Civana, my first wellness resort experience

It has always been a dream of mine to experience some sort of wellness retreat.  It is hard to believe that after being a yoga teacher for eight years and such a wellness enthusiast that it has taken me this long to do it.  I was doing some searching online for wellness resorts in Arizona and I came across Civana.  I was immediately drawn to the serene desert landscape and the welcoming vibe it portrayed.  I looked over their website and saw that they were a small desert sanctuary tucked away just outside of Scottsdale in Carefree Arizona.  They offer a huge selection of daily fitness/wellness classes that range from yoga to circuit training to finding your spirit animal.  They have an incredible restaurant with tons of dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian options and an absolutely stunning spa.  Also, the rooms are spacious and the pool layout is just about perfect.  With a very busy upcoming schedule, I decided it would be the perfect time to get away for my first wellness centered trip.  I even got Derek to join me after promising him a game of golf and showing him that it wasn’t going to be all kale and green juices.

When I arrived Thursday evening I was immediately taken in by the desert landscape.  The way the cacti looked against the setting sun was breathtaking.  I noticed the quiet and stillness and instantly felt grounded.  I dropped off my bags in the room, took a stroll around to get my bearings, and then sat outside for a lovely dinner.  I ordered a kale salad with grilled salmon.  The salmon was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside yet melt in your mouth on the inside.  I enjoyed my meal while watching the sky turn a magnificent pink color and I knew right away the next three days were going to be perfect.  Derek arrived later that evening, ready for a calm and relaxing weekend.   

Friday morning, I woke up and hit the gym.  They have a cardio room, a room for strength training, and also a room focused on flexibility.  After a nice warm up incline walk on the treadmill, I went to a circuit training class.  The instructor for the class was super cute and friendly but also kicked our butts.  We did 90 seconds on, 30 seconds off circuits and worked our entire bodies.  After class I grabbed an iced latte and a delicious smoothie from their little juice bar café.  Derek and I took a walk together around the property and then decided to hang by the pool before our afternoon spa appointments.  They have lounge chairs surrounding the pool and huge umbrellas if you are feeling the shade, which is usually where I gravitate towards.  We had lunch where Derek had a bomb wrap with sweet potato fries, which I eagerly stole, and I had one of the best salads made up of kale, fresh berries, almonds, and grilled chicken.  I can’t forget to mention my new favorite cocktail, fresh carrot and lime juice with spirulina and tequila.  It sounds odd but it was very refreshing. 

The second part of our day was my favorite, the spa.  The spa offers a huge variety of services including massages, facials, reiki, and anything magical you can think of.  We went to our appointment about an hour early to take advantage of all the spa amenities.  They have their own pool which you can hang out by before or after your treatment.  The locker rooms are gorgeous, with light wood and healing crystals all around.  We spent some time in the hot/cold tubs, where we went from the hot tub into basically an ice-cold tub which felt extremely uncomfortable but also amazing at the same time.  Then we spent some time in the sauna and the eucalyptus steam rooms before our treatment time.  Derek had a deep muscle release massage which he absolutely loved and my spa treatment was something I have never had before.

I booked a sensory immersion therapy session which was 100 minutes of total bliss.  I started off soaking in a sea salt and mineral hot bath for about 25 minutes to really heat up my body.  After this I was wrapped in a really cold seaweed sheet and a few more wrap layers for another 25 minutes.  During this time as my body was detoxifying, heating up the wrap until it was basically steaming and I had a crystal on my third eye, a cool lavender towel over my eyes and a guided meditation playing in my ears.  At first I felt a little claustrophobic being wrapped up so tightly but this feeling quickly faded away and I sank into a deep relaxation.  The final part of the treatment was an incredible 50-minute facial with algae and seaweed based products that left me feeling so refreshed and glowing.  We both left our treatments feeling so relaxed and very zen, it was perfection.

That night we had a fabulous dinner at the resort restaurant, Terra.  I started off with roasted beets and followed up with an entrée of steak which was cooked to absolute perfection with a side of wilted spinach and roasted carrots.  Derek had Thai coconut mussels to start and a rack of lamb with a white bean salad. To end the evening, we had coconut sorbet with a hard chocolate shell and an assortment of truffles, both heaven in our mouths. We were both incredibly impressed with the presentation and taste of all of our food.  It was genuinely one of my favorite dining experiences.  The beautiful sun setting over mountains and cacti doesn’t hurt either.

Saturday morning, we got up early, played a game of golf, well I tried to play golf, I am still working on those skills.  We came back to the resort after for lunch and pool side lounging.  That afternoon I took a gentle yoga class.  Usually gentle isn’t my thing but I was so happy I did it.  It felt so nice to actually slow down, stretch deeply and give my body those slow intentional moves.  It actually showed me that I need to implement much more of that into my life.

Overall, the three-day wellness resort mini retreat exceeded all of my expectations.  Just their selection of classes alone makes Civana an incredible retreat and then you add all of the other parts of it and it becomes an actual desert oasis of wellness paradise.  I am so happy that I finally decided to give myself that level of self-care.  I left feeling way more peaceful, grounded, and appreciative.  It is truly amazing what some quality self-care time can do for the mind, body, and soul.  I am 100% going back and may even make it a yearly tradition or hold my own yoga retreats there in the future.  Who wants to join me?!