable, always packed Baked and Wired is tucked into a pretty cobblestone street in Georgetown, one of DC’s most popular shopping areas for the well-heeled. B+W’s Soccer Mom bar with a graham cracker crust, chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut and pecans is a decadent indulgence, or a Chocolate Oreo Cakecup is an ever-so-slightly lighter plant-based treat. Grab one of the bistro tables outside to watch the world go by or settle into the cozy back room with your sweet treat.

Self-Care

Nusta Spa is a relaxing oasis in the heart of bustling Farrugut North in downtown DC and the first LEED-certified spa in the world. Skincare and bodycare treatments include traditional massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, hydrotherapy and mani/pedis. A personal favorite is the matcha brightening decollete facial to soothe summer skin or a massage using  handcrafted essential oils by BodyBliss.

Shop

Opened in August, Take Care is the place to find small batch, synthetic-free and handmade apothecary goods from indie makers around the U.S. Some of my favorites include the cacao antioxidant face mask from Josh Rosebrook, “Ritual” from Smoke Perfume, and the goodness lipstick from vegan lipstick company Axiology. You’ll also find a beautiful collection of handmade lifestyle goods that focus on simple, natural designs and ingredients such as the pure essential oil and a soy cure-all candle from Essential Apothecary Alchemist. With a focus on self-care and taking time out for oneself, Take Care also offers a variety of workshops and events including an upcoming Superfood Latte Workshop.

Drinks

I’m a little reluctant to mention Bar A Vin because it’s still somewhat under-the-radar. This sexy little spot will make you feel like you’ve just landed in Paris, complete with a stunning copper bar, 30-40 old world wines by the glass, and sophisticated bar bites including marinated olives, pickled vegetables and assorted dairy-free cheeses. On a promising date? Settle into the "living room" just off the main entrance and get better acquainted by the roaring fire.

Dinner

It’s a bit of a trek from DC, but for amazing organic vegan fare Great Sage Vegan restaurant is  a must. This comfort food-inspired restaurant features plant based entrees ranging from light to lightly battered. The avocado kale hash and gobi Manchurian--battered cauliflower florets with chiles, cumin and ginger, served with stewed black lentils and green pea-coconut jasmine rice-- are perfect for cooler nights.

 

 

Sharon Salzberg in Norcal, Flywheel Rides and so Many Ways to Meditate

unspecified.jpg

Meditate in Marin

New York–based meditation expert Sharon Salzberg will be in the Bay Area to lead a day-long workshop on loving kindness meditation at Spirit Rock, as part of a nationwide tour to promote her new book, Real Love. Activities will include talks, guided meditation, and direction for practice in daily life. // 9:30am to 4:30pm, Aug. 13 at Spirit Rock (Woodacre), spiritrock.org/calendar. Admission fees based on a sliding scale; register at eventbrite.com.

Om in the Club

If you missed May's sound bath series at Halcyon, or abandoned your meditation practice when the pop-up ended, good news: It's back. SoMa's most enlightened nightclub is bringing back its immersive, meditative sound bath series Resonate: Sound Heals starting this Thursday. This week's sound experience will include a combined sound bath and yin yoga session led by Loriel Starr and Reza Dirtyhertz. // 7:30-9pm, Thurs. Aug. 10 at Halcyon314 11th St. (SoMa). Tickets are $20; register at eventbrite.com.

Fly Rides

If you're looking to rub elbows with the brains behind Flywheel's sweaty indoor cycling classes, check out Flywheel master instructor and West Coast creative director Victor Self's Bay Area classes this weekend and next week. Self will be leading indoor cycling classes at the Market Street, Walnut Creek and Sunnyvale locations. // Aug. 9-17 at multiple Flywheel locations; check the schedule and book classes at flywheelsports.com.

Mission Meditation Pop-up

In the Mission, a new 10,000-square-foot wellness space is in the works for a big October opening. Called the Assembly, the space is already hosting a handful small classes lead by some of SF's most talented indie instructors, including Jing Cai of Pacific Pause. Cai's weekly mindfulness meditation series takes places on Thursdays starting this week. // 6:15-6:45pm, Aug. 10, 17, 24, 31 at The Assembly, 449 14th St. (Mission). Tickets are $18; register at eventbrite.com.

The Best in Digital LA City Guides

We've pushed out the timeline a bit on our LA VitalGuide, so in the interim, to get a fix of healthy LA - here are some of our favorite digital LA city guides.

Goop's LA Wellness Weekend Itinerary covers all of our favorites in a long weekend format. Clean vegan eats, massage, surf lessons, old school gym time and a healing tonic or two.

Skinny Confidential's LA Mini Delites is a mini guide focused on food that mentions the best after-dinner activity in LA, the Magic Castle.

