Rest and Retreat

When Seattle-based yogis and wellness seekers want more than an hourlong respite, they head for one

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When walking out of a downtown yoga class—mind clear, soul full, body limber—it can be a bit jarring to come face to face with the city’s cacophony of traffic, noise and pollution. So when Seattle-based yogis and wellness seekers want more than an hourlong respite, they head for one of the region’s wellness sanctuaries.

Nestled in the Cascade foothills on a 50-acre converted dairy farm in Sedro-Woolley, the Cedar Springs Renewal Center helps guests purify the body and prepare the mind and spirit for healthy living. Now in its sixth year of operation, the center is run by husband-and-wife team Michael Mahaffey, leukemia survivor and author of The Complete Cancer Cleanse, and Nancy Monk, a certified nutrition therapist.

Though some guests settle in for a month, most come for an all-inclusive three- or six-day cleanse (from $400), which entails nutritional consultations, raw cuisine workshops, organic meals, purposeful living programs and stretching classes. The nutritional approach is what sets Cedar Springs apart from other retreat centers. “We do an evaluation of your body type and then help you incorporate raw, organic food into your lifestyle in a way that works for you,” says Mahaffey. Though the setting is intimate—no more than 10 guests at a time—staff support is generous, and guests can indulge in everything from reiki and reflexology treatments to massages and body wraps (some specialty services are offered at additional costs). For those focused on fitness, Mahaffey and Monk bring in pros who offer a 10-day Be Fit and Be Free session each season (prices from $2,000, including meals, lodging and treatments). Accommodations in the cozy seven-bedroom lodge include use of the two-person infrared sauna, meditation sanctuary and exercise facility.

Close to home, The Retreat at M’illumino in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood is the brainchild of Feldenkrais (awareness through movement) practitioner and mother of four Bridget Thompson, who envisioned an oasis in the heart of the city—a guest house of sorts where she could cook healthy meals, relax in a steam room, enjoy an infrared sauna or luxury shower and meditate in a garden. Two years ago, she created it. “I thought of what it really means to rest and rejuvenate,” Thompson says about the retreat’s sustainable materials and warm, modern structure. Now, one or two guests can stay at the retreat house, either enjoying their private haven—complete with central hearth, fully equipped kitchen, sauna, luxury shower, steam room and Japanese garden—or taking advantage of M’illumino’s class offerings, which include yoga, qi gong, tai chi and Feldenkrais.

The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island caters to individuals and groups ranging from traditional yogis to esoteric spirit seekers. On five secluded acres, the grounds around the 12-year-old Yoga Lodge show off the Northwest’s best—from herb gardens and orchards to woodlots. Innkeeper Wendy Dion, a registered yoga teacher and rehabilitation counselor, describes the property in almost magical terms: “The land holds an energetic presence that’s really conducive to healing and centering,” adding that deer often wander through the property, a family of barn owls visits seasonally, and Lagoon Point beach is just a short walk away. Sleeping quarters in the three-room lodge (from $65/night, including breakfast; a full kitchen is available for other meals) accommodate as many as 13, and guests wake to a vegetarian breakfast prepared with seasonal, organic ingredients before setting off to explore the grounds and take advantage of the serenity pond and wood-fired sauna. Yoga classes, taught in a studio with radiant-heat floors and forest views, are offered Tuesday through Friday, and retreats can be personalized to in