The Pearl Laguna Retreat is a Body and Soul Experience
Rejuvenate Your Mind, Body, and Soul with The Pearl Laguna's Specifically Curated Retreat
A hike to clear the mind
All photos provided by the Pearl Laguna
It must have been around mile number seven when I noticed a woman walking barefoot on the dirt trail scattered with industrious red ants. She strolled along the path singing the National Anthem; Nike shoes swung over her shoulder by their laces. I was panting under the sun and feeling proud to have made it to the summit. Darn proud. I said hello to Superwoman and she replied “Bonjour.” Clearly, just another brisk walk for her atop a Laguna mountain hiking trail. And so goes a week’s long stay at The Pearl Laguna. Had a guide suggested I would make it through even a five-mile hike involving steep hills on my first day, laughter would have been my response. But, this was my sixth day and there I was hiking along the summit with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean as my reward.
Sitting one mile off Laguna Canyon Road this sublime retreat is nestled in the lush hills of Laguna, offering restorative peace and quiet in the otherwise chaotic locale that is Southern California. While the programs at The Pearl are globally recognized as being successful in harmonizing mind, body, and spirit, they are specifically geared towards enhancing well-being through yoga, massage, and nature.
See, The Pearl is ingenious when it comes to building your stamina and ability. Their program works because it involves a substantial amount of exercise, but, with it, a terrific daily massage. “I never would have believed I could do all this and still stay away from chocolate,” one Pearl-goer told me on day four during water aerobics.
The owners of The Pearl are world-renowned yoga masters and motivational gurus. The caring husband and wife team, Geo and Katresha Moskios, opened their retreat center and haven’t looked back. They’ve not had time. With troves of guests signing up to experience a full week or even a month (some people stay for multiple months), they’ve created an oasis for detoxing from all bad-for-you food and instilled an amazing appreciation for an afternoon energy-giving broth and alkaline water. And it works. Mornings begin with a knock at your door, time for yoga. Following, guests are treated to an organic, vegetarian breakfast and naturally-made teas.
Everything. Every. Thing. Is fresh and organic at The Pearl. After the early morning wake-up-knock, guests spend about half an hour drinking that day’s fresh blend of infused tea and water with lemon. Then comes yoga. The yoga helps wake you up and prepare for that day’s hike. While everyone is busy doing the downward dog, a crew of at least four guides is preparing everyone’s camelbacks. Not familiar with this item—I had no clue either. This is the handy pack people have stapled to their backs that has a straw popping out so alkaline water is available at all times. It’s also a place of treasured surprise. That being your snack of apple slices and, depending on the day, six or seven almonds. Yes, there’s a precise science behind the rationing of food.
Again, it works. The hikes are not for the faint of heart. But if you’re someone who exercises daily, they won’t be an issue. For those who aren’t exercise-buffs, you do your best or the guides are more than happy to alternate your exercise regime. For example, on day three, another guest and I felt called to a nice walk on the beach. Okay, we were being lazy. Regardless, off to the beach, we ventured power-walking through the waves. We conquered. And then I felt guilty. Part of what keeps you motivated is being with a group of people who are doing the hike. It is often more a mental challenge than anything else. As the guides often reminded me “just put one foot in front of the other.” It works. Make no mistake, the guides become your best friends, quick. They are like a fan club who multitask by ensuring no one gets lost on the trails, everyone stays hydrated and has a good experience.
After the daily hikes come lunch and a heavenly fruit juice. The menu is different every day yet always vegetarian and skillfully prepared by a private chef who transforms the healthy items on display in the kitchen into fulfilling meals. Amazingly, I was satisfied with each meal. Yes, I sometimes ate another guest’s last piece of lettuce (literally... everyone does this; you become fast friends in record time). But, in general, the meals do fill you up. As Katresha explains in her sweet sing-songy voice, “All the meals build upon one another.” Her menu is precise, and each ingredient has a purpose. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that all comes together to promote weight loss and health.
Plus, the food is aesthetically beautiful, as is the communal dining table’s decorations. This is the best table; it’s where everyone shares their meals and commiserates about life away from reality, while also determining what the ingredients are in that day’s meal.
Following lunch is the daily hour massage, ahhh. What more needs to be said? A massage by skillfully trained hands kneads out the kinks and soothes the tired muscles. Following, guests have time to either soak in the saltwater pool, relax in the sauna or meditate by a fountain. Or…take a nap! Some days there may be another activity such as water aerobics, weight training or even tai chi or yoga at the beach. It depends on the itinerary, the weather and the energy of the group.
The evenings are a time for relaxation, quiet contemplation, boasting over that day’s success and looking forward to dinner. After that, it’s off to bed. Or, at least, off to sip on tea. The communal kitchen is always open, the kettle just a click away from being heated and the quiet evening all for yourself. Most of my group was asleep by 9 p.m. There were 10 of us.
Cell phones, TV, and computers are allowed. But no one bothered in my group. The TV in the living room was never once turned on; people actually talked! It was a welcome reprieve from our fast world. The results? After six days I lost a little over seven pounds. My skin was literally glowing, my eyes were shining, and I was completely off caffeine. No more Diet Cokes. No more Cherry Cokes. Did I miss my morning coffee? Absolutely! Can I live without it? Yes. Can I live without constant noise, traffic, and fried foods? Indeed. Did I leave my health retreat and go order a coffee? Yes. But, I’ve only had two sodas since my stay. And that my friends, says something. As for the woman on the crest hiking barefoot? A guide told me she is there every week. Perhaps you’ll meet her yourself.
Visit thepearllaguna.com for more information on this globally-recognized retreat.