Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meanwhile, back at The Ranch...

Before we go all holly jolly, I thought I'd share a little more about my visit to The Ranch for a week of cleansing, hiking, and general transforming.

Here's what a typical day at the ranch entailed: 

{many of these photos were taken on my iphone, so please excuse the quality}.

Each morning we woke around 5:30 to the clinging sound of these chimes, the call to sunrise yoga.

In the glass walled yoga studio we would do gentle stretches, sun salutations and varying levels of yoga as the sun rose over the Santa Monica mountains. Following yoga we'd climb the steep hill to the ranch house {I think this hill, which led to the main food source, was deliberately built to ensure we got a little more exercise in each day}. After filling our camelbacks with water and loading our backpacks in the van we gathered for our choice of herbal teas and breakfast.

One of our favorite breakfast treats was the ranch granola, usually served with fresh almond milk {stay tuned for recipes}.

It was also sprinkled upon this avocado, kale, pineapple smoothie we sipped one morning. Yes, kale, after a a few spins in the vitamix, can become a super{food}star in a delicious smoothie.

Each day we'd hike an average of 12 miles. Our trails took us up and down the expanses of the Santa Monica mountains, the views of the canyons and the Pacific Ocean were amazing.

Mid-hike we were treated to a much anticipated, and talked about, snack.

On this day it was 6 almonds and a pinch {or two} of brown Hawaiian salt.

 The next day, we had an apple {the most delicious apple ever} and pinches of pink Himalayan salt. On our final day, we were positively ecstatic to have an 1/8 of an apple smeared with almond and sunflower butter for snack{can you believe how many times I have used the word "snack" in this one post??}.

After the hike everyone was more than ready for lunch. On a couple days, the trail ended at a beach where we were greeted with glasses of cold coconut water and picnic tables covered with thick swaths of rough linen and cutlery rolled in pressed white napkins.

After lunch we had about an hour of free time until the afternoon exercises began. During this time most people napped and/or soaked in the hot tub. The afternoon strengthening exercises were a variety methods, focused on common problem areas, core, arms, and posture, always posture.  

At the ranch, the goal is for guests to relinquish responsibility so we can focus on our bodies and ourselves and to live in the present. To help us adjust, there were no printed schedules; they recommend we take off our watches, and live "off the grid", meaning no wi~fi and limited telephone and computer access. Details, in regards to the schedule, were more than vague, we knew the general schedule, and were filled in on an as~needed basis. Each guest carried a walkie~talkie, when we were apart, this was our life~line; our way of being in touch; our method of communicating if we needed something and our way of knowing, exactly, when the next activity was beginning.

I found it amazing {and humorous} that "relinquishing responsibility" {aka loosing almost all control} tended to turn a group of mature, accomplished women into children again. The guides were constantly pelted with questions such as "When is snack? How much further? How long until breakfast/ lunch/ /dinner? How long is the drive? and May I have more?". If you can believe it, some campers even resorted to distracting the guides so they could sneak an extra snack or two!

The most frequently asked question was definitely "When is my massage?". Yes, massage. Each day we were treated to a thorough massage to help keep our bodies moving and grooving for our fabulously intense boot-camp excursions. Massages occurred during rest time and afternoon exercises, we were informed about 10 minutes before it was our glorious turn to head to the massage huts.

After exercise, we'd gather in the yoga hut for a final yoga session. By the time we were finished, the sun had set, and we would hike up the hill again for a satisfying dinner. Following dinner we'd each retire to our cabins to sleep and prepare for another day in the hills.

Coming up....  the decor of the ranch, the food {including recipes}, a photo shoot on the beach, the terrain, my insights, take aways and some notions you may find to be helpful through the holidays...


The enchanted home said...

Wow looks like someone is earning their meals at night!! What is that hanging off your backpack? It looks like snake heads..ewwwhh! You are an inspirational woman and I bet you feel like a million bucks...would love to do something like this, but I would need to double up on the "almond ration" Enjoy.

Barbara@HausDesign said...

You know I have been curious to hear about this! So did you feel different/better after? I guess that's for a future post? I found it very interesting that people had so many questions - it makes me request all of my questions a bit more and respect that I hold the control and that is hard to manage! So intriguing! I'm with Tina though - I'd need more to EAT!

Melissa Lee said...

I love your blog! I have always wanted to visit The I can, in a way, through your eyes and experience. Can't wait for the recipes!

serena at FarmHouseUrban said...

E - your 'snack' looks yummy!

quintessence said...

Oh boy - not sure I could keep up here!! A little too much strenuous hiking and seriously not enough almonds!! I have total respect for your doing this!!

Splendid Market said...

EH ~ those are dried yucca heads. more on the terrain coming up.

Q and Barbara, I am going to write more about the "food situation", but honestly, I didn't feel "deprived". xo ebh

24 Corners said...

Okay...I should have scrolled down first! Maybe this would be a better place to go 'after she's all healed up'! My goodness...very impressed!!
Off to have some almonds...
xo J~