Between work and training and trying to keep my house from looking like it belongs on an episode of Hoarders, life can get really stressful. Recently I had been thinking a lot about doing some kind of spa day to give myself a chance to unwind a little. Then it was like the universe read my mind and dropped this little invitation right into my email inbox.
Just in case you can’t read the fine print, it was an afternoon of mini treatments, treats, and my choice of a Yoga Wall or Barre Essence class. This event itself was hosted by the new Still Point Spa – just opened in December! – which has partnered with Haven on the Lake retreat to bring you a one-of-a-kind relaxation and wellness experience.
This is a 30 minute drive from my house. It could have been three hours away and I still would have RSVP’ed “hell yeah”.
Haven on the Lake is located on….wait for it…a LAKE in Columbia, Maryland. The view from outside was really quite beautiful.
A running/fitness blog is not legit until you take pictures of your legs and feet. Mostly I took this just because my new Athleta pants rock.
I was so amped for this that I got there like 15 minutes ahead of schedule. I am habitually late but if I’m being promised a yoga class and a massage, you can be sure that I will be there early.
This place? Is GORGEOUS.
The comfortable Haven lobby.
The Still Point is to the left when you walk in. They offer a wide variety of wellness services such as holistic skin care, acupuncture, massage, body treatments, and natural nails, but they also focus heavily on nutrition which is very different from any other spa I’ve visited. The Spa is immaculate, well appointed and smelled positively miraculous. They have their own signature scent that they developed and it is piped throughout. I wish my house smelled like it all the time.
The treatment rooms were all named after acupuncture points. I thought that was the most thoughtful little touch.
Pedicure basins that can be fully sanitized after every use. They are VERY mindful of that sort of thing at The Still Point, which I can appreciate so much!
As part of the mini-retreat I would get to choose from a menu of mini-services including ear seeds, chair massage, and a delicious sugar hand scrub. I still had some time before Yoga Wall – what with me getting there so early and everything – so I sat down for couple of these treatments before the class.
So…ear seeds .I had never heard of this before. It was being performed by a very friendly Still Point acupuncturist. These very small seeds are from a Vaccaria plant. They are placed at acupuncture points on the ear and held in place with an adhesive tape. They can then be left in place for a number of days or until a small tree starts to grow out of your ear.
Obviously I’m kidding about that last part, but the acupuncturist did joke that one of the seeds was in a less visible place and not to miss it when I was removing them for that reason.
Don’t they look like creepy little bugs!? This was actually really cool. As soon as she started adhering the seeds to my ear I felt more relaxed and calm. I am a big believer in acupuncture and have had a lot of success with it in the past. While the seeds are attached, you can manipulate them to stimulate those pressure points on your ear, which is thought to bring about feelings of well-being.
After I had the seeds planted in my ears, I moved on to the sugar scrub. There were three scrubs to choose from.
The one in the back was some kind of lavender. The one in the front was grapefruit. The one in the middle smelled like chocolate brownies and I requested a spoon so I could eat it. It smelled phenomenal and obviously that would be the one I chose. A very friendly (are you sensing a trend here?) woman did my sugar scrub and it was wonderful. My hands felt great! Just in time for Yoga Wall!
This was a little intimidating at first and difficult because my hands were still slippery from the sugar scrub (maybe I should have waited to do all that).
In some respects Yoga Wall is similar to aerial yoga that uses trapeze fabric in order to deepen certain stretches. We used these straps to assist us through postures such as Side Angle, Warrior 2, and Downward Dog, which also uses that strap you see on the floor next to the mats. There is a little ball at the end