And who better to recommend city-wide vegan eats than Chef Tal Ronnen of West Hollywood's Crossroads?

Your Week in Wellness: Wanderlust, Moon Circles and Yoga on the Beach

WanderlustTahoe.jpg

Here's where to wind down this weekend:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (July 20-23)

Today through Sunday, the West Coast's biggest yoga event of the year, Wanderlust, takes over North Lake Tahoe with celeb yogis teaching everything from restorative classes to advanced inversion workshops. Off the mat experiences include a bohofaux braid bar, essential oils tutorials, wine tastings, farm-to-table meals, and lots of late night dance parties. The superstar lineup includes the Bay Area's own Janet Stone, and imports we stalk on IG like Briohny Smyth and her husband Dice Iida-Klein, as well as Wanderlust and Kula Yoga founder Schuyler Grant. // July 20-23, single day tickets start at $115; 1960 Squaw Valley Rd., Olympic Valley (Squaw Valley), wanderlust.com

Ladies-only New Moon Circle (July 22)

We agree that an entire weekend of yoga and chanting can be overwhelming, so for something closer to home, the Mission's new wellness coworking space Assembly is hosting a new moon-themed evening. Led by Molly and Valentine of women's healer group Expansive Voice Movement, this three hour women's circle of intention-setting and self-power discovery includes a sound bath meditation and a group discussion about the moon and what it means as it enters the astrological sign of Leo for August. // July 22, free; The Assembly, 449 14th St. (Mission), eventbrite.com

Sunset Yoga on the Beach (July 21)

If 90 minutes of Friday night beach yoga at sunset sounds more your speed, Outdoor Yoga SF's yoga and and silent disco is the wellness experience you need in your weekend. Held at Baker Beach this and most Fridays, class starts with a light meditation followed by an energetic flow class that turns into a yoga dance party. Instructor Julie Aiello supplies noise canceling headphones through which she leads the class so as not to disturb non disco-ing passers-by. // July 21, tickets start at $24; Ocean Beach Stairwell 14 (Ocean Beach), outdooryogasf.com

Chill Yoga for Tech Neck

Yoga Tree's seasonal yin (relaxing, non-sweaty) yoga workshop led by Dina Amsterdam is inspired by Chinese Medicine's teachings that the heart is most open during the summer season. Focused on opening the heart, which is yoga-speak for undoing that 9-5 computer posture AND letting more joy and compassion into your life, the class includes movement, breathwork and meditation. // July 23, $75 day of or $65 in advance; Yoga Tree Valencia, 1234 Valencia St. (Mission), yogatreesf.com

Gymnastics for grownups, Poolside Yoga + Rose and the lululemon collab you Need

ZazaNails.jpg

Nontoxic Mani/Pedis, Meet Wine

Allegra Angela, the wellness-minded sommelier of Bottlecoat, is pouring eco-friendly flights of wine on Fridays at posh SoMa nail hub ZaZa. Each weekly vino and mani pairing brings a different list of pours—this week, drink from organic wineries whose natural production processes are said to render headache-free wines. No reservations are needed for the wine tasting, but treatments should be booked by calling the salon. // $15; Friday July 14, 5-7pm, at ZaZa, 543 2nd St. (SoMa), zazaspa.com

Gymnastics for Grownups

The SoMa studio that taps into the sexier side of fitness—think pole dance, aerial silks, hoop and mindful contortion—SF Pole & Dance is kicking off a weekly adult gymnastics class on Thursday, July 20. Fret not, no acrobatic background is needed, but a few of these classes could totally upgrade your pole tricks. Gymnastics classes start with light cardio and stretching, then lead into handstand prep, somersaults and flip movement work. Classes are 75 minutes. // $30 drop-ins; SF Pole & Dance, 301 8th St., Suite 225 (SoMa), sfpoleanddance.com

Lulu Goes Earthy-Chic

Taryn Toomey's The Class—a "heart-centered cathartic movement practice" in New York beloved by supermodels and fit celebs—has inspired a capsule collection of chic, earth-toned athletic gear by Lululemon, available now through August at Lulu's Cow Hollow location. Shop a range of stylish bodysuits, studio-to-street wraps, and subtly vented three-quarter-length pants. // Lululemon, 1981 Union St. (Cow Hollow), shop.lululemon.com

Free Yoga @ Athleta

Athleta on Fillmore is partnering with YogaWorks during the month of July for free yoga classes. Held mostly on weekends, sessions are taught by Athleta ambassadors Sarah Ezrin, Lauren Slater, Natasha Zaslove, and others. Sign up at Eventbrite. // Athleta, 2226 Fillmore St. (Pacific Heights), athleta.gap.com

Say Om by the Pool

Summer means yoga and mimosas at Phoenix Hotel where a new program, dubbed Phoenix Rising, is now in full swing. This Saturday, down dogs and warriors will be led poolside by Yoga Tree instructor Peter Walters. Post-class, yogis will be rewarded with a mimosa or glass of rosé. BYO mat. // $10 includes yoga and a drink; Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy St. (Tenderloin); tickets available at Eventbrite.

