BodyHoliday Resort in Saint Lucia Takes Wellness Beyond the Spa

The concept of wellness has evolved so far beyond the spa. These days, holistic—even transformational—travel experiences are soaring in popularity. The luxe BodyHoliday, an all-inclusive, beachfront resort takes that idea to the max in Saint Lucia.

During April, they have two special programs on deck, on top of their standard wellness amenities. Daily spa treatments are included, as are plenty of other feel-good pursuits. Schedules do vary, but meditation, Tai-Chi, Spoga (spinning + yoga in the resort’s Tree House Spin Studio & Zen Deck), archery, water sports, fencing and golf are typically all available.

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Get Schooled by an Olympian

Olympian Donna Fraser will be leading week-long beach training getaways thorugh April 30. Those looking to disrupt their same old fitness routine might want to train alongside Fraser—who broke records in the 2000 Sydney summer games in the 400 metre dash—at the Spring 2017 WellFit Retreat. These semi-annual programs are relatively intensive training programs, yet they’re designed for both those looking to get fit, as well as those who are in shape, but need a fresh boost of inspiration to stay that way. The Olympian trainer—this month, Fraser—develops customized programs for participants that target their attitudes and negative mindsets along with their bodies.

Fraser’s two retreats will be focused around beach fitness training, slated to include cardio workouts, strength training, core strengthening, fitness yoga, and running. Sprinkled in between all that hard work will be motivational talks, nutrition seminars, and hosted (healthy and gourmet) dinners.

Start Horsing Around

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The immersive “Equine Wellness Journey” will have guests reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses and make positive life choices. Mindfulness, the technique of focusing on the present moment, and accepting any feelings without judgement, is part of it. Yes, this all sounds like a therapy session. And it is, in a way—only the “therapist” is a horse.

Sandie Bryant, the resident expert in natural horsemanship, coaches guests in how to use mindfulness specifically to connect with another living being. “Learning how behavior is perceived by others reveals whether our actions are working for or against us,” said Bryant. “Horses are spiritual creatures and act as a mirror to human behavior.”

This journey comes in two distinct parts. The goal of “equine reflection” session is to help guests be more confident when communicating with others, by making sure that the message they’re sending is the right one. Even when people aren’t speaking, their bodies are subconsciously communicating their emotions. Horses, it turns out, are masters at “reading” that body language. Through communication tasks with a horse, guided by Bryant, guests will figure out how to keep self-doubt from negatively coloring their communications.

The “equine expression” component (guests can book both parts, or only one), on the other hand, channels a traditional Native American practice. They did that with paint, using their steeds as living canvases of sorts. Sometimes, it was war paint. Others, it was an expression of dedication to another cause, like the spiritual healing of a sick relative. Participants in equine expression will do the same, representing some life story with paint, on the horse. (The paint is non-toxic and safe for the horses.) Afterwards, the painter gives the horse a bath, washing away the paint and, along with it, any negative emotions surrounding the story.

Can’t get down to Saint Lucia for these April experiences? June is dedicated to fitness dancing under the tutelage of professional dancers. Or make it a family vacation in July or August. That’s when the resort, normally adults-only, opens up to ages 12-17. This summer, WellFit Families Retreats will be led by NFL star Randy Moss. Finally, December brings their Restorative Break to specifically combat all that comes along with that month.

christina vercelletto

christina vercelletto

Christina Vercelletto is a lifelong south-shore Long Islander. She currently resides in Babylon with her husband, three children, and a morbidly obese calico. A media veteran, Christina has held editorial positions at Babytalk, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, Woman's Day, and Davler Media. Her work has appeared in numerous national publications, including Redbook, Rachael Ray, Good Housekeeping, FamilyFun, and The Huffington Post. She's been a frequent guest on Today, The View, and Good Morning America.