Being able to relax in your lifestyle is necessary for reducing the effects of disease. Take time each day to relax through activities that will improve your vitality.

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CN Traveler Awards Mountain Trek

Conde Nast Travler Magazine

More than 300,000 travelers took part in Condé Nast Traveler’s 29th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey submitting millions of ratings and over 75,000 comments to create a list of winning favourites – and Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa was one of them. In fact, Mountain Trek made it onto the list of the 15 Best Wellness Retreats in the World! “Whether you’re into hiking or yoga, or just need a nap-inducing Swedish massage, book now to rejuvenate both mind and body” is what the article says and that’s exactly what you can find at Mountain Trek.

Condé Nast Traveler, one of the most popular travel magazine and websites in North America, listed Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa along with 15 of the most exclusive wellness getaways in the world including Six Senses in Portugal, BodyHoliday in St. Lucia and Ananda in India. Mountain Trek was the only Canadian resort listed.

This is what the CN Traveler had to say about Mountain Trek: “You may be on vacation, but there’s no reason you can’t throw some self-improvement in the mix, too. At Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat Resort & Health Spa, way up in the clean, clear air of British Columbia, you won’t lament the week-long cheat day that could’ve been. Instead, embrace the granola life with day-long hikes led by one of the eager local guides, and sunrise yoga classes taught by certified professionals. Everything here is targeted toward achieving optimal health, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be shoving kale down your throat, or scraping bark off the nearest tree to kill the hunger pangs. Quite the contrary: The on-site nutritionist and head chef develop locally sourced, nutrient-rich meals, with lemon ricotta pancakes just one of the many fan favorites.”

“The 15 Best Wellness Retreats in the World” article was recently published on CNTraveler.com and you can read the story in its entirety here: http://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/the-best-wellness-retreats-in-the-world.

Whether you’re interested in improving your own fitness, losing weight, or just want to relax in the fresh mountain air, we recommend you book Mountain Trek and enjoy the amenities that only our all-inclusive resort can offer:

  • complimentary massages
  • delicious boutique spa cuisine
  • natural hot springs
  • infrared sauna, outdoor hot tub and cold plunge pool
  • luxurious lodge in a natural setting far away from urban stressors

You’re also guaranteed to reach your fitness goals with our program that’s tailored to each individual. You can keep to your own pace but we’ll make sure you get results. We hope to see you soon!

 

Easy Ways to Digital Detox

Easy Tips for Digital Detox

"Digital detox" is a buzz phrase we're hearing more of lately but what exactly is it and why should we do it? After all, isn't technology meant to improve our lives, helping us keep more connected and freeing up time so we can concentrate on other things?

It's true technology has vastly improved certain aspects or our day-to-day but our relationship to digital devices is changing at a rapid pace and it's important to notice the specific impacts on your life. And to do this, we need to take a step back and discuss toxins, detoxifying and the role of digital media and devices in all of this.

What is Toxic Load? 

A toxin isn't just a form of poison that enters your body. Toxic load can also be mental or emotional. It is the result of stagnation through repetition. When there is a build-up of patterns that block energy, we become inflamed and constricted – we lose the natural flow state of expansion and contraction. This could be the increasing pattern of attention span interruption or multi-tasking at work, due to the constant repetitive information signals to our brain from our digital devices. It could be the build up of bio-waste and chemical compounds in our body due to the repetitive sitting we do, which limits circulation and elimination. Even our social world can become stagnant if we are not going deeper than social media for our heartfelt interactions.

Why is Detoxifying Important?

Detoxifying is the process of supporting a flow state in our whole being. When we take a break from ongoing patterns and habits, we recalibrate and become "lighter of being." Our mind, body and emotional states are interconnected. By taking a break from incessant incoming info bites, not only does our mind get a break from vigilance, but our stress hormone Cortisol gets a chance to lower, which in turn supports sleep, appetite and energy levels. When we move our body (ideally 10,000 steps a day), our circulation, lymph drainage and elimination organs (liver, kidney's, intestines, lungs and sweat glands) release waste and unhealthy chemicals. And on an emotional level, having an intimate conversation with someone we trust allows the weight of our concerns to be released.

What's the Best Way to Digital Detox?

