"May the force be with you!" ~ Yoda
Replenish Wellness Retreat
Awaken your inner Celebrity, Replenish, a Vacation with Destination YOU
This is a vacation with destination you, embark on a journey releasing you from the detriments of stress into the realm of wellness. These days even Vacations can turn you into a fully stressed out human being, think about it, standing in long lines at the airport, waiting for taxis, long check-in lines at the hotels, can stress you out more than getting the desired stress relief.
The Replenish Retreat focuses on the concept, Body, Mind and Spirit. The program is as exciting as relaxing and incorporates: romantic beach walks, laughter yoga, massages, Sunset Ceremonies, Creative Energy Play-shops, an organic gourmet detoxification diet (and yes it’s super delicious!) and lots of love, laughter and friendship. You will check out refreshed, rejuvenated, relaxed and happy with an entire outlook to a new positive life. You are in for an exclusive week of total transformation
For me the program already worked in only two days. I found myself on a Friday evening venturing off to a new Maja and I checked in at the Seven4One Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel located at the shores of beautiful Laguna Beach. As a welcome I received a super soothing and relaxing massage. The idea of the program is to get you started in a relaxed state of mind. During the entire retreat it’s advised to stay away from your cell phone, laptops and TV’s. The funny thing is that at first this seems impossible and by the end you could even live without those silly gadgets your entire life. My dinner consisted of super delicious healthy gourmet food, portions are small and you start learning how to appreciate the little delicious things in life. The evening was filled with lots of laughter and music, when was the last time I played a tambourine? The following morning I was already up at 6 AM and couldn’t wait for our beach walk. Walking along the beautiful beach of Laguna Beach, taking in the beauty of Laguna Beach in the early morning and spotting some dolphins, I started thinking, when was the last time I got up this early on a Saturday Morning? Why don’t I try to start my days differently than before? The highlight of the morning was a special “Laughter Yoga” Session where I found myself mimicking a Penguin and yelping like a young puppy, you are laughing? GREAT, you just have released yourself of more stress than any stress-release class might teach you.
Replenish the senses with an all-inclusive wellness retreat
For nearly a decade, Angela Needham and Deanna Duffek have been working together to find a way to create a better wellness retreat. Their culmination of their efforts, Replenish, launched this past May in Laguna Beach.
“Deanna and I traveled a lot for work, and we asked each other, ‘what would we be doing if we could be doing anything?’” said Needham. “Well, this is it.”
Both women have experienced a number of similar programs over the years, so they know what works and what left something to be desired. They took the best of their experiences and combined them, then elevated the whole idea up a notch by infusing a modern luxury vibe.
Their creation is a fresh concept in the world of detoxifying and wellness escapes. Whether participants are seeking a small adjustment to their lifestyle, or a creative awakening or a complete self-healing, Replenish provides a “spirit betterment” program in a relaxed retreat format.
"This is not about achieving perfection," said Needham. "It’s about progress. Things don’t change unless we change."
In May, Replenish welcomed its inaugural group of 25 attendees and facilitators to the new eco-friendly Seven4One Hotel in Laguna Beach, Calif.
The general consensus among participants seemed to be overwhelmingly positive. Many guests said Replenish was the best retreat that they had experienced to date.
One of the retreat’s biggest successes was attributed to its gourmet menu designed by experts, including a nutrition specialist and an organic food director, and prepared by Florida-based chef, Eric Tochterman, who everyone affectionately referred to as “Chef E.”
As someone who is not a vegetarian, the idea of seven days on a restricted diet of vegetables and fruits, largely raw, including two days of juicing, made me a bit nervous at first. But it had been a while since I had unplugged from my busy life, which often skews to unhealthy eating habits, so I knew that a week like this could only be good news for my body — especially since multiple massages were also on the slate.
Breakfast was a simple dish of local organic berries, a watermelon mint salad or banana smoothie — a sweet treat after 45-minutes of endorphin-enhancing laughter yoga.
This fairly new sect of Yoga features universal chants of “ho-ho, ha-ha-ha” (while clapping) and “very good, very good, yay” (while clapping, then raising arms above the head). Try doing that without laughing or smiling. The benefits of laughter yoga include stress reduction, increased serotonin levels, enhanced immune system, improved respiratory and cardiovascular and a boost in confidence. Generating the natural chemistry of happiness is not a bad way to start the day.
Lunches and dinners consisted of incredible combinations of naturally intoxicating flavors. From dishes such as fennel salad and vegetable stir fry to butternut squash soup or quinoa stuffed red pepper with asparagus salad, I did not feel like a deprived meat eater. Instead, I felt satisfied and invigorated.
The two days of juicing were a bit intense, but it was worth it. The round-the-clock wheatgrass bar was also an added bonus. After three days at Replenish, I was definitely feeling leaner and more energized. I also won’t forget the raw banana and date ice cream.
A new adventure for the mind, body and spirit was unveiled each day of the retreat.
Memorable experiences included a wellness cruise onboard the Curlew. Our group shouted “heave-ho” as we helped the sailors hoist the sails of the historic 82-foot schooner during the cruise from Dana Point, Calif. Integrative medicine specialist and author, Dr. Edward A. Taub, spoke about tools for managing stress in our lives. An impromptu dolphin swim also came about when Needham and another guest jumped into the water after a dolphin pod visited our morning laughter yoga session.
The daily schedule included walks on the beach, guided meditations, light stretching and yoga. There were also “playshops” during which we journaled, wrote poetry and drew our creative visualizations. Experts were also on hand to teach us about Eastern and Western nutritional philosophy and alternative medicine. A renowned relationship counselor addressed the group about healthy self-esteem. My personal favorite was a live acoustic musical performance by Steven Ybarra during which we sang along and played drums, tambourines, maracas and even a cow bell.
It wasn’t just the fun adventures and informative classes that made this experience so worthwhile, however. It was the beautiful sense of community that Needham and Duffek created during the retreat. Whether it was a couple needing a week to recharge from the demands of raising children to a woman recovering from cancer or a writer who was tired of the daily grind, we got to be kids again for a week.
We had a team of highly conscious professionals who are at the top of their fields guiding us as we explored ourselves. We played, we relaxed, we shared, we supported each other, we laughed and, yes, some of us even cried. Detoxifying is such a cleansing experience, and it seemed that we all left Replenish — albeit reluctantly — as renewed human beings, ready to face the world with a new and inspired outlook on life.
By: Heather Burgett September 30, 2011
The Perfect Time Out in Laguna Beach
In need of a seven-day break after spring cleaning and before summer madness? Luckily, Replenish has come just in time. An all-inclusive wellness and creative energy retreat designed to open your mind, body and spirit, Hotel Seven4One in Laguna Beach hosts an event starting this Sunday that combines luxurious lodging with nutritious organic meals, juicing bars, numerous classes and a Voyage to Wellness aboard the Curlew with Dr. Edward Taub.
Each day features a mind-body-spirit adventure, whether it’s a Voyage to Wellness aboard the Curlew with Dr. Edward Taub delivering an inspiring mini-lecture based on his best-selling book, Stress Management in Today's World,” or integrative nutrition lectures by Dr. Kaisa Lopes. Other daily options include daily personalized massage treatments, beach walks, sound healing therapy sessions, daily meditation and more. Dates for the event are May 1 to 7.
In the era of work hard, play harder — it’s just as important to take a break every once in a while, especially if paradise awaits so close by.
Written by: Katie Pegler