 

Sooo Maui is Now Vegan Heaven - Here are the Best Hotels for a Plant-based Stay

Lumeria.jpg

My memories of Maui are with my grandparents, on our annual end of year trip. I would spend a solid eight hours in the pool, then get tucked away early so my grandparents could go out and probably drink Mai Tais and look for cute island cats to snuggle (or they went on benders at local bars, I'll never know!). The only thing even resembling a challenge each day was finding vegetarian food at the massive, decadent Wailea breakfast buffets. I vaguely remember eating some combination of pancakes, fruit rollups and lots of pineapple. Which is why I hadn't revisted the island until a friend's wedding sent me out there.

What I learned was that a slew of Wailea's best-and-brightest resorts and even more the up-country boutiques had added plant-based options to their menus. And also that Maui is magical and that I am a fool to have ever thought they would still be serving fruit roll-ups for breakfast after 1996.
 
Wailea
Home to all of the major Maui hotels, Wailea beckons mainlanders seeking oceanfront luxury with any and every resort amenity. The family friendly, 787-room Grand Wailea offers no shortage of activities and dining options. Breakfast includes an array of local produce, including a regular fruit of the month. Beachside Whale’s Tale is a short walk down the beach for a more casual juice and coffee. Lunch options are also what I like to call beach-hearty with a Life Veggie Burger topped with mango barbecue sauce, roasted red pepper, grilled pineapple and sprouts on a gluten-free bun; or the lighter Edamame Hummus. Dinner at onsite Humuhumunukunukuapua’s might very well be seafood focused, but secret, off-menu vegan entrées include a Tofu Stir-Fry and Tofu with Baby Bok Choy and Orange Lychee Sauce. Meanwhile, nearby LEED® Silver-certified Andaz Maui is a slightly smaller, newer property featuring 300 rooms, fifteen acres of paradise, the chicest pool scene in Wailea, a 14,000 square foot spa and a well-considered vegan tasting menu at onsite Ka’ana Kitchen. The farm-to-table, six-course vegan tasting includes savory dishes such as a Waipoli greens with Poha mustard, cucumber and local radish, and a brownie served with coconut sorbet and macadamia nuts for dessert. Dinner is $150 per person for dinner, and $250 per person including wine pairings.
 
Paia
If Wailea is polished and visitor-focused, Paia is island-casual and a more diverse local favorite. Home to a number of vegan and vegan-friendly eateries and grocery shops (Maka by Mana Foods, The Flatbread Company, and Mana Foods), Paia is accessible to visitors on a budget and those wanting a rustic-luxe, up-country wellness retreat. The boutique Lumeria resort regularly hosts visiting superstar yoga and meditation instructors visiting from the mainland. The manicured grounds don’t feel overly so, with a calm swimming pool, meditation labyrinth, and a culinary garden growing more than 200 species of plants. Rooms are Hawaiian luxury with a side of crystal-chic with fine linens and Aveda products. Breakfast, daily yoga, meditation, and wellness classes are all included in the daily resort fee of $50, while holistic spa treatments are provided for an additional charge in cabanas overlooking the island and surrounding water. Vegan items are offered at each meal, but the set dinner menu at onside Wooden Crate is served at just one seating per evening. Budget accommodations in Paia are also easy to find, from the charming Aloha Surf Hostel that offers complimentary tours daily, to the romantic Paia Inn located in town (and within easy walking distance both to the beach and to the glorious Mana Foods grocery).
 
Hana
At the end of the infamous, 52-mile “Road to,” Hana (the island’s eastern-most destination) is the Maui of your Lost fantasies. The one hotel on this part of the island, plantation-style Travaasa Hana, has just 70 rooms and is pure far-flung luxury. Opened originally in 1946 as the Ka-‘uiki Inn, and just renovated in its newest incarnation as the Traavasa Hana, the property’s isolated beauty has attracted historic figures (from Charles Lindburgh to Ernest Hemingway) looking for solitude with a view. Current offerings begin at $400 per night, and include access to daily experiences including stand-up paddleboarding, guided meditation, and ukulele lessons. Vegan dining includes a variety of local fruits and fruit smoothies at breakfast, a tofu tempura for lunch, and Macadamia Nut Roasted Hana Root Vegetables and Lentil Eggplant Bolognese for dinner. For those interested in learning more about Hana’s native fruits, an ONO Organic Farms Fruit Tasting Tour includes a guided forest stroll through papaya, passion fruit, and others trees with nibbling encouraged along the way.

