Written September 2021
Experienced August 12, 2021
Being that Justin and I both live mindful lives and feel at peace in the mountains, we had no issue feeling at home in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is a magical land of not one, but three Whole Foods, coffee shops that sell hot buttered coffee, active people everywhere, mountain views, and healthy/organic restaurants galore. Plus, it’s a very conscious community with strong roots in Buddhism. Back in the 1970’s, Chögyam Trungpa, a Tibetan buddhism mediation master, arrived in North America for the first time. He landed in Boulder and later founded the Naropa Institute – now Naropa University – the first accredited Buddhist university in North America!
Usually, when I return home from traveling, I am in need of a vacation from a vacation. All the different foods and “go, go, go” mentality can be exhausting! NOT this time! I returned back to Boston feeling centered, rejuvenated, and fulfilled. The amount of self-care Justin and I practiced on this trip helped us to stay grounded and healthy. We frequently checked in with each other and ourselves to make sure we had the energy for our more adventurous days (like Rocky Mountain National Park!), while also keeping our mind, gut, and body feeling good. We went to Whole Foods daily (sometimes more than once a day… haha), enjoyed local mountains, practiced meditation & yoga, and found a way to keep our minds and body in balance while traveling.
The day after our epic night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for Rüfüs du Sol, Justin and I took extra care of ourselves. This is our “DIY Spa Day” in Boulder, Colorado!
Our Boulder Spa Day!
Ingredients for Our Spa Day
Staying in a town with three Whole Foods is a dream. In Boulder, you have the option of going to Whole Foods on Pearl Street (the BIGGEST Whole Foods!!), Alpine Avenue (AKA “Ideal Market”), or Broadway (in Table Mesa/South Boulder area). At Whole Foods, we purchased ingredients to keep ourselves hydrated (important at higher altitudes), balance our digestive systems, and take care of our bodies:
- Hydration: Flow Organic Cucumber Mint Alkaline Spring Water (to really feel like you’re at a spa… you can pretend it’s cucumbers on your eyes! RIDICULOUSLY refreshing!)
- Digestive Support: In Boulder, we discovered Rowdy Mermaid kombucha, which is our new fav brand for bubbly probiotics. The best news? It’s a local Boulder brand! We love supporting local, no matter where we are.
- Body Care: Travel-friendly, single-use bath bombs and salts are the… BOMB. We had an amazing jacuzzi tub at our Airbnb, so we indulged with Aura Cacia’s Lavender Foaming Bath packet and Lavender Vanilla Bath Bomb.
The crucial ingredient for our Spa Day was the Airbnb we were staying in. About 20 minutes tucked up and away from downtown Boulder, in the middle of the mountains, is a magical mountain retreat. This spacious “Mountain Spa Retreat” Airbnb had enough space for more than two, so we were very comfortable in our accommodations. We had to drive through the mountains in our Jeep Wrangler rental to arrive at our private entry to our guest suite. We had access to a private deck overlooking the mountains. The suite had a STEAM SHOWER and JET TUB to nourish our bodies, along with two yoga mats.
Thanks to our wonderful Airbnb host and Whole Foods (and Justin for being so awesome), we were READY for our SPA DAY!
But first… coffee.
Just kidding. We started our day with meditation! Both of us love the $Free.99 Insight Timer app (thanks Justin for introducing me!!), so we started with a silent meditation overlooking our beautiful view. We could have easily done Andy Hobson’s mountain meditation, but we had the mountains already… and a little silence goes a long way!
Breathing in the fresh mountain air, breathing out love and peace.
Breathe it in, breathe it out.
We rolled out the yoga mats on the deck to do a quick morning flow. Thank you, Yoga With Adrienne, for being everywhere I am. Free YouTube yoga is life. I never thought I’d have such a positive relationship with home yoga, but the last year has opened me up to finding yoga wherever I am. Finding it on a deck overlooking the mountains was not difficult.
coffee steam shower!
Nope, no coffee yet! We were ready to embrace the steam shower in our Airbnb, as both our noses were feeling dry from the humidity-free air/altitude. Plus, it was a little smoky from the wildfires so we wanted to treat our respiratory system kindly. We sprinkled peppermint oil in the shower, indulging as we woke our senses and respiratory systems, sweat out toxins, cleared congestion, and allowed our muscles to relax.
Our mountain retreat and spa day was really shaping up. Our bodies were feeling relaxed, centered, and ready for the day.
I thought you liked coffee. Can this be next?
Less is more… unless it’s
coffee Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha. Our favorite flavor? ALL of them. Lion’s Root, Savory Peach, Alpine Lavender. Just get one. Find one near you. And drink it… then let us know what you think.
We love kombucha. Especially if it’s Rowdy Mermaid. So we had some Savory Peach ‘buch on our way to get… (you guessed it)…
There are SO MANY magical coffee shops and roasters in Boulder. During our spa day, we opted for Laughing Goat Coffehouse, which has the best cold brew… quite possibly ever. Our other favorite was Beleza Coffee Bar, which serves the most magical and delicious Hot Buttered Coffee. YUP, that’s a combo of drip coffee, grass fed butter, MCT oil. Yes, it’s nutritious AND delicious. 10/10 recommend for lasting energy and happiness.