Digital detox goes beyond just spending less time in front of your iPad, phone or computer. There are other aspects that can be incorporated to ensure a full detox experience. Here are three easy ways to do it: 

  1. Electronic Devices: Shut all electronics down one hour before bed. This will allow your Cortisol to drop and will support better sleep. Take that hour to do some restorative yoga, have an Epsom salt bath, or give and receive a massage, all of which aid in toxin release and deep regenerative sleep.
  2. Move More: It's not enough to be away from your devices for awhile and then just sit there waiting for the chance to check them again. Get up! Dance, walk, skate, swim. Keep the blood pumping, Breath deep. All of this will help your elimination system, decrease inflammation and increase a flow state.
  3. Eat Veggies: It may seem odd to mention food when discussing digital detox but the fact is by eating more vegetables, which contain more fiber and antioxidants, you're helping your elimination system and supporting a lean and clean body. In other words, the more veggies you eat, the more you'll want to move around, meet friends in person, get outside, and generally enjoy a fuller life.

Of course, the best way to digital detox is to take a break from your day-to-day life and immerse yourself in nature. Click here to learn more about how Mountain Trek supports digital detox through its program. 

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How to Reduce Stress With Meditation

Managing Stress over the Holidays

Mountain Trek's program director Kirkland Shave says more often he's meeting guests at the lodge who are struggling with stress. Whether it's their work, family life or personal troubles, he says that many people come to the lodge to escape their daily stresses, immerse themselves in nature, get a good night's sleep and, ultimately relax. However, when their stay at the lodge nears its end, their stress levels begin amping up again as they consider returning to their regular day-to-day.

As part of the educational component of the program, Kirkland spends time sharing various tips for how to reduce stress. For example, in this video below, he discusses the causes of stressors and what you can do to alleviate them and relax, and, ultimately enjoy a more fulfilling life free of chronic worry.

Kirkland also recommends meditation as a great form of relaxation. It used to be that meditation was viewed as something only “old hippies” did. But now its benefits are being touted by the likes of Oprah, Hugh Jackman, and Arianna Huffington. 

There is so much new research available since brain imaging equipment came into existence 20 years ago that its benefits are proving it can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and slow Alzheimer’s. Also, in a recent study by John Hopkins University, it was proven that mindfulness meditation can be just as effective as antidepressants for treating anxiety symptoms. It also boosts our feel-good hormones (serotonin, dopamine), lowers our stress hormone (cortisol), lowers our blood pressure, alleviates pain and inflammation and it invokes our parasympathetic nervous system to help balance our digestive and elimination systems.

If you're considering trying meditation for the first time, my recommendation would be to start simple. Here are the steps to take:

  • Find a quiet space and remove all devices such as your smart phone
  • Sit comfortably with a straight spine
  • Breathe slowly and fully while concentrating on a candle flame, or the sound of ocean waves, or the sensations of your breath as it passes through your nostrils
  • Notice how your concentration gets interrupted by your thoughts. Don’t worry though as this is the normal function of our mind to generate thoughts.
  • Gently (and without judgement of the content) come back to concentrating on your focus of attention.
  • Practice increases the power of concentration so start with just 5 minutes a day and then build from there.

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4 Tips: How to Sleep On Airplanes

Tips for sleeping on an airplane

Many of our guests at Mountain Trek travel for work and spend a lot of time in hotels, at airports and on airplanes. Recently we had a few people complain to our sleep specialist Simon about the cross-continental flights they've endured and how they simply can't sleep on the planes. Simon spends a lot of his time at the lodge talking about the importance of sleep and with his help we did an article that shared "7 Tips To Help You Sleep Better." That story concentrated on your own bedroom though and so, for this piece, we asked Simon to share with us some tips to help those who travel a lot about how to sleep on planes.

Sleeping on a flight has its challenges, but there are a few best practices that can help you get some rest between runways. First, don’t force sleep if its the middle of the day and you aren’t changing timezones as it will disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to sleep that night. If you are on a night flight or are travelling through timezones here are some hints to get some shut-eye:

Get a good seat

Choose a window seat on your preferred side to sleep. If you book early and can choose the best option using this: helpful tool.

Don’t drink

Although booze is a muscle relaxant and depressant, it disrupts our rapid eye movement sleep and lowers the quality of our rest. Try a herbal tea instead.

Eye pillows and ear plugs

Come equipped with your own supply. Specialty ear plugs and a good eye pillow will block out the too most difficult environmental interruptions; light and noise.

Get Comfy 

The best position for your body, from a spinal perspective, is to have the seat reclined as there is less direct loading on the lumbar. Next bring something to pad the lumbar curve (like the extra sweater in your carry-on) and a neck pillow as it will total collapsing of the neck. Lastly, stow your carry-on above you to give your legs room to stretch out and avoid cramping.

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Why You Should Sleep Naked

simon-sleep-tips

What do bedclothes, pets, and your ex all have in common? They should all be kept away from your mattress!