This Week: W+A mani/medi PARTY(!), Free Yoga at the Four Seasons, + Gluten-free at Nourish

Zetta_manicures.jpg

Here are the wellness happenings you need to know this week—from the Global Wellness Day celebration at Four Seasons to SF's first-ever SoulCycle warehouse sale.

Meditation & Manicures (June 8)

If a night of self-care is in order, Well + Away and Hotel Zetta are hosting an evening sound bath with a side of manicures on Thursday, June 8 (6-9 p.m). Meditation and Manicures will begin with a 30 minute sound bath led by Loriel Starr, followed by a nontoxic manicure, complete with Priti NYC vegan polish, by Burke Williams. Wine, cold-pressed juice from Project Juice, and adaptogenic tonics by REBBL are all included. // Hotel Zetta, 55 5th St. (SoMa), viceroyhotelsandresorts.com; Tickets are $25 at eventbrite.com.

SoulCycle Warehouse Sale (June 8-11)

SoulCycle is hosting its very first San Francisco warehouse sale this week at Westfield San Francisco Centre. You can get your hands on the brand's cardio-chic gear—including leggings, tanks, T-shirts, bras, sweatpants and accessories—at 40 percent off. There are even goods for men and kids. Prepare for madness. // Thurs. June 8 through Sun. June 11; 865 Market St. Level 3, (Mid-Market); for times and location details, go to soul-cycle.com/community.

Free Yoga @ Four Seasons (June 10)

In celebration of Global Wellness Day, the Four Seasons San Francisco is offering complimentary power yoga class on its 5th floor Veranda Terrace this Saturday. Led by local yogi Diedre DiFazio, the class is technically sold out, but 10 lucky 7x7 readers can still sign up (hurry!). The flow class will be held outdoors (weather permitting) and will incorporate strength training, core and cardio. All levels welcome, BYO mat. // 9am, Sat. June 10; 217 Stevenson St. (SoMa); register for free at eventbrite.com.

National Psoriasis Foundation Ride (June 10)

This Saturday, the National Psoriasis Foundation's annual Napa Valley bike ride will support research into cures for psoriasis and psoriasis arthritis. There are two routes, an 18-mile and a 60-mile, both starting and ending at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. After cruising over the finish line, a well-earned outdoor celebration will include bites, brews, wine and music. // 1435 N. Oak St. (Calistoga); $25 to register at teamnpf.org.

Living With Celiac or Gluten-intolerance @ Nourish Cafe (June 13)

San Francisco's new functional medicine center Parsley Health is joining forces with Nob Hill's new Nourish Cafe for an evening Q+A on the topic of navigating life with Celiac and other auto-immune diseases. Parsley's medical director Dr. Tiffany Lester and health coach Brittany Foreman will lead the discussion, and treats will be provided by Nourish, Nana Joe's and Bread SRSLY. // 7:30 to 9:30pm, Tues. June 13; 1030 Hyde St. (Nob Hill); register online at eventbrite.com.

 

SoulCycle taking over the Bay, Meditative HIIT and Dare to Bare hits SF

Soulcycle.jpg

Get ready to sweat.

Dare to Bare

On Sunday, May 20, Movemeant Foundation is hosting its annual Dare to Bare fundraiser at Marina Green, benefiting the organization's body-positive programs in public schools and scholarships for underprivileged girls. Break out your sports bra and sunblock to participate in an outdoor SoulCycle class, with gear provided by Sweaty Betty. // Dare To Bare, May 20 at Marina Green Triangle. (Fort Mason), movemeant.org

Care for a MNT?

SoMa's barre and Pilates studio for the fit Pinterest set (their HQ is across the street), Mint Studios has expanded its space and offerings and has now been reborn as MNTSTUDIO. As Hamptons-feeling as any SF studio can be, the new MNT offers all of the same classes but with upgraded amenities and a new kids' play space for parents who want a workout but don't want to pay for a babysitter. // 766 Brannan St. (SoMa), 

New in FiDi

Love Barry's Bootcamp but can't deal with the trek to the Marina or SoMa? Barry's just opened a 5,800-square-foot studio on Bush Street, less than two blocks from the Montgomery BART stop, with the largest locker rooms of any Barry's in the city and new 50-minute 'power breakfast' and 'power lunch' classes. An upgraded Fuel Bar and loungey lobby make this the most luxe Barry's in the Bay. // 333 Bush St. (FiDi), barrysbootcamp.com

