I love Queens and NYC, but there are times where I feel exhausted from the daily urban lifestyle. I find that I need to travel to replenish my energy. One of my favorite local getaways was to the Menla Spa located in Phoenicia, NY, where I was fortunate to experience the Rejuvenation Retreat where I received some Tibetan style healing. After a 2 hour bus trip from Manhattan to Phoenicia, Michael from Menla picked me up and after a quick 5 minute shuttle ride, I was greeted by a red Japanese style torii gate which led to the spa.
After checking-in to my room, I went for my traditional Tibetan medicine consultation. Dr. Nida, who was visiting from Rome, was born and grew up in Tibet, where he was studied traditional Tibetan medicine. Dr. Nida told me that traditional Tibetan doctors examine urine to determine a patient’s health. He swirled my small tube of urine and peered at it through sunlight, felt my pulse, and looked at my face. The diagnosis: my kidneys were a bit weak. The solution: a list of different spices to add to my meals to help strengthen my kidneys. He also inquired about my mental and emotional health, and encouraged me to be confident and believe in myself. He suggested some tonics to maintain health, but I decided not to purchase them. I left the consultation feeling pretty positive about my health.
After my consultation with Dr. Nida, I received a full body Tibetan KuNye massage. Sarite the masseuse used warm oil to massage me and by the end of my hour, I was utterly relaxed and felt my stress melt away.
The food at Menla was vegan, with a lot of raw, local ingredients from their garden and it was completely delicious. If I could make meals as tasty as the food at Menla, I would totally be vegan (that was basically what all the other guests said as well)!
I attended a class led by Dr. Robert Thurman and Dr. Nida where we learned about meditation and some Tibetan yoga and breathing techniques. Instead of our regular short breaths, extending our intake and outtake of breath longer can help to extend life. It was very interesting, especially when they started talking about the possibility of re-incarnation. Dr. Nida also told us about naga or dragon or river/mountain spirit that lives in the area of Menla and suggested that we leave some milk or snacks for the dragon to visit us in our dreams.
Afterwards, I went on a quick hike around the local Catskills area before it started to rain. I didn’t see any nagas, but I felt a serenity that I don’t feel when I’m in the city.
Although I was only at Menla for a weekend, my schedule was full of activities, but I did not feel tired at all and was excited to attend the classes with Dr. Thurman and Dr. Nida and other teachers. I thoroughly enjoyed my rejuvenation retreat and would recommend it to anyone who wants to get a different perspective on health and wellness.