The two main reasons for why you should sleep naked are to reduce elevated body heat and to minimize the toss and turn. We want to sleep slightly cooler, keeping our environment around 18C/65F. Our body’s temperature naturally fluctuates during our sleep cycles, and allowing this process will promote a quality sleep.

Bedclothes can hold the heat, disrupting this temperature variation and making sleep onset more difficult. Further, sleeping with bedclothes or pets can interrupt our sleep. Every time we toss and turn our sleep quality goes down.

For most of us, sleep involves at least some regular movement. Although we may be oblivious, when we readjust or roll over the chance of getting caught up in bedclothes is much higher than if we are naked. This lowers comfort, and in turn, the quality of our rest.

Beyond improving sleep, disrobing before bed can help with these health benefits as well: 

  • Look Younger: Ensuring our bedroom temperature hovers around 18°C (65°F) while we sleep allows our anti-aging hormones — melatonin and the growth hormone — to function properly. These hormones work better at lower temperatures and allow our cells to regenerate, which results in better-looking hair and skin.
  • Lose Weight: A good night’s sleep is an excellent way to fight stress, which is one of the reasons we gain belly fat. If we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we can wake up with high cortisol levels that can trigger our appetite for comfort foods and lead to overeating.
  • Protect Your Private Parts: Bacteria thrive in moist, warm environments. By ensuring more ventilation down there while sleeping naked, the probability of infection is reduced. And for men, sleeping naked increases fertility by keeping that area at cooler temperatures.
  • Enjoy Better Sex: You are naked after all. Sleeping in the nude with your partner increases skin-on-skin contact and helps stimulate the release of the “love” hormone oxytocin.

For more healthy sleeping tips, please watch the video below:

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7 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Sleep. It’s Not Just a Guilty PleasureEdit Entry

There are few things that feel better than getting a good night’s sleep. And few things worse than lying in bed with insomnia when we have an early meeting the next day. In fact, as we get older, getting deep, restful sleeps begins to take priority over a night out of socializing.

There’s a good reason for this. Not the passive state many people once considered it to be, sleep is now known to be a highly active process during which the day’s events are processed and energy is restored.

Sleep is an integral factor in living a well-balanced, healthy life full of vitality. Most studies show that the average human needs between 7 and 9 hours. And science is increasingly showing us that sleep deprivation and poor sleeping habits affect both our body’s AND our brain’s ability to function properly. You want to function at peak capacity? You want your memory to serve you? You want your sex life to be full of vitality? Then sleep better! Below is a list of common sleep problems and ways to fix them and sleep better. At Mountain Trek we call these tips "Insomnia Busters" and they're part of the lecture on sleep we offer during our week-long health and fitness programs.

Common Sleep Problems

Snoring: Weight is usually the main cause of snoring so shedding excess fat around the neck will stop extra pressure being put on the airways.

Sleep Apnea: Apnea is caused by the same muscles that cause snoring. It occurs when the muscles of the soft palate at the base of the tongue and the uvula (the small fleshy piece of tissue hanging back of the throat) relax, partially blocking the opening of the airway. However, sleep apnea is more dangerous than snoring in that it alters normal breathing patterns.

Insomnia: A prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate, uninterrupted sleep. Symptoms may include having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early in the morning, feeling unrefreshed. The consequences are unpleasant, leaving sufferers feeling exhausted, irritable and unable to concentrate on simple tasks.

Restless Leg Syndrome: a tingling, itching sensation and unexplained aches and pains in the lower limbs.

A recent study in the journal Sleep shows that one night of sleep deprivation is associated with signs of brain tissue loss.

In addition, a brain imaging study from the University of California, Berkeley, showed that a night of sleep deprivation affected the brain’s decision-making and reward areas, and also led to study participants craving higher-calorie foods. Writing in the journal Science, University of Rochester scientist Maiken Nedergaard describes how during sleep, cerebral spinal fluid is pumped around the brain, flushing out waste products like a biological dishwasher. She believes that this cleaning process is more active during sleep because it takes too much energy to pump fluid around the brain when we’re awake.

Natural Ways To Sleep Better

Develop a routine: Regularly go to bed early (9 or 10 pm) and get up 8 hours later (even on weekends). This helps set your internal sleep-wake clock and reduces the amount of tossing and turning required to fall asleep. It also helps counteract the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Exercise: Doing some form of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times a week will improve your sleep. But make sure you do your exercise several hours before bedtime so you’re not revved up.

