Yoga Journal

Pampering with Purpose


HERE’S MY TRUE CONFESSION: I do not choose to relax. I like to imagine what it would be like to live a life of leisure, lounging by the pool, sipping on cucumber-infused water, biding my time until my next spa appointment. I admire the people who can do it. But in truth, that’s not me.

No, I like to work. I like long hours and extreme effort and as much tension as I can possibly build up. I may like to think about relaxing, but given the option to actually do it, I’d rather sit in front of my computer for hours on end, spinning away on whatever project I happen to have on hand (they all feel, to me, utterly urgent).

Even my vacations tend to be effort-oriented, if you can call them vacations at all. For one thing, I don’t take many, and they’re usually short. And for another, they always happen for a reason: to further my career (think story research, job interviews); or to better my body (yoga conferences, detox intensives). Work, in other words, must be getting done.

And so it was, a few years ago, that I found myself at the Chopra Center at Southern California’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. At the time, I was the editor of a magazine dedicated to the merits of leading a healthy, balanced life. Ironically, I had been working 12-hour days for months. My staff was begging me to take a few days off; my boss kindly, then rather firmly, suggested that I do so.

I decided that at Chopra I could work on my yoga, do a little detox, log some meditation hours, maybe even get). What’s more, I would deepen the typical spa experience by getting treatments based in the ancient Indian healing art of Ayurveda. I would take a little vacation, yes, but I would not waste my time. I’d sign up for a crash course in the Perfect Health program (normally a five-day program; I would do it in three), then get back on the job—informed, rejuvenated, and acceptably refreshed.

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