Things to Do Near Meditation Mount, Ojai, CA

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Best spot for Sunrise or Sunset! – Meditation Mount

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Why Ojai, California, Is the Ultimate Destination for a Rejuvenating Wellness Retreat

While Santa Barbara and Napa tend to get all of the buzz, if you’re looking for an under-the-radar SoCal spot to add to your bucket list, consider Ojai. Nestled in a small valley surrounded by hills and mountains, Ojai is pretty much synonymous with slowing down and getting in touch with your zen side, thanks to its gorgeous scenery, hiking trails, spas, and yoga and meditation studios-not to mention the fact that coming to Ojai is regarded by some as a “spiritual pilgrimage” in itself.

Settled by the ancient Chumash Native Americans, the valley is said to hold mystical, sacred powers. Some attribute this to the valley’s location running east to west, the same direction traveled by the sun and moon (the name Ojai itself actually means “moon”). Whether you buy into this belief or not, because of the surrounding east-to-west mountain range (a rarity since most run north to south), it’s one of the few places you can catch a sunset so strikingly beautiful; the sunlight creates a stunning shade of pink for several minutes on the Topatopa Bluffs. It’s called “The Pink Moment.”

Luckily, the Ojai Valley narrowly survived destruction from the Thomas Fire-the wildfire that burned through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for more than a week last month-and after restoration and cleaning, the area is getting back on its feet and re-opening its doors to visitors. (And highways in the area affected by the mudslides are set to re-open in early February.)

Ahead, how to make the most of this unique and healthy destination if you’re looking for a rejuvenating escape in the new year.

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Ojai Vista Farm; Photo: Buick

Get There

Luckily, Ojai is an easy hour and a half drive from Los Angeles (or 45 minutes from Santa Barbara), which makes a short weekend getaway totally doable. (But trust us, once you arrive in this tiny, laid-back town, you’ll feel much farther away.)

Set a chill tone while you travel: We drove the Buick Enclave Avenir, which features wellness-minded features-like technology that absorbs noise and improves air quality-but you can also try listening to your favorite zen playlist, a mindfulness app, or a health and fitness podcast to tune out and de-stress from the inevitable LA traffic.

Image zoom Photo: The Ojai Valley Inn

Stay

For a laid-back-yet-still-super-luxurious experience, stay at the Ojai Valley Inn, built in 1923. You can expect plenty of gorgeous Spanish Colonial architecture, but with top-of-the-line resort accommodations, including six restaurants. Take advantage of the stunning golf course and award-winning spa, book a complimentary yoga class, or simply soak in the mountain views (and sunshine!) at one of the property’s three picturesque pools.

If Airbnb is more your style, consider renting out Ojai Vista Farm, a cozy, secluded California Spanish estate hidden on a 10-acre avocado farm and vineyard. It has three bedrooms and its own pool. Or for a truly unique experience, stay in one of the 10 rooms and suites at the Pepper Tree Retreat, an updated 1910 farmhouse and the former home of philosopher J. Krishnamurti. (Krishnamurti reportedly chose to settle here after feeling the energy of the “geomagnetic vortex” of Ojai and its Topatopa Mountains.)

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Topa Mountain Winery; Photo: Buick

Eat (and Drink)

If you re looking for a local lunch spot with some über-healthy eats, check out Food Harmonics. Favorites from their organic and gluten-free menu include the raw vegan pizza and turmeric matcha latte. For lunch or dinner, hit up Mexican vegetarian café Farmer and the Cook for vegetarian Mexican cuisine. As the name suggests, the café was founded by a farmer and a dietitian/chef. All the food is grown at the pair’s farm in Ojai.

If you’re a wine connoisseur, don’t miss the Topa Mountain Winery, right off the Ojai Valley Trail, the popular bike and jogging path that runs from Ojai to the Pacific Ocean. (If you’re staying at the Ojai Valley Inn, it’s an easy five-minute ride.) There you can taste wines made in local vineyards and enjoy live music.

Also worth checking out? The Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market, where you can scoop up prepared foods as well as locally grown organic produce and one-of-a-kind handmade gifts every Sunday morning.

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Valley View Preserve; Photo: Buick

Sweat

Just a short ride from downtown Ojai, take a hike at the Valley View Preserve, where you can choose between beginner or more advanced trails. Thanks to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, who maintains the 195-acre area, there are dozens of miles of new hiking routes. But for a short but steep hike that will give you a leg-burning workout and amazing views (prime Instagram material!), opt for Luci’s Trail.

Another way to explore-and get in a workout-is by hopping on a horse. The Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company offers guided horseback rides along the Ojai Valley Trail, a converted rail line that begins downtown and runs 10 miles to the coast in Ventura. They have rides suitable for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders alike.

Or for a studio experience, hit up Arrow Heart Yoga for a variety of class options to cater to your mood and skill level. To really zen out, try their Bhakti chill flow, which uses mantras to open the body, heart, and mind, or Kundalini class, which uses breath, movement, and mantras to bring the nervous system into a state of calm.

