path to wellness

by Jessa Cast

Experiential retreats in the Southwest that nurture body, mind and spirit

With its vast skies, dry air, painterly vistas, and never-ending sunshine, the Southwest has long been known as a place of beauty, serenity, and healing. It’s no wonder Southwestern wellness retreats draw people from all over the world. Here are a few to enjoy solo, with friends, or on a corporate adventure based around hands-on experiences, spiritual development, or health and beauty treatments.


Sunrise Springs—An Ojo Spa Resort
Enjoy a soak at Sunrise Springs outdoors in a private tub overlooking the beautiful pond and grounds.. Courtesy Sunrise Springs


Energy intuitive Alexis Cintron, a member of the wellness team at Sunrise Springs–An Ojo Spa Resort, uses energy chimes during a treatment. Photograph by Douglas Merriam

Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sunrise Springs is a sister property to Ojo Caliente. If Ojo Caliente’s claim to fame is its healing mineral hot springs, Sunrise Springs is built on life-giving, drinkable spring water. The wellness resort offers a wide array of spiritual and physical activities, with a wellness team that consists of a spiritual guide, an Aztec ceremonial leader, a hypnotherapist, and an animal communicator to help you get to know your pet better. A psychic does spiritual readings and reiki healing, a Mexican-American curandera does somatic movement healing, and there’s a therapist on staff for life coaching. Guests can opt for talk therapy, outdoor soaking or a spa treatment, and a myriad of other experiences, including animal interactions with kittens and chickens, and even puppies being trained as support and therapy animals.

Add to that 40 classes per day—most of them interactive—and you have a veritable smorgasbord of choices. General Manager Mara Bouvier finds that most of their clientele opts for a series of treatments with a particular, personal goal in mind. “Many guests transition through each area,” she says. “We anchor a spiritual journey.”


SpiritQuest Retreats

Tucked into the colorful rock formations of beautiful Sedona, Arizona, is SpiritQuest Retreats, a nondenominational and holistic spiritual sanctuary now in its tenth year. Unlike traditional spa retreats, SpiritQuest serves clients seeking a guided mind-body-spirit journey. “We design customized personal journeys for each person with their own team of practitioners,” says owner Katherine Lash. “It’s their spirit quest, to go deeper with themselves, a deep examination of the soul self.”

Retreat coordinators help guests plan their personalized journeys, including suggestions for accommodations nearby. SpiritQuest offers nutrition advice, emotional coaching, goal-setting, stress-relief, meditation, and more, utilizing the strengths of the mind, body, and spirit to find balance. With 30 staff and 50 sessions to choose from, options are plentiful, whether for a la carte experiences, day packages, or multi-week retreats. “People tend to spend a week with me and my beautiful team of practitioners,” says Lash. Whether a day or a week, guests are sure to come away feeling recharged.


Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center
Guests at the 21,000-acre Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center take advantage of hiking, horseback riding, archeology digs, and other outdoor activities.. Photograph by Katharine Kimball

“Ghost Ranch is a 21,000-acre escape from the world,” says Anna Maria Gonzales, Director of Marketing and Communications for Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, New Mexico. “We have an abundance of unique, iconic landscape that measures the colorful geographic layers of thousands of years.”

Though perhaps most famous for its ties to world-renowned artist Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch is about much more than art. By virtue of its remoteness, there is little digital connectivity, a gift for guests seeking a reprieve from the electronic onslaught of everyday life. It’s a place to get away and dedicate time to invest in the self. Guests can do yoga or body movement, get a massage, hike trails with expansive views, take bus tours focused on O’Keeffe’s life at the ranch, or spend a week working with micaceous clay. For dinosaur buffs, there is a rich quarry and museum as well as an anthropology museum. Groups are as welcome as individuals, and retreats can even serve a specific craft or profession. “For example, a couple of weeks each fall is dedicated to writers,” says Gonzales. There’s something for everyone, no matter their focus