A Mind/Body Sweat Fest

One 60-minute session on workout days is usually all we can fit into a good work/life balance, which means a daily struggle of whether or not to prioritize strength training, cardio, yoga or meditation. North Beach's new ZenFit studio combines all three practices into one 55-minute session of HIIT and yoga intervals, finishing with a 10-minute guided meditation—the ultimate mind/body solution for modern multitaskers. // 1020 Kearny St. (North Beach), zenfitsf.com

Attn: South Bayers

Those living or working in the South Bay can now clip into Cincinnati-based CycleBar's first Bay Area location, in Westgate in San Jose. Different from other cycling imports, rental shoes are complimentary, unlimited monthly memberships are offered, and all drop-ins and members are given a consultation on best classes for their personal goals. Monitors on each bike track how far you've come. // 5293 A Prospect Road. (San Jose), cyclebar.com

Pilates, Meet Yoga

Pilates ProWorks, known for its proprietary hard-core fitformer Pilates classes, is adding a yoga-inspired Tone and Flow class to its repertoire at studios throughout the Bay Area. A blend of yoga and mat Pilates, the class is meant to complement a reformer practice with more focused core-strengthening techniques and flexibility work. // Multiple locations, pilatesproworks.com

Cycling Around

Indoor cycling's gold standard and still-growing empire, SoulCycle, is getting real about a Bay Area takeover. Three new studios are opening this month in San Mateo (May 18), Berkeley (May 21) and Los Gatos (May 23). All will be staffed by a combination of fan-favorite instructors and local newbies who will push you to your sweatiest edge as you pedal like crazy to the sound of your new favorite jams. // Multiple locations, soul-cycle.com

 

 

The Best Sound Baths in the Bay Area

The Bay Area's Best Sound Baths

Sound Healing has become the wellness modality de la mode, ever since Gwyneth put it on the wellness map in 2016. Part meditation and part other-worldly nap, ‘sound baths’ (claw-footed porcelain and water are not part of the equation) are sound meditation sessions during which students sit or lay (or sometimes move!) with eyes closed and bathe in healing sounds and vibrations produced by crystal bowls, tuning forks and and rainforest sticks. Devotees claim its benefits include easing everything from chronic pain and digestive issues to stress and depression. If aural healing sounds like just the ticket you need to quiet that monkey mind, we’ve rounded up the five best sound healing practitioners in the Bay Area, from Baker Beach to Emeryville.

Monthly Full Moon Ceremony with Abigail Tyler

Abigail Tyler throws a multi-sensory monthly celebration to welcome the new moon and set new intentions for the upcoming month. Evenings includes a discussion of the new moon and its astrological implications, breathwork, chanting and sound healing using chimes, rattles, a Chilean Cactus Rain Stick and a variety of singing bowls. A final call and response vocal release exercise takes sound healing to the next level to let go of any lingering anxiety or stress. // 548 Fillmore St. (San Francisco) thecentersf.com/

Square One - Third Friday Sound Bath

Missy Felsenstein is Square One’s resident sound healing expert who hosts a monthly sound experience at the El Cerrito location. Paiste gongs and quartz singing bowls are played throughout an hour-long ‘sound savasana’ meant to relieve tension in the body and promote deep rest. Missy also leads weekly combo yoga and sound bath classes around the East Bay, with themes ranging from restorative to mindful movement. // 9951 San Pablo Ave (El Cerrito)

Sound Meditation SF

A local sound healing outfit that follows the vibrational-healing philosophy of Nada Yoga, Sound Meditation SF hosts monthly sound bath at gorgeous Grace Cathedral and rotating experiences at venues like the Conservatory of Flowers using Tibetan. Students lay in Savasana pose while the instructor uses gongs, crystal singing bowls, shamanic drums and chimes to create healing vibrations. // Rotating (San Francisco) soundmeditationsf.com/

Outdoor Yoga SF

A meditative sound experience from those new to the practice or who looking for a little movement, Outdoor Yoga SF is a ‘silent disco yoga’ during which yogis listen to healing tunes via headphones throughout beautiful outdoor spaces around the Bay Area, including Baker Beach and Chrissy Field. // Rotating (San Francisco and East Bay) outdooryogasf.com/

Resonate- Sound Heals

If you’re looking to experience sound healing with a rotating roster of SF’s most experienced ‘sonic practitioners’, Halcyon’s new Thursday night sound experience might be your new happy hour. One-hour sessions range from pure sound baths to yoga and sound, depending on the specialty of the evening’s instructor. Classes are currently running through May, and possibly into summer. // 314 11th St. (San Francisco) halcyon-sf.com

This story originally ran in 7x7. Check out more of our local SF stories for 7x7 here!


