I said yes and joined a growing global movement for wellness. And my body, heart and soul thanked me for it.
It started at sea level from my home in Laguna Beach at 4 a.m. Saturday, then drove at 5 a.m. up I-405 to the Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills for an early-morning yoga session.
This experience came on the heels of my weeklong health and wellness immersion at the Four Seasons Maui with Dr. Mark Emerson just a week before. That’s when I learned effective strategies and insightful tips to better manage my health.
This special day represents the Four Seasons’ first foray with Global Wellness Day. First celebrated in 2012 in Turkey to “living well,” the worldwide commemoration was officially celebrated in more than 50 countries this year.
As we pulled into the Four Seasons, a selection of fresh juices spiked with ginger, herbs, carrots and other anti-oxidant ingredients greeted us.
We took the elevator to the 16th floor where we climbed an additional level to reach the roof of the tony building offering sweeping vistas — on a sunny day — of the Beverly Hills landscape directly below and the surrounding L.A. mountains and the Pacific Ocean in the distant.
The light drizzle was a shame, but it certainly didn’t dampen my enthusiasm or the two dozen others’ excitement as we gathered on the helicopter pad to begin the day’s activities of wellness.
It was first time the rooftop had been open for such a public event. And what a way to begin Global Wellness Day – with a “salutation to the planet” on top of the Four Seasons with celebrity yogi and wellness expert Rainbeau Mars.
I felt a bit intimidated after watching her perform handstands and headstands with effortless elegance as camera crews from Extra and Getty Images captured her flawless movements.
“We need the rain — our planet and our state,” Mars exclaimed while leading us through the one-hour yoga session. “So open up your mouths and take in the rejuvenating rain.”
Mars’ spirit exuded warmth and joy as she led us through the different poses. We ended with a gentle bow and expressed our gratitude for our wellness adventure.
Feeling refreshed and energized, we descended for breakfast where we were greeted by the hotel’s general manager, Michael Newcombe, who also is charged with all 38 spas for the Four Seasons brand across the Americas.
Newcombe expressed his excitement for the Four Seasons properties across the world joining the global movement for the first time this year.
For Newcombe and his team, the day reminded people of the importance of living well both physically and spiritually as well as an opportunity to highlight the company’s comprehensive spa and wellness portfolio, which ranks among the largest collection worldwide.
“We all want to be healthy, look good and live a good life,” said Belgin Askoy, founder of Global Wellness Day. “Four Seasons shares these values, and we are thrilled that they are supporting this worldwide initiative.”
If social media metrics are any indication, the activities at the Four Seasons Los Angeles certainly led the day.
Newcome said Social Media Coordinator Sarah Roderick and Public Relations Director Kim Kessler shared with him that the morning’s wellness activities on Twitter had already eclipsed the brand’s previous record.
The launch of the Four Seasons private jet experience that transports guests to exotic resorts across the world generated 25 million impressions but by 9 a.m. that morning, #FSWellness already had generated more than 26 million views throughout the world.
Nearly a week after, Kessler reported the campaign crushed the previous record with more than 46 million international impressions.
As I tweeted photos of the delectable breakfast offering, I noticed our group of vegans elevated wellness to another conscious level by having an enriching discussion about the health benefits an all-plant diet.
We appreciated both the quality and care of the chef and his team preparing these beautifully crafted food for us.
The non-vegan dishes were equally as appetizing. They were low in calories and high in vibrant colors.
We were nourished with the culinary delights from Executive Chef Cyrille Pannier, a Frenchman classically trained in gourmet fare.
He talked about how his techniques and own personal tastes have evolved toward healthier options thanks to living and working in uber health-conscious L.A.
During breakfast at Culina at the Four Seasons, Sales and PR Director Julie Andrews from the Kerstin Florian spa line talked about the latest wellness news as well as shared her insights about different trends in health, fitness, spa and beauty.
Part1: Julie Andrews, director of global sales https://t.co/IUaWUUHXjq
— Ted Nguyen (@TedNguyen) June 16, 2015
Part 2: Julie Andrews, director of global sales https://t.co/tsi6XXTwKz
— Ted Nguyen (@TedNguyen) June 16, 2015
I’ll be visiting the company’s headquarters in Orange County soon and sharing more details about its product offerings available exclusively in five-star resorts across the globe.
After breakfast, we headed up to a private luxury suite for a group spa treatment of BioMeditation Therapy. I coined it nap-time.
Although previously inknown to me, the practice is emerging in spas as it “creates a foundation for health and inner harmony,” according to information posted on the Four Seasons’ website. “The proper function of the endocrine, nervous and immune systems are supported as metabolism is optimized.”
One of BioMeditation’s leading practioner is Jeannette Von Johnsbach who hails from Germany. She has an impressive resume as she personally was taught the method by its founder Victor Philippi of Russia.
After listening to Von Johnsbach’s introduction of the process, I rested on top of a massage table with comfortable linens and warm blankets.
I blissed out to a soothing soundtrack with windows adjar letting in fresh breezes from the morning’s rain.
The treatment included four different hand positions gently pressing against my still body to “activate the flow of Bioenergy.”
I drifted in and out of slumber – both conscious of my breathing and unconsciously floating in delicious relaxation.
Without any promptings, I felt my legs floating across purple velvet toward the middle of the session. I wanted to savor the last minutes of bliss but was too soon awakened by reality. And as I sat up, I felt an unusual abdominal pain. But it mysteriously left me as quickly as it had arrived.
I was proof that the body – my body — has unique ways of healing itself if facilitated by proper nutrition, physical activities and spiritual wellness.
We then shared our wellness experience over an al fresco lunch prepared again by Chef Pannier who provided beautiful morsels of shared dishes to our delight.
We ended the day how we started – on the roof 17 stories high.
The group dwindled to our a core group of three who worked on our own core with Blue Clay Fitness’ celebrity trainer, Rick Hagaman.
The hour-session focused on routines that anyone can do – anywhere and anytime. I was exhausted toward the end of the workout, but Hagaman urged me on.
I was tired but edified by the wellness journey I had taken.
After the rare L.A. rain in June, the sun finally came out. It was brilliant, casting a shadow on my figure.
Basking in the afterglow, I thought it was the perfect symbolism to an ever poignant reminder to cast myself from the darkness of illness and ignorance and instead live life fully with wellness at the top of my mind and in my heart — not just on Global Wellness Day but every day.
— Four Seasons Hotels (@FourSeasons) July 14, 2015
See how others celebrated wellness at the different Four Seasons’ hotels and resorts throughout the globe.