Change your diet: Cut out food and drinks that contain caffeine—such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate—by late afternoon. Make dinner your lightest meal and finish it a few hours before bedtime. Skip spicy or heavy foods, which can keep you awake with heartburn or indigestion. Eat magnesium-rich foods like fish, nuts, seeds and leafy greens.

Cut out the nightcaps: Alcohol disrupts the pattern of sleep and brainwaves that help you feel refreshed in the morning.

Turn down the heat: A temperate room gets you a better sleep than a tropical one, we recommend keeping the room tempature at 65°F or 18°C. Striking a balance between the thermostat, your blanket, and your sleeping attire will reduce your core body temperature and help you drift off to sleep.

Make your bed a No-Work-Zone: Your bed is for sleep and sex—not work, food, or TV. If you wake up during the night, skip turning on your computer or TV and do something soothing like meditating or reading until you feel sleepy again.

Cut out the gadgetry: Turn off your TV, computer, phone, iPad, and video game at least an hour before bedtime. Light from these devices stimulates the brain, making it harder to wind down for sleep. You can also download the free software F.lux to your various devices and it makes the colour of your computer's display adapt to the time of day: warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Here's an excerpt from Mountain Trek guide Simon Shave's lecture about sleep health at our BC Lodge.

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Mountain Trek Is The Perfect Bachelorette Destination Say 2 Writers

Friends-hiking-together

Mountain Trek has been featured in two articles recently that describe our health program as the perfect fitness-focused destination for brides-to-be. In her recent JetSetHerBlog.com article, Jamie Gaul writes that you’ll leave your bachelorette party at Mountain Trek “feeling like a new woman” and Alison Lewis writes in her HealthyTravelMag.com article that Mountain Trek is “the perfect retreat just before the big day!” Both place a spotlight on the hiking and how brides and their bachelorette parties can get fit before the big day, rather than derail all their hard work.

In her article Gaul writes, “Every time I get a wedding invite, I know a bachelorette party is in store and that means too much wine, too much food and a week-long hangover. Bachelorette parties don’t have to derail all the hard work you’ve done to get your wedding day bod. These locations are fun, relaxing and have your wellness in mind. So long, Vegas!”

Gaul then goes on to describe Mountain Trek saying, “A true backcountry experience, Mountain Trek offers the bride-to-be and her bridal party a dynamic ‘boot camp’ vacation. Yes, I know bootcamp and vakay aren’t exactly synonymous but trust me, you’ll emerge from this bachelorette party feeling like a new woman. Set in spectacular natural landscapes, guests spend time hiking, practicing yoga, indulging massage therapy and have access to a variety of fitness, detox and nutrition classes Average weight loss for a one week program ranges from 4.5 – 6.5 lbs per week for women. You may even need your wedding dress taken in after this trip!”

In her article entitled “Health Inspired Bachelorette Destinations” Alison Lewis writes, “Set in the most spectacular natural landscapes, (Mountain Trek) guests are treated to an ultra personalized program and spend time focusing on activities including hiking, yoga, massage therapty, detox treatments and a variety of fitness and nutrition classes.”

Mountain Trek has hosted many groups of women throughout the years and we even wrote our own article about “Why Mountain Trek is the Perfect Girls Getaway.” Here are just a few of the reasons why a healthy bachelorette party at Mountain Trek is such a good idea:

  • Spend some much-needed time with your friends away from all the distractions of your daily lives
  • Enjoy the world-famous hotsprings five minutes from our lodge
  • Lose weight before putting on that wedding dress and look beautiful on your big day
  • Learn healthy habits that will stay with you long after you leave our luxurious lodge
  • Have a guaranteed support network when you get home

To see Jamie’s story in its entirety, please click this link: Bachelorette Destinations Inspired by Health, Not Hangovers. And to see Alison’s story, please click here: Health Inspired Bachelorette Destinations.

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Simple Strategies For Relieving Stress in the Kitchen

Simple Strategies For Relieving Stress in the Kitchen

If your kitchen has become a centre for stress, these 4 tips can help simplify your cooking style so you have more time to relax and enjoy healthy and delicious meals. (And if the thought of cooking a turkey dinner this Thanksgiving holiday is just too stressful, then why not join us at Rancho la Puerta in Baja, Mexico and have someone else do the cooking for you?!)

Remember, cooking should be a way to relieve stress rather than cause it. The act of preparing a meal can divert the mind from the day’s activities and bring into focus the food you are creating. And the smell and taste sensations that come from preparing a delicious dish are immensely satisfying.