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7 Om private session; Photo: Buick

Zen

For a unique Ojai experience, plan a visit to Meditation Mount for a meditation session and stunning views of Ojai, and then walk through the meditative garden afterward. Although hit hard by the recent fire, miraculously, most of the Mount’s buildings and some of the gardens still stand. While currently still closed, plans to re-open for continuous service are on the horizon.

Whether or not you’re staying at the hotel, head to the spa at the Ojai Valley Inn for a truly blissed-out experience. Voted one of the top spas in the country, they offer your standard array of facials and massages, plus unique services like the Kuyam treatment, a sauna-mud bath experience that originates from the Chumash Native Americans. While you’re there, consider booking a private session with Nicola, an energy alchemist and spiritual sage and founder of 7 Om. Take home one of her custom small-batch elixir sprays made with crystal essences that are infused with essential oils said to have sacred healing energies.

  • By Kylie Gilbert @KylieMGilbert

Ojai

Ojai, city, Ventura county, southern California, U.S. Situated 12 miles (19 km) north of Ventura and about 85 miles (135 km) northwest of Los Angeles, it lies in the Ojai Valley flanked by mountains.

Ojai Valley MuseumOjai Valley Museum, Ojai, California.Ken Lund

Originally inhabited by Chumash Indians, the site under Spanish rule was an outpost ranchería of the San Buenaventura Mission (now in Ventura). When the settlement was first laid out in 1874, it was named Nordhoff for Charles Nordhoff, a California booster and author of California for Health, Pleasure and Residence (1872). In 1917 the community was renamed Ojai, derived from the Chumash word a’hwai (“moon”), and homeowners were encouraged to remodel or maintain their structures in the Spanish Mission style. Ojai later attracted artists and crafts people as residents, as well as various spiritualists and religionists advocating meditation, yoga, theosophy, naturalism, astrology, and holism. Tourists are attracted not only by the scenic valley—where many of the scenes of Shangri-La in the classic film Lost Horizon (1937) were shot—but also by an abundance of pottery studios, antique stores, galleries, shops, and boutiques. The Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, established in 1895, is held annually in April; the Ojai Festival, featuring music and dramatic readings, occurs in May and June. Thomas Aquinas College (1971), which uses no textbooks in its curriculum, is located in nearby Santa Paula. The southernmost boundary of Los Padres National Forest is also nearby. Inc. 1921. Pop. (2000) 7,862; (2010) 7,461.

Best Spa Experience – Spa Ojai

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If your desire is to improve your yoga practice and recharge in a beautiful place, California offers some world-class options any time of year. Here is a half-dozen picks, listed south to north, for luxurious getaways that deliver wellness benefits that linger long after check-out.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Rancho Santa Fe

This five-star, five-diamond property in San Diego County’s tony Rancho Santa Fe amounts to a perfect 10 on the serenity scale. The Mediterranean-inspired resort is nestled on 45 acres of peaceful gardens and olive groves just a few miles from the Pacific, and The Spa at Rancho Valencia has set the bar for luxury wellness retreats. Whether you drop in for a yoga class (at the aptly named Serenity Yoga Pavilion) or come for one of the resort’s renowned workshops or multiday wellness retreats, you’ll be treated to thoughtful, first-class service—like a just-pressed juice elixir placed in your hand at the end of class. Our perfect day: Start the morning with a Yoga Flow session then head out for an exploratory nature walk with panoramic ocean views; dine on fresh, organic fare at the new poolside bar, Rein; then visit the spa for a restorative 90-minute Elemental Massage.

The Pearl Laguna

Laguna Beach

At this Laguna Beach luxury retreat property, the foundational belief is that transformative, positive change can be found through one approach: an immersion in yoga and nature. Nestled near the ocean in Laguna Canyon, this sanctuary accommodates just 14 guests at a time (for weeklong visits), which makes for a more intimate, personalized stay. Each day is bookended by yoga sessions—an invigorating Power Yoga in the morning and evening Flow Yoga to stretch and unwind—and meditative practices (breathing exercises, tai chi and chakra healing). Guests also venture out daily for a three-hour guided hike exploring some of the coastal canyon’s 20,000 acres of open space. (Tired bodies are rewarded with a daily therapeutic massage.) An organic, cleansing cuisine is also core to The Pearl Laguna retreat experience, and guests dine on a completely vegetarian menu that includes healing teas, juices, and broths.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Ojai