 

Trying Cryotherapy for the First Time

Last week, we lost our Cryotherapy Vcard. At the only full-body cryochamber in North America (not even our eyeballs were spared). Here’s how it went:

As part of a BC adventure, I stayed at the spa-centric Sparkling Hill Resort. About 45 minutes north of Kelowna in Vernon, even the non-cryochamber temp at the resort is approximately one million times colder than the W+A HQ in San Francisco. The inside of the main cold chamber is actually the coldest place on earth, at -190 Fahrenheit. Of my 24 hours on-property, this was my favorite/strangest/most challenging wellness experience.

If you’ve never tried cryo, it’s cold. Colder than you think. If you are used to cold winters (in Antarctica), maybe it won’t be as much of a shock to the system, but for me it was such a swing from anything I’m used to that it was almost out of body. My limbs lost feeling in about 15 seconds, I became a little disoriented around the 1.5 minute mark, and was ready to jump out around 2 minutes. The whole process takes three minutes and the only reason I remained in for the final minute was because my cryo spirit guide and Sparkling Hill staffer Jeanette (who does the treatment twice a day with no headband or double bagged gloves - BALLER) was so nonplussed about the whole and I didn’t want her thinking this Californian wellness ‘expert’ couldn’t handle the chill.

After the three minutes were up and I thawed out, I felt amazing. Alive, vibrant, not cold, generally stoked. My defrosting high was real. The most interesting part of the process, for me, was what happened to a new and pesky lower back pain that I developed after a multi-week SoulCycle binge. Bike settings must not have been right. The day after cryo, it felt worse - magnified and tweaky at every twist and stair. The day after that, though, it disappeared. In every workout since then, from lifting to barre to dance cardio) I haven’t noticed it AT ALL. Weird, possibly coincidence, but also totally possibly due to cryotherapy.

How it all works:

According to Sparkling Hill, ‘the blood vessels build a protection zone to maintain core body temperature. The effect is that during and after the cold treatment the nervous and circulatory systems are given a boost. The chamber is dry cold which makes it less uncomfortable than the equivalent in Antarctica -  which never gets this cold. In the fully-monitored chamber wearing light clothing, socks and shoes, a protective head band, face mask and gloves, the skin temperature drops to 5°C.’ The first treatment is $45, and a 10-pack is $300 CAD.

Its benefits are not exactly proven but people from professional athletes to crossfitters and those looking to keep deeper wrinkles at bay espouse its benefits. All I know is that my back is feeling great and I normally start layering parkas at sub 50F, so it’s a big win for me!

Irish Road Tripping: Seaweed Baths, Rural Perfumeries and Plant-Based Castle Dinners

A drive across the Emerald Isle, shacking up at off-the-beaten-path castle resorts and dining at sweet vegan eateries in between spa appointments, is now one of our all-time favorite glam-casual adventures. Starting and ending in Dublin, with at least one pint of Guinness (it’s going vegan in 2017!) and a lot of drop-in yoga along the way, we winded through Sligo, Donegal and Galway on a wellness-themed trek.

Getting there

Ireland’s Aer Lingus started three new non-stop flights from the US in 2016: from Los Angeles, Hartford and Newark. It’s also launching a direct flight from Miami later in 2017. When returning home, a handy pre-clearance in Dublin and Shannon airports mean no customs lines at your home airport when you’re schlepping Duty Free goodies while sleepwalking.

Dublin

Set up camp at historic, glamorous Shelbourne or boutique and charming Brooks Hotel for centrally located digs. The Shelbourne is steps from Stephen’s Green park and massive (pedestrian-only) shopping thoroughfare Grafton Street, as well as vegan-friendly wine bar Peploe’s. Brooks is located on indie shop-lined Drury Street, as well as a five minute walk from vegetarian Cornucopia restaurant and 15 minutes from the Guinness Storehouse.

And speaking of the Storehouse, The Guinness Storehouse tour may have been around for ages, but is still wildly popular with visitors and a fair amount of locals. A post-tour pint at the top of the Gravity Bar with 360 degree views of the city below is the ultimate touristy indulgence.

Vegan dining in Dublin is easy peasy: Cornucopia is cute for casual lunch for dine-in or to go before hitting the road. If a slightly dressier three-course dinner is more your speed, Fallon & Byrne grocery has an upstairs bistro that serves a vegan menu (in addition to non-veg version) with items including a celeriac and apple salad and roasted cauliflower. After dinner, a night with the famed Literary Bar Crawl is a necessity. Over the course of three hours (and up to four Guinnesses if you have on at each stop) you can get what feels like an entire semester’s worth of Dublin history performed, often in first-person and from the perspective of historic figures like Oscar Wilde, by two locals who live and breathe Irish history.