Kitchen Tips: Plan Ahead

Tip 1. Draw It Up

In order to be prepared for the coming week, take a few minutes to plan your meals. Check your schedule (as well as your family’s) for any meal conflicts that might arise (such as evening sports games or late nights at work) and then work around it. By organizing in advance, it alleviates the stress of coming home and trying to figure out what’s for dinner.

Kitchen Tip: Write it down

Tip 2. Write It Down

Many people don’t realize this but you don’t need to spend a lot of time in your average super market because: a) you just have to stick to the outer aisles to get everything you need and b) when you write down a detailed shopping list, it prevents you from wandering into the middle aisles where you’ll find all the processed, unhealthy food. When you write down your list, group items by what aisle they’re in and you’ll save a lot of time, energy and stress.

Kitchen Tip: Prep your food ahead of time

Tip 3. Divvy It Up

If you’ve ever watched a cooking show on TV, you’ll notice that the professional chefs always divvy up their ingredients into separate bowls before beginning the preparation. This extra step ensures you’re not having to look for something at the last second while things are boiling over. It helps you stay in line and on time and definitely takes the stress out of mixing ingredients together.

Kitchen tip: Work Ahead

Tip 4. Work Ahead

Consider cooking extra food or even two meals at once, and reheating on a busier day. Some Mountain Trek favourites include Smoked Salmon and Halibut Chowder, Super Vitalizing Quinoa Salad and Greek Feta & Turkey Stew. Even fresh vegetables can be prepared ahead of time – simply blanch them (ie: parboil in water or steam) in order to remove at the start of the week and store them for use later when you can quickly rewarm or sautée them.

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6 Types of Yoga – Which One’s Perfect for You?

Which type of yoga is right for you?

This November join Mountain Trek at Rancho la Puerta in Baja, Mexico and try different types of yoga every day. The resort boasts world-class teachers and each adobe studio is sun-filled and beautiful. To help you decide which type of yoga is perfect for you, we’ve put together this list of six different kinds along with insider tips that further explain each.

Hatha

Ideal for: Beginners

What it is: Hatha refers to any yoga practice that combines breathing techniques with poses. With each class your goal is to develop balance and flexibility and to continue breathing with every pose and movement, so it tends to be very relaxing and restorative. Many guests at Mountain Trek love the last few series of poses during the morning session, which involves lying on the floor in a relaxed position called “shavasana” for 5 minutes.

Insider Tip: At Mountain Trek we tend to concentrate on slower movements between poses. However, other instructors might move (or “flow”) at faster rates. Be sure to check with them in advance to ensure you’re comfortable with the speed.

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar

Ideal for: Those suffering from neck or back problems

What it is: Iyengar is a style of yoga that emphasizes proper alignment and the strengthening of joints and muscles. Props are often used such as straps and blocks to help you get into poses. Participants will stand, sit, and twist and if the injury isn’t too limiting, poses might also include backbends.

Insider Tip: According to the Clinical Journal of Pain this style of yoga helps improve chronic neck pain.

Vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa

Ideal for: Weight loss

What it is: This style of yoga tends to be fairly fast-paced and is occasionally called “power yoga.” With each class you’re expected to move continuously throughout the class doing a series of lunging, bending, and stretching poses. (The most famous sequences of moves is called the sun salutation.) In more advanced classes you can expect to do headstands or shoulder stands, in which the feet are raised above the head. However, we typically avoid these positions at Mountain Trek, preferring instead the more gentle movements of Hatha.

Insider Tip: Of all the different types of yoga, Vinyasa is the best for weight loss as practitioners can burn up to seven calories a minute.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram

Ideal for: Building flexibility (and detoxing via sweat)

What it is: This style is often referred as “hot yoga” because studios are typically heated to 40°C (105°F) with a 40 percent humidity level. Each class includes various rapid breathing exercises as well as a series of 26 poses.

Insider Tip: Don’t forget your water bottle and towel! And it’s best not to eat 2 hours before a class so as to avoid nausea.

Khudalini Yoga

Kundalini

Ideal for: A more spiritual experience

What it is: The average session of this form of yoga is made up of exercise, breath work, meditation, and relaxation. The goal is to release the energy that devotees believe is stored at the base of the spine and by doing so, you calm the mind and energize the body.

Insider Tip: This style can be considered a bit out there so if you’re not keen chanting, perhaps try another discipline.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga

Ideal for: Seasoned yoga practitioners

What it is: This style of yoga is one of the most physically challenging. Practitioners can execute up to 70 poses in one session including upwards of 10 sun salutations, inversions and backbends.

Insider Tip: This style of yoga is excellent for developing strength and endurance but it’s also for veterans who are comfortable with many of the more difficult poses.

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