About 80 miles north of Los Angeles (and roughly 15 miles from the ocean), this historic luxury resort sits in a valley that has been believed by many throughout the years to be an energetic hotspot, or “vortex,” that holds mystical powers. Whether you believe in the Ojai vortex, or not, you’ll marvel at how the sun casts a pink glow on the surrounding mountains at sunset and the peacefulness you’ll feel entering this charming enclave with a creative spirit. Yogis have their pick from a robust class schedule that spans the style spectrum, from Gentle Yoga, which is more of a meditation with stretches, to Yoga Sculpt, which uses resistance and weights as you move through the postures. Guests can also head to Meditation Mount, a meditation center with sweeping views of Ojai Valley, for sunrise and full-moon yoga. This resort also offers some rare mind-body wellness experiences, like Kuyam, a treatment that combines the therapeutic effects of intense dry heat, self-applied desert clays, and inhalation therapy. There is also a Somadome pod, which involves light and sound therapy during a truly unique 20-minute meditation session that promotes mind and body alignment.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

This posh resort, which sits on 78 acres of oceanfront property just north of Santa Barbara, offers a yoga class (or two) every day, as well as spin, meditation, and TRX classes in its 24-hour fitness studio. A visit to the renowned, 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center should also be on the docket. Try the Lavender Salt Scrub—a rejuvenating exfoliation followed by a relaxing Swiss Shower and hydrating lotion—or a Lavender Bliss aromatherapy massage. Or request a bespoke, specialized treatment based on your personal needs.

Post Ranch Inn

Big Sur

When visiting this coastal retreat, guests are encouraged to completely unplug, and there are no TVs or alarm clocks in the luxury-rustic guest rooms. You won’t want to leave the clifftop infinity-edge spa (there are two), a sublimely peaceful perch to take in the expansive views of the Big Sur coastline. From morning yoga classes in a yurt to afternoon meditative hikes to late-night stargazing (the resort has a high-powered telescope and an in-house astronomer), Zen-inducing activities are abundant. The Post Ranch Inn Spa offers a variety of holistic body treatments focused on restoring balance and health, as well as “intuitive healing arts” services—meet with a shaman or experience a fire ceremony and other energy clearing and balancing rituals.

The Coast Ridge

San Francisco Bay Area

At this retreat near San Francisco, meditation takes the form of sunrise yoga and long hikes along the rugged coastline through redwood groves and along coastal trails. There are a variety of fitness classes (with elements of yoga incorporated into all), and each day includes a relaxing massage and ends with restorative yoga. Learning how to follow a diet of whole foods is a big focus here, and the retreat chef whips up detoxifying yet delicious vegetarian meals using organic, seasonal ingredients sourced locally. Attendees of the four-day Reboot stay in The Coast Ridge’s secluded estate, which overlooks Stinson Beach.

Ojai Valley Yoga Retreat

Details:
Wed, February 28-Sun, March 4
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Travel:
Los Angeles Int’l Airport (LAX) -90 min from Ojai
Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) -45 min from Ojai
*you can rent a car or inquire about a shuttle or ride-share

Included:
4-nights luxury accommodations, all tax, service and resort fees, all yoga classes, meditations and workshops, welcome dinner on Wednesday, daily smoothie or juice, 10% off all spa services, unlimited internet use (WiFi), full access to spa pools, fitness center and all resort mind/body classes, complimentary bike use, unlimited use of tennis courts

Resort Amenities/Facilities:
Artist Cottage, Apothecary, Fitness Center, Tennis courts, Pools and Private Cabanas, Golf Course, Full Service Spa, Healing Center, On Site Restaurants and Cafe

Payment Options:
A $500 deposit is required to hold your spot. All deposits are non-refundable. The balance of your payment is due January 15, 2018. Payments after January 15th must be in full. No refunds or cancellations within 60 days of the retreat.

Accepted methods of payment: Checks, Chase Quickpay, Venmo
Please make checks out to Pure Living Yoga Retreats
Email payments to: [email protected]

Ojai Yoga Retreat

Private Room $1,150 – 1,525

The community room has several options for preferred privacy. One alcove has a single bed with a carved wooden screen , a separate alcove has two twin beds with a carved wooden screen, and a shared space is set up with 6 twin beds. The Community Room is located on the second floor. Spaces will be given on a first come first serve basis, so sign up today to get your top choice!

For more photos of our retreat location please .

Payment and Deposits

Send your $300 non-refundable deposit now to secure your space!
Final payment due February 28.
Cash, check, Venmo, zelle
If you use a credit or debit card you are responsible for the added fee.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How far is the drive?
It’s a two hour drive from Los Angeles.

Arrival & Departure information?
Check-in time is 3:00 p.m on Thursday, March 28.. Check- out time is 12:00 p.m on Sunday 31

What is the address & phone?
Ojai, CA (details to follow)

What about food?
Shelly Martin will be preparing vegetarian organic cuisine.

What if I’m traveling alone?
I will do my best to match you with another participant of the same gender. Before the retreat begins I will provide opportunities to carpool.

Do I need to bring yoga props or books?
Everyone will be provided with a bolster, blanket, strap, block and chair. If you have extra blankets and would be willing to bring them that would be great.

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