Donegal

After a day or two of city living, hit the road three hours north to country castle Lough Eske (pronounced Lock Esk) for grounds and interiors so stunning you best swap out your American athleisure for something more befitting a 17th century castle. Lough Eske does a pan-European tasting menu with risotto, falafel and seasonal salads in their Cedar’s Grill restaurant, but the real star are the forest estate’s 43 acres of manicured gardens, walking paths and fireside nooks.

Sligo

A visit to Voya’s seaside spa for seaweed-based treatments is a necessary Irish wellness experience. The location alone, on the Atlantic coast and just over an hour from Lough Eske, is ridiculously romantic - stunning on a sunny day and so brooding and lush on a more likely rainy day.

Voya uses a number of different seaweeds, all hand-harvested, throughout their various spa treatments. The signature is their seaweed bath, during which you hop into a steamy claw-footed tub filled with local seaweeds that fill the bath with the weeds’ gel-like goo. Amazing for the skin, detoxifying and so relaxing, the seaweed baths leave you feeling as jelly-like the goo itself. More relaxed than is probably safe, stumble about 200 yards to the Drafthouse Gastro Pub, where they offer a number of vegan options for dinner and dessert that change each evening. On the way out of town, hitting the health-focused vegan and gluten-free eatery Sweet Beat Cafe in the center of Sligo town makes for a quick, nutrient-rich breakfast. This eatery has won national awards for its raw and cooked cuisine, so be sure to stock up a vegan version of the Full Irish (a traditional breakfast often featuring bacon, eggs, and sausage), bean and avocado spelt toasts.

Galway

Two hours south of Sligo, Galway is one of Ireland’s older cities and a key stop for some of the country’s coziest pubs. The best meal of our trip was here, at the non-vegan Kai restaurant. Don’t let the regular menu fool you - the vegan tasting menu is out.of.this.world. Just give them a 24 hour heads up to have it ready. It is way too much food, and yet we finished every bite. Everything is local and perfectly prepared and so creative.

Dromoland Castle

Dromoland is about an hour’s drive south, with a very (very) worthy pitstop being the Burren perfumery and tea shop. The Burren is a crazy section of Ireland that we can’t even begin to describe other than that it feels like you’re on the moon and we hope you’ve gotten used to driving on the other side of the road, because the unpaved ones leading here are not for novices.

Once you arrive, Dromoland Castle is even Castle-ier than Lough Eske. If Lough Eske is your Irish country castle escape for hiking, dressing up and late night drinks by the fire, Dromoland is your ‘which century am I in and I can’t believe this is a real place’ labyrinthine castle for old-school styled fine dining, great spa treatments and a maybe some late night ‘The Crown’ binge-watching with Guinness delivered in-room. Rooms vary greatly, and the corner suites that look out to the grounds on two sides are the ones to nab.

 

50 Shades of Self-Care this February

StRegiscoffee.jpg

Show yourself for the rest of this month. 

February is the month of #selfcare. And while we may have been thinking about our S.O. and the perfect VDay gift at the beginning of this month, now is the time to invest a bit more time in ourselves.

Turning attention inward and 'spending' time and energy on YOU rather than others can seem decadent and a little naughty (even thought it's absolutely necessary). That’s why we've created a ‘50 Shades’ themed list of indulgent self-love ideas for our friends at employee wellness perks company HealthKick, and are sharing with you here. So start reading and give yourself the love you deserve the rest of this month!

  1. Get your vitamin game in order - try Care/of’s personalized vitamin packs for chicly packaged and super clean vitamins and supplements

  2. Drink more water. Commit to drinking your weight in ounces of water each day.

  3. Get a massage. San Francisco's Remede Spa in the St Regis offers a deep tissue and hot stone therapy massage that will melt tight muscles. Or try an on-demand massage service like Zeel for a 60-minute Swedish session without stepping foot outside your home.

  4. Eat more greens. Have a big salad at least once per day, the rest of the month, and it will become a habit.

  5. Eat those greens even when you’re rushing around or on the road. ALOHA makes yummy individually packed greens powders that can be added to water no matter how far you are from the nearest salad bar.

  6. Turn up the heat on your yoga practice. Especially when it’s chilly outside, a hot yoga class can be a great way to dial up your cardio and flexibility. Try Core Power anywhere, Ritual in SF, Hot8 in LA for starters.

  7. Prepare a decadent dinner for one. Completely completely from vegetables. If you need a little inspiration (or fully prepared foods delivered to your door), check out Hungryroot’s carrot noodles with tangy sriracha peanut and almond chickpea cookie dough.