Coffees in hand, we were ready for a little more movement and Vitamin D. We met up with Justin’s childhood friend (and my friend from college!), Vin, who lives in the area for outdoor therapy and a hike at Eldorado Canyon State Park in Eldorado Springs. Since arriving in Boulder, Vin offered us kindness, hospitality, and genuine connection. As a counselor with roots in mindfulness practices, Vin offers a truly unique, open-hearted perspective to our connection. On our first night in Boulder, Vin and his partner hosted us for a home-cooked meal and walk. I am grateful for all the time we spent with Vin during our travels as we shared our stories with vulnerability. I hadn’t seen Vin in over 6 years, so we had a LOT to catch up on. Of course, there was no pressure to share, but we found ourselves feeling open and free in sharing. What a beautiful way to connect.
At Eldorado Canyon, our trio wandered ~three miles in the sun along meandering paths. We didn’t have any “objective” except for deep connection to each other and nature. We smelled butterscotch ponderosa pines, sat on rocks, put our hands and feet in the cool river, and talked about life. How simple. How free.
Break Time! (Intermission)
Justin and I took a little break to check in after our group outdoor therapy. I was in need of a smoothie and time to get grounded before our plans for the evening. We stopped at Wonder on Pearl Street, where I got a Spicy Avocado smoothie (coconut milk, coconut water, avocado, mango, ginger juice, lemon, cayenne…. yaaaas, it had me at ‘mango’). We had a meaningful conversation in the car about some of our differing opinions and needs. Over the course of our trip, we were willing to open up in the moment. Things that bothered us. Things we needed. Without feeling judged. Without feeling too needy. Feeling aligned within ourselves, so we could stay connected to each other.
WOOHOO! Go team!
Body Work – Open Hearted, Open Minded.
In the evening, Vin helped schedule a body work session with a local practitioner in Boulder. Bonnie Grace of Graceful Movement spends most of her time in Sedona, Arizona, while also maintaining a practice space in Boulder for her Center For Feldenkrais And Physical Therapy.
Justin, Vin, and I went together to visit with Bonnie, where we were all invited into her sacred treatment space to have a discussion prior to Justin and I receiving our separate sessions. I observed the room – warm lighting, a large/low treatment table, pillows and props surrounding the room, various comfortable seats. It was inviting and gave me a sense of comfort. I didn’t sense any urgency being in this space. I felt all expectations release, my heart and mind opening to this experience.
Bonnie began sharing her experience as a physical therapist, which deeply resonated with both Justin and I. After she shared discontent with the prescription-and-productivity-driven western medicinal practices, Justin and I opened up about our own experiences as physical therapists. Bonnie wondered, “Vin, did you tell me they are also physical therapists?” We laughed, as our shared backgrounds brought our connectivity to life.
Bonnie shed light on the work she does – focusing on finding someones strengths, rather than highlighting the limitations. Approaching someone with softness and gentleness to bring awareness into their bodies. The idea of a mind-body connection is undeniable, yet can be overshadowed by medical practitioners who look simply at signs and symptoms. Justin and I felt seen, heard, and grounded in these ideas. We were ready to receive Bonnie’s gifts through our 1:1 sessions, which were each over an hour long.
While Justin had his body work, I sat in the waiting area to meditate, breathe, read about National Parks, and connect with Vin. We had meaningful, deep conversations about our life journeys. We hadn’t seen each other in over six years, but it didn’t matter! I opened up about my experience at Mount Rainier that left me lost and alone during a backcountry skiing trip. At the turning point of the story, Vin stopped me and said something along the lines of, “I can see this is painful for you, it’s okay you were afraid to be so alone.”
Nobody has said that to me before. Not this way. Soft tears beaded in my eyes, as a breathed out this painful memory I continue to hold onto.
Open hearted, open minded.
When it was time for my session, I was honest with what I needed. A sense of grounding. The welcoming of healing. The understanding of how to stay connected with my body and mind, especially with my empathetic, sensitive heart. The migraines I’ve experienced and have been welcoming into my self-awareness. We dug deep together through healing touch and exploration of the mind/body connection.
Time was irrelevant. I found a softness during our session. Bonnie introduced me to an ease of finding connection. We spoke about the vagus nerve and ways to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system as a window for being relaxed and present in my body. I left the room feeling rooted in my body, connected to myself and the Earth below my feet.
How beautiful to be grounded, together, in this wild life. To feel love and acceptance. To feel whole.
Justin and I smiled at each other. We felt so nurtured. For this, we are so grateful to Vin and Bonnie. Thank you, thank you.
Indulging in a Nourishing Meal
After treating our bodies with love and compassion through body work, we found nourishment in a delicious Vietnamese meal at Chez Thuy! Vin introduced us to his favorite menu items. We indulged in life’s pleasures through conversation and good food – something we don’t take for granted! We shared spring rolls, vegetable/tofu pho (Phở Chay), Garlic Pepper chicken, and pad thai. It was magical. It was delicious.
Coming Home to Ourselves
When we arrived back home for a fizzy, lavender bath, we were feeling very at home within ourselves.
We found our mindful, health-conscious day connected us to each other, but even more-so to ourselves. We found sleep to be easy this evening. Our bodies felt light, but grounded.
The rest of the trip, we continued to practice our mindfulness. While we cannot possibly “get it right” all the time, we can certainly continue to show up for each other – to come home to each other by being honest with ourselves. This is the ultimate acceptance of each moment, just as it is. Meeting each moment with softness and a lens of compassion and love.
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