Wellbeing tourism trends: Eight restorative travel experiences in the USA

Restorative travel experiences will play an increasingly important role in 2020 and beyond, with the growth in wellness tourism highlighting the popularity of nourishing activities, like yoga and meditation, during both everyday life, and trips abroad. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism was a $639 billion industry in 2017, and experts are predicting that it will hit $919 billion by 2022. 

With this in mind, here Visit The USA rounds up eight wellness-focused travel experiences in the USA, from fun takes on yoga classes and experimental healing treatments to intensive meditation retreats.

Zen training monastery in Carmel Valley, California
The first Zen training monastery outside of Japan can be found at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Carmel Valley, California. Located in a mountain valley, inland from the Big Sur Coast, the center’s mission is “to embody, express, and make accessible the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.” Travellers can partake in multi-day retreats available during the summer months, or visit as day guests to make use of the natural hot springs, creek-fed swimming pool, Japanese-style bathhouse, and vegetarian cuisine. The center’s isolated location – down a 14-mile dirt road that’s inaccessible to many vehicles – helps guests embrace the area’s natural wilderness. Drop-in meditation sessions start at $15 per person; Sfzc.org

Candlelit yoga in Dunbar Cave, Tennessee
Located an hour drive north-west of Nashville, Tennessee is the Dunbar Cave State Park – a 144-acre park filled with wooded hiking trails and a small spring-fed lake. The cave is the site of prehistoric Mississippian Native American cave art, and allows travellers to practice candlelit yoga with local yoga instructor and self-help author, Sara Thornton, in a quiet environment without the interference of artificial light. Classes start at $15 per person; thorncraftpublishing.com/yoga

High-end healers in New York City, New York
Travellers can now incorporate a hardcore wellness fix in their New York city-break. The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown has its own resident healers programme for city breakers keen to go beyond many city spas’ facial and massage offerings. The three healers specialise in different areas; one is an acupuncturist, herbalist and clairvoyant; another is a crystal healer and mediation master, and the third healer is an advanced body work educator and all-around wellness guru. The healers offer private one-on-one appointments for those needing some help to step back from hectic city life. From $150 for a 60-minute one-on-one meditation session; fourseasons.com

Goat Yoga in Oregon City, Oregon
When traditional yoga classes aren’t quite cutting it, travellers to the USA can call on the help of four-legged farmyard friends. Original Goat Yoga held its first class in summer 2016, and since then the goat yoga movement has expanded across the country with over fifteen locations now offering this type of meditative animal-assisted therapy session. In Oregon City, Original Goat Yoga’s 90-minute classes are designed to bring joy and happiness to yogis of various levels. The sessions take place at Beaver Lake Stables, in a high-ceilinged barn where attendees practice classic yoga poses while goats climb on their backs and around the venue. From $35 per person; goatyoga.net

wellness trends USA

Forest bathing and meditation in Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is one of the U.S.’s most renowned wellness destinations, and one of the only two places in the USA that is home to a spiritual vortex, an area of concentrated energy rising from the earth. At L’Auberge de Sedona—a resort of 62 cottages and 21 guest rooms located in a forest of Sycamore trees—guests may try the Japanese ritual of shinrin-yoku, which translates to ‘forest bathing’. The practice is focused on soaking up the essence of the forest (as opposed to bathing in the forest), with the immersion in nature decreasing stress levels and enhancing creativity. A 60-minute guided forest bathing is priced at $170 for one or two people; lauberge.com

Ayurvedic treatments in Fairfield, Iowa 
Translating to ‘knowledge of life’, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian health practice that uses meditation, nutrition, yoga, massage, and herbs to balance the mind and body, and create healing. The Raj—a French-style country house located on a 100-acre property—is the only facility outside of India specifically built to offer traditional Ayurvedic detoxification treatments known as Panchakarma. Guests are able to visit for Ayurvedic treatments, or may wish to take part in a four-day Transcendental Meditation retreat, also learning about gem light therapy, anti-stress massage and aromatherapy. From $85 for an individual Ayurvedic treatment; Theraj.com 

Silent yoga and meditation retreat in Brooks, Maine
Approximately a two-hour drive north of Portland, Maine is Rolling Meadows, a 100-acre meditation and yoga retreat center specializing in silent retreats. Participants—no more than 11 at a time–are asked to participate in ‘social silence’ to encourage an awareness between thinking and being in the moment, and allowing the body and mind to quiet. During the retreat, participants are asked to make use of the rural land surrounding the Rolling Meadows farmhouse, and are encouraged to ask questions during guided sessions. Retreats start from $752 per person for three nights; Rollingmeadowsretreat.com

Self-compassion in the Colorado Rockies, Colorado 
Located high in the Colorado Rockies in a huge valley of peaks and pine forests is the Shambhala Mountain Center. The year-round retreat center focuses on helping travellers on their journey to personal health and transformation, with over 100 programmes to choose from. These range from intensive self-compassion courses and meditation retreats based on the bestselling book by Sakyong Mipham, to programs that lean on astronomy and botany. Guests can stay in close-to-nature tent platforms or lodge suites,  and make the most of eight miles of trails surrounding the retreat – perfect for hiking, running or snowshoeing. Whether it’s a weekend retreat or a month-long transformation, the specialist center arms travellers with the skills they need to continue their personal journey. From $90 per night per person; shambhalamountain.org

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