  8. Get yourself the gift of a morning workout. If you need suggestions, check out our city guides.

  9. That morning workout can even be a twenty minute walk to grab a morning tea or coffee and back. While you’re at it, tune into a Headspace guided meditation to get your zen on.  

  10. And don’t forget about a post-workout morning smoothie. Try out different smoothie combinations to discover new favorite flavors. For some expert help, try Greenblender’s smoothie subscription.

  11. Switch out your morning coffee for an antioxidant-packed matcha latte or an adaptogen-based latte like turmeric.

  12. Explore a new indoor workout, even if you normally swear by sweating in the great (urban) outdoors.

  13. Replace your nightly glass of wine for a glass of kombucha once or twice per week. We heart Health-Ade or Revive.

  14. Have a date night with coconut oil - cover your body, face and hair in the good stuff and then make a coconut-inspired dinner for one like a coconut curry with zoodles.

  15. Splurge on a trend-setting fitness classes you’ve been wanting to take.

  16. Treat your feet to a massage dedicated entirely to them, sometimes we forget how much work they do.

  17. But your hands could probably use some love, too, so take them out for a nice mani, too.

  18. Along with that mani, get a Friday morning blowout, without the stress of getting to the salon, by using an on-demand beauty booking app like PRIV or BeGlammed.

  19. Give your punam a facial’s facial with laser combo treatments and microcurrent therapy at spas like SkinSpa New York.

  20. If you’ve never tried it before, give wellness coaching a go to develop a positive personal narrative.

  21. Spice it up in the kitchen. Learn a new trick or two with the help of a gourmet meal kit service like Purple Carrot or Blue Apron.

  22. While you’re at it, clean up your spice drawer to make sure all is still fresh and that you have plenty of good-for-you herbs on hand.

  23. And give your fridge the same treatment - remove anything that won’t help on your wellness path and replace it with healthier versions that inspire you.

  24. Think about your beauty from the inside out by trying skin and hair supporting supplements, like those included in the new beauty pack by WellPath.

  25. Send yourself flowers. Or just grab a bouquet on the way into Trader Joe’s.

  26. Workout in your underwear, in the comfort of your own home, using a streaming fitness service like Cody App, Fit Plan or Grokker.com. Bye, inhibitions.

  27. Pack yourself healthy lunches using your favorites healthy flavors, or in a pinch order up from healthy lunch delivery services like Good Meal.

  28. Get a fitness form tune up from a personal trainer. Find one you love at your gym, or ditch the membership fees and connect with one who aligns with your goals at findyourtrainer.com.

  29. Organize your fitness apparel drawer, out with the old and everything else in its place.

  30. And treat yourself to a new piece of gear, you deserve it.

  31. Have a dance party for one in your living room.

  32. Think about your favorite cocktail, then Google how to make it lower in sugar and better for you.

  33. Make meditation a priority. The Path in New York and Unplug in Los Angeles offer great classes for beginners and those who want to deepen an existing practice.

  34. If you’re not in a meditation savvy city, explore the world of digital mindfulness via the many apps out there. Find one you love and commit to meditating each morning for at least five minutes for one week.

  35. Scrub that winter skin. DIY a sugar scrub at home, or take yourself out to a Korean spa for a thorough exfoliation.

  36. After, draw a bath and luxuriate in your favorite essential oils.

  37. Hit the stairs. They are awesome for your tush, cardio system and getting some fresh air. Bonus: they’re free.

  38. Clear your voicemail queue.

  39. If you’re already a spin pro, take your resistance to the next level with an added challenge like the new Pelo in SF or underwater cycling at Aqua in New York.

  40. Reinvigorate your oral hygiene routine. Companies like Tulip are revolutionizing oral health with cutting edge toothpastes and brushes.

  41. Unsubscribe from any email newsletters that no longer serve you.

  42. While you’re online, book yourself a health-focused getaway to somewhere you’ve never been. For trip planning ideas, check out Escape to Shape.

  43. Unplug once per week, for at least an hour. No phone, computer, television.

  44. Journal, just the good stuff. Write down achievements, however small, compliments you may have heard throughout the day and challenges you’ve overcome.

  45. Stretch! Develop a stretching practice at home, at your desk, at the gym. Cody App has a great stretching program with Ashley Galvin.

  46. Say ‘no’ to obligations that won’t inspire or help you on your journey. Your time is valuable.

  47. Same goes for social media accounts you currently follow. Remember, your time is valuable.

  48. Create a sanctuary at home for just you. You can use comfy pillows, artwork from a favorite trip, textures that calm.

  49. Develop a daily tea ritual - have an energizing cup to start the day or a soothing one made of herbs to wind down.

  50. Take yourself out to a movie. 50 Shades or other.