LIFEPATH: A HEALING AND WELLNESS RETREAT IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
November 1, 2010
As I begin to write this I have just spent the better part of a day at LifePath, a learning, healing and retreat center in the heart of San Miguel.
Business partners Dr. Beverly Nelson and Joseph Dispenza (author and spiritual counselor) moved here from Texas and New Mexico respectively about 10 years ago when they began offering monthly, six-day retreats out of a private home. Later they added the services of several holistic practitioners.
With the opening of Life Path Center in May of 2010, they now offer year-round retreats that can last from just one day to three weeks.
Read our story on LifePath
Healing, Learning Classes and Workshops
What’s So Special about San Miguel
More Blogs: Five Weeks in San Miguel de Allende
A few other places for Healing Wellness Retreats
More on Lifepath
Housed in a sprawling, multi-terraced, 400-year-old hacienda in the Historic Zone, LifePath Center is a comfy, homey, non-intimidating environment. Beneath its terracotta tiled roof, it offers healing sessions and alternative therapies, but with its warmly appointed indoor spaces, gardens, fountains and outside “salas,” - even a resident cocker spaniel – there is absolutely nothing clinical about this place.
The hacienda itself has just three quest rooms but thanks to a partnership with a nearby B & B, it can also accommodate small groups. The only food served is a continental breakfast in a smallish kitchen. But there a huge number of cafes and restaurants available within a very short walking distance plus the kitchen is available for guest use. Nelson, who is the director of the center, calls it a B & K – bed and kitchen and often, she says “the kitchen becomes a community centre.”
The retreat centre has anywhere from 18 to 24 practitioners (some Mexican, others U.S. expats) each with his or her own individual businesses. While some spa services are available, primarily massage, this is not a spa. There is no wet area, no mani/pedis. “It’s more about the personal growth rather spa,” says Nelson. They want to stay within the vision of “healing the whole person.”
Clients come from Canada, the U.S., Europe and as far away as Australia – mostly, says Dispenza. “people who are looking for personal growth and wellness as a lifestyle,” Often, he says, people are in transition – a divorce, death in family, empty nest syndrom or they have a health issue and want to try an alternative therapy such as naturopathy or acupuncture.
A diversity of healing modalities
Nelson says that healing can also come from a diversity of classes – memoire writing, for instance, “is becoming more important in self healing,” she says. Other class topics that fall under the learning umbrella include an introduction to Hinduism and altar-making in conjunction with the Mexican’s annual Day of the Dead celebration.
Things like Astrology and Enneogram which allow a person to “get to know oneself better,” says Nelson, “can also be healing.” Joseph adds, “the more you know about yourself the more opportunity you have to heal yourself,” says Dispenza.
On the fitness side there are weekly Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates classes. The place is very open to the local community. “Many residents come on a regular basis,” says Nelson.
In addition to regular classes, they also have scheduled retreats. One novel theme is a Shaman-led group Rebirthing Retreat at a local thermal mineral spring called La Gruta.
Guided retreats are customized to the persons, couples or small groups with scheduled sessions with Nelson and Dispenza plus select practitioners according to personalized program designed for each client’s needs. There are also non-guided retreats where guests can just select their own collection of lectures, workshops and treatments or therapies.
One of the newer additions to the LifePath program will be the addition of small hands-on cooking classes led by Alicia Rivero a self-proclaimed "lifelong avid cook" from Brooklyn, NY who moved to San Miguel close several years ago. The former chef, restaurant- owner and now owner of the local Casanova Bakery, will offer LifePath guests classes such as Cooking with the Senses, Gluten Free Baking and a From Scratch series to learn how to make condiments such as mustard, Ketch-up and salsa.
The goal, she says, will be "to empower people to eat healthfully."
One of the points of distinction with LifePath classes is that they are open to local residents and visitors who are welcome to just drop by.
I attended Dispenza's weekly DreamWorks class and of the six guests in the class, four were locals who are a regular part of the group.
And costs? Just like most things in San Miguel, prices are very reasonable: The 90 – minute DreamWorks class is just fifty pesos (less than $5 U.S.) A private session with Nelson is $150 pesos (that’s less than $60 U.S.) A customized, weeklong, guided retreat including accommodations starts at about $1,500 U.S. Most of the practitioners have their own fee schedule and all are very reasonable by Canadian and U.S. standards.
The wellness aspect of San Miguel
Nelson explains that the town of San Miguel perched here in the mountains (over 2100 meters/about 7,000 feet) about sea level, is thought to sit on a bed of quartz crystal. Tending to magnify energy, both positive and negative, it is considered to be a spiritual centre much like Sedona.
She says the energy “magnifies feelings which are needed to start the healing process."
Dispenza adds, "People gravitate to certain places. We don’t know exactly why but SMA has something that seems to help the wellness process along.”
I tend to agree.
During my time here (five weeks as I write this) I have witnessed the positive energy that practically bubbles from almost everyone you meet. People just seem to be happy, at peace, content. There is a wonderful sense of community here – both in San Miguel AND at LifePath.
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