Summer is typically a busy time for me, and this year has been no different. Between mini-vacays, pool- and beach-hopping, chasing my niece and nephews around, and—of course—getting a magazine to print on time, I can always use help staying present and centered. So, naturally, I jumped at the chance to try the new Meditation Experience at Illuminate Face & Body Bar in Calabasas, California.
Part of Illuminate’s wellness offerings, this add-on—available in increments of six, nine or twelve minutes—is designed to be a “brain break” that helps clients minimize stress and balance their emotions prior to their spa service. It was created by meditation teacher Dada Nabhaniilananda, ordained Ananda Marga yoga monk and author of Close your Eyes, Open Your Mind (InnerWorld Publications, 2006), who has taught meditation in more than 40 countries and appeared onstage with the Dalai Lama.
Because I’m a meditation novice and often fall victim to running thoughts, especially when I’m supposed to be relaxing, I decided to start small and chose the six-minute Renewal experience, along with an amethyst crystal for extra serenity.
Once I’d enjoyed some of the spa’s delicious Kombucha (on tap!), I entered the treatment room, changed and lay down on the table. I was then given headphones and an iPod that played the preprogrammed guided meditation while the corresponding aromatherapy was diffused into the room—a very convenient setup.
The Renewal experience, aimed at helping clients live in the present moment, featured soothing music, along with breathing guidance and a repeated mantra—“Baba Nam Kevalam”—to inspire inner peace and harmony. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to settle into it, not to mention how fast the time went by—it’s safe to say that my interest has been piqued and I’m ready for the full 12-minute session! What’s more, those moments of breathing and balance left me perfectly centered and serene for the HydraFacial service that followed.
After the meditation came to a close and I removed the headphones, my esthetician got right to cleansing my face—with a soothing massage around the jaw area for good measure. She then performed physical and chemical exfoliation with the HydraFacial, followed by extractions and some LED light therapy. Finally, she layered on a rejuvenating toner, antioxidant serum, hyaluronic acid moisturizer and SPF, and I was ready to go.
Although I sat in traffic for most of my drive home, I remained perfectly Zen thanks to the meditation/facial combo—and the crystal I now keep in my car!