“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ~John Muir
Being healthy involves more than maintaining a strong and toned physique and extends to focusing on our inner well-being. For many, attaining peace of mind is more elusive than achieving a fit body. True health requires shaping up our whole being—body, mind and spirit. As important to good health as exercising and eating right, finding ways to relax and recharge the mind and spirit is essential to true wellness. Balancing our inner and outer selves is the path to true health and happiness.
Luckily, the local options for finding that perfect balance between inner and outer wellness are endless. From an abundance of natural settings that merge physical and emotional well-being, to an array of choices for working out and focusing on inner wellness, the local landscape leaves no excuse for not shaping up.
Hiking is one of the best ways to clear your mind and tone your body too! Numerous studies confirm the stress-relieving benefits gleaned from spending time in nature, making hiking nature’s remedy for today’s often hectic busy lives. Hiking is also good for the heart, improving cardiovascular health and decreasing the risk of stroke. Whatever your fitness or energy level, finding a trail nearby is a walk in the park, as Conejo Valley is home to more than 15,000 acres of open space and 150 miles of hiking trails for all levels. One hidden gem in the area is the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, 33 acres of natural terrain with panoramic views of Thousand Oaks and acres of unique specialty gardens, including the Butterfly Garden, the Australian Garden and California Native Garden. For a list of hikes ranging from stroller-friendly to mountain- scaling, and group, instructor-led hikes, visit the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency at Conejo-OpenSpace.org.
Yoga & Pilates
Yoga is a centuries-old practice and meditation loved by many for its far-reaching mind-body benefits. Practicing yoga increases strength and balance, improves cardiovascular function and creates a flexible, healthy body. Beyond the physical perks, yoga also increases awareness that extends beyond the yoga mat to impact other areas of life, including diet, self-esteem and well-being, according to Harvard Health Publishing in “Yoga – Benefits Beyond the Mat.” Whether practiced solo at home or in a group setting at a studio or gym, yoga enhances the mind and body. Yoga Upstairs in Agoura Hills and YogaWorks in Westlake Village are two popular venues that offer a variety of yoga classes for all levels and ages.
Pilates focuses on balancing and aligning the body to achieve better posture, health and overall fitness. Developed in the 1920s by Joseph and Clara Pilates, Pilates uses gravity, breath and spring resistance to target specific muscle groups and “re-educate movement patterns and rebalance the underlying muscular and structural systems in the body,” according to the Pilates Foundation. Incorporating the traditional principles of breath, concentration, centering, control, precision and flow, Pilates strengthens and tones the body while developing a greater awareness and trust in the body’s abilities. Often used to heal specific conditions, such as sports injuries, spinal issues and even Parkinson’s, Pilates delivers myriad mind-body benefits. Local favorite Pilates studios include Pure Barre Westlake Village, at 2806 Townsgate Road, Suite B, offering efficient 55-minute low-impact physique- defining, fat-burning and bone-strengthening workouts led by highly qualified instructors, and PRO’Active Pilates, at 860-V Hampshire Road at the Westlake Village Water Court, where certified, experienced instructors lead a variety of body- conditioning, sports therapy, pre- and postnatal and personalized classes in Classic Pilates and the Gyrotonic Method.
Hit the Gym
Walking through the doors of any fitness facility opens the opportunity to work your body in a variety of exercise modalities, from lifting weights to running on the treadmill and taking group fitness classes. The motivation factor fueled by being in an environment where everyone is focused on fitness can inspire one to new heights. However you choose to move your muscles, the flow of endorphins improves your mood and sense of well-being. Area gyms abound, with 24-Hour Fitness, Gold Gym’s and YMCA locations as well as specialty workout centers specializing in martial arts, kickboxing and dance. My Health Studio, located at 31139 Via Colinas, Suite 303, in Westlake Village is one local favorite, offering small class sizes in group fitness and dance, Zumba, personal training, top of the line equipment and credentialed experienced instructors.
Making time for self-care and silence results in profound and lasting benefits that reverberate across all areas of our lives. When we’re stressed out and running ourselves ragged, our emotional and mental states reflect it and eventually compromise our immune system if we don’t take a break. Relieving excessive stress and recharging regularly keep us feeling sane and stable, leading to a more balanced, happier state of mind and improving health and well-being. Whether it’s a week, a weekend, a day or even a few hours, taking a timeout is essential—and easy—considering the abundance of local options.
The Four Seasons Westlake The Spa is famous for its signature retreats that take an integrated approach to wellness designed to strengthen the connection between mind and body for increased health and happiness. Choose from a four-day, three-night, all-inclusive Signature Retreat that employs technology and science to curate workouts, cooking classes and workshop experiences that help guests meet their wellness goals, to a half-day Daycation that includes a massage or facial, poolside cabana rental and lunch.
Halo Salt Spa in Westlake Village immerses guests in a relaxing salt room to enjoy the benefits of Halotherapy, a holistic natural therapy that uses microparticles of pure salt to clear the nasal passages and lungs, clarify the skin, and reduce overall stress levels. Massages, Reiki treatments, sound healings and group yoga, qi-gong, breathing and meditation in the salt room also promote deep relaxation and peace.
If time is short, visit Setiba Aesthetics Group, at 101 N Westlake Blvd in Westlake Village, to enjoy a variety of pampering skin and body treatments that make you feel and look good. Dedicated to treating clients like family, the local med spa is staffed by experienced professionals who ensure your experience is relaxing and rewarding.
Those wanting to venture out of town may find their Shangri-La at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, a world-class resort offering a full range of spa services, personal journeys and mind/body programs to soothe the soul and refresh the spirit. A bit further down the road in Avila Beach near San Luis Obispo, Sycamore Mineral Springs invites guests to relax and soak in the naturally heated mineral spring water sourced from natural, underground resources. The 23 open-air private hillside hot tubs are open to the public, providing majestic views and a serene environment while the healing water nurtures your skin, body, heart and soul.
Here’s to enjoying the journey to true health and wellness—your body (and mind) will thank you!