Create Your Own Retreat // Ace Hotel Palm Springs
A few weeks ago I found myself needing some serious R&R. I was craving some relaxing alone time away from home. Destination retreats, as well as a lot of the local retreats I found were sadly out of the question for me; they were either out of my budget, too difficult to coordinate, and/or way too long in length; that’s when I got the idea.. why not create my own retreat?
By creating my own retreat I could do exactly what I wanted to do, for however long, wherever I wanted… YAY! The few major things on my list of requirements: must be relaxing, have a pool, lots of sun, yoga, a place for me to workout, close to nature, I wanted to be able to have Penny (my dog) with me, and I really didn’t want to travel too far because I was limited on time. I decided Palm Sprigs would be perfect and I immediately thought of the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.. it has the perfect vibe, amazing weather, a great pool, is dog friendly, close to hiking trails, 2 hours from Los Angeles AND they celebrate the New and Full Moon cycles… PERFECT!
I packed up my car with all of my retreat necessities [see below for my list of must haves!] as well as a 2 day juice cleanse from Juice Served Here and I hit the road solo. By the way, JSH is amazing and packed my juices and raw bars in a cold bag with an ice pack inside and they were still perfectly cold after my 2 hour drive through the desert! (thank you!!!)
I arrived in the late afternoon on the day of the March New Moon, with Penny in tow. I got all checked in and set off to explore before the New Moon Sound Bath that was later in the evening. (The Ace Hotel Palm Springs holds these New Moon Sound Baths EVERY MONTH on the New Moon! Free and open to anyone and everyone! They also celebrate the Full Moon every month as well! Check out their website for more info!) I have visited the Ace P.S. before (a few times actually), but never alone. It felt different being there on my own, and this time I went with a purpose: I went to retreat from my hectic life and reconnect with me.
I walked around with Penny for an hour or so, with no agenda, no cell phone buzzing, no mindless chatter. It was almost meditative; listening to the soft music the Ace has playing throughout the hotel grounds, birds chirping, taking time to notice my surroundings, mindfully taking each breath, each step. I stopped by the Feel Good Spa to get a custom massage to start out my retreat, and what a treat it was. They just remodeled their spa and it was so simple, clean and lovely. My therapist was awesome! (Thank you Rebecca!!) She used lavender essential oils and hot towels, I was in HEAVEN! I have gotten my fair share of massages in the past but my therapist did something different in this massage that was particularly awesome; before she worked on my neck she placed a rolled up hot towel under my neck and it felt so GOOD! The 60 minute massage I had was just what I needed to start out my trip.. relaxing, restful and peaceful.
After my massage I had about an hour to kill before the sound bath and I was feeling a little hungry (as per usual lol) Since I decided to start my juice cleanse on Tuesday, I stopped by The King’s Highway Cafe, the restaurant they have there on the hotel grounds, and tried out their Vegan Karma Burger which was AMAZING, I opted out of the option for french fries (which was sooooooo hard because I love fries) and I got the market greens salad on the side, as well as the beet salad (I ordered mine without cheese) .. YUM! I was not only happy I ordered it with the salad because it was in line with my fitness goals, but it was actually really good!
As the sun began to set, it was time for me to head over to the Ace Club House, which overlooks the main pool, for the New Moon Chakra Balancing and Healing Sound Bath. I had been to one sound bath before and found it verrrrry relaxing so I expected this one to be the same. Joshua Pena, of Transform From Within Yoga would be guiding the sound bath. As everyone settled in, he asked us to set an intention and find a comfortable space on our yoga mats. As I thought about what my intentions were for this sound bath, and for the whole retreat actually, a few words came to mind: strength, balance, healing, intuition. I tried to narrow it down to one, but one didn’t seem more important than the others, so I went with it. I laid in savasana, with my palms facing up, ready and open to receive, expecting to relax. Joshua performed the sound bath with the most beautiful pure quartz crystal sound bowls, which when played, give off a specific vibrational frequency that resonates with energy points within the physical and astral body. The music which is played helps to restore, balance, cleanse, and harmonize the energetic layers all individuals possess. As Joshua began to play I tried to focus on my breath and let go. At certain points during the sound bath I saw the color white (in the audio clip below Joshua explains that the color white is the energy of the universe, the energy of purity, and of cleansing) my palms and fingers twitched, my root chakra was triggered, my head felt pressure and half way through I felt inclined to move my hands, placing one hand palm down on my belly, and the other over my heart. I honestly did not feel relaxed, I actually felt pretty uncomfortable during this sound bath VS the first one I had been to; I thought I was doing something wrong! I remember laying there, trying so hard to redirect my attention to my breath and intentions, yet getting so distracted by the seemingly unwarranted discomfort and movements in my body; Maybe something I ate before was causing me to fidget? It’s because I’m drinking coffee again, thats what it is. Or maybe I wasn’t focused enough? Did I set the wrong intention? I knew I should’ve picked one intention.. great I messed this up. Why can I not lay still right now?? I am a yogi! I know how to redirect my focus and get in the zone! My mind was all over the place. My ego speaking so loudly, judging every twitch and movement. I couldn’t understand why I felt so fidgety, why was this so different from the last one I had been to? Thankfully at the end, Joshua opened up the floor for discussion and I found out why.. (short answer: he performed it correctly, I was completely receptive and IT ACTUALLY WORKED.) While I’d love to be able to put his answer into words, I knew I may not be able to- so I recorded him (with his permission) explaining what was happening to me during the sound bath! Click below to listen, it’s fascinating ! (Also, sorry for the excess background noise! The next group was coming in!)
After the sound bath I went back to my room to reflect, I did some yoga, and set some intentions for the coming month (The New Moon is a very powerful time to do this)
PS: BIG thank you to Joshua Pena for the incredible sound bath (I can’t wait to come back for another one and flow with you at your yoga studio! You are amazing!)
Day 2 began at 7AM with some yoga, herbal tea, the first green juice of my Juice Served Here cleanse and a walk with Miss Penny. Then, I was off to find the gym to get my workout in (Week 5 of BBG! Whooohooo!!!) After my workout, I headed to the pool with a new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear ( I finished it during my trip!) and that was about all I did. So nice.. just what I needed. Occasionally random waves of guilt would come over me- I felt guilty for doing a whole lotta nothin’ but I quickly reminded myself I WAS doing something.. I was taking care of ME, resting, and recharging.
Shay’s Retreat Must Haves:
1. Juice cleanse from Juice Served Here I made mine “cushy” because I was active during the 2 days of cleansing and felt like I needed the extra raw bars and tea! (their raw bars are AMAZING btw!!!)
2. A bikini (or 2 😉 ) I got mine from Meow Bikini’s, I am obsessed with this brand they have the cutest crochet bikinis!! They both held up surprisingly perfect for swimming in the pool!
3. A good book: I brought a few but ended up reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (loved it!!)
4. Palo santo and sage: perfect for cleansing and meditation
5. Mala beads: I brought my Mala Collective malas to use during my meditations because I am obsessed with them and they are beautiful
6. Crystals: powerful to use during meditation and intention setting
7. CocoKind: the rose water face spray and matcha stick were lifesavers while in the desert
8. Yoga mat: duh 😉
9. Journal: I love journaling, and I made sure to bering it with me on my retreat to I could write down any discoveries or ideas I had while there
10. Comfy Pants: I brought my Bohemian Island harem pants (they are from Thailand!!!!) and I really didn’t take them off except for my workout and when I went to the pool lol they are so pretty and comfortable!
On my last morning I decided to get up before sunrise at 5:30AM, grab my mat, and head out to the deck by the clubhouse that overlooked the pool. I flowed with the sunrise and it was magical. Moving to my breath as the sun slowly peaked out from behind the mountains, the warm breeze, the complete silence; all of it was so calming. At the end of my practice as I sat in half lotus, with my hands in prayer at my heart, I had a moment. You know those moments where something clicks inside you. I realized in that moment that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now in my life. That I have everything I need. That I am enough, that I am ok, and that I am strong enough to get through whatever life throws my way. I reflected on my life journey thus far; the good, the bad and the ugly, and this wave of complete gratitude filled me… my heart felt so full, I was thankful for all of it. For the first time in my life I was grateful to be me.
And it was in that moment that I knew I got exactly what I came here for; peace, inspiration, and a rekindled connection to my inner self.
You can click here to watch my sunrise yoga flow YouTube video 🙂
My little trip was so nice that I am absolutely going to make it a regular thing. You can’t pour from an empty cup: taking time to be alone with ourselves and our thoughts, pausing to reflect and recharge is VITAL for us to be successful and happy. So, the next time you are feeling a little burnt out and need to get away for some soul searching: consider creating your own retreat. You don’t have to travel super far, or sign up for an official retreat that is expensive, you can create your very own retreat… I like to call it a custom retreat! Guided by your intuition and perfectly planned to fit your needs.