Holistic retreats are rising in popularity, and for good reason. The world is more stressful than ever, and a newfound appreciation of mindfulness and increased awareness of the benefits of digital and nutritional detoxification have led to large leaps in the wellness sector.
Luckily, many of Ontario’s health retreats involve a serene trip through scenic countryside. It’s the perfect setup for a relaxing weekend, especially when the All-New Volvo V60 is pampering you during the drive. The V60’s CleanZone ventilation system creates a clean, calm environment in the cabin, so you can decompress and destress to your favourite music played through the optional Bowers and Wilkins speakers.
Once you reach your destination, it’s time to take care of yourself. And the best way we can think of is to visit one of Ontario’s many holistic health retreats. If you’re intimidated by the sheer volume of options, here are a few of our favourites.
As time changes, so does cottage country. If you’re longing for the simpler cabins of yesteryear, Sugar Ridge, located 90 minutes north of Toronto in Midland, Ontario, could be just what the doctor ordered. Its cabins are swept on all sides by trees and wildlife, and the accommodations are intentionally simple. It’s part of their larger philosophy on reconnecting you with yourself. If you’re with a group, there are a number of classes you can take, but Sugar Ridge also specializes in solo retreats, offering isolated space that’s perfect for writers and artists on deadlines, or anyone else looking to separate themselves from the haphazard paces of the modern world.
As much an experience for the mind and soul as your body, Bancroft, Ontario’s Grail Springs offers an escape from the town’s booming cottage country economy. While Grail Springs offers traditional spa accoutrements like lengthy massages and reflexology hand massages, it’s the approach to detoxification that leaves guests singing. By pairing restorative spa treatments—plus yoga and meditation—with an emphasis on a pH-balanced, plant-based diet and a complement of healthy teas and elixirs, Grail Springs sets out to help you reconnect with yourself, and with the plant and animal life around you.
Ontario Vipassana Centre
An ancient form of Buddhist meditation, Vipassana is not for the faint of heart. To start, you’ll take a 10-day vow of silence, though you are permitted to speak with the centre’s instructors. Then, you’ll adhere to a strict schedule: you’ll wake up at 4 in the morning by a bell, or gong, and spend most of your day meditating. You will not exercise—even yoga is forbidden—and reading and writing are also not permitted. Vipassana will be a challenge, but its principles of mindfulness make the challenging retreat worth the sacrifices you’re asked to make.
Nonpareil Natural Health Retreat
Advertising a makeover from the inside out, Nonpareil was the first year-round detoxification centre in Canada and has, for nearly two decades, been a go-to for Ontarians looking for rest, relaxation, and revitalization. While both yoga and massages are on the menu, Nonpareil’s main draw is de-stressing your mind and body. Juice fasts, cleanses and detoxifying diet plans go hand in hand with stress-management classes and meditation sessions.
Knowing that we’re rarely alone with our thoughts, the Heartwood Retreat in Prince Edward County offers guests the chance to slow down and reflect, rather than dwell, on life. The Heartwood Rest House doesn’t exist solely in isolation, however, as the retreat also offers a number of services, from healing arts like acupressure and aromatherapy to yoga and body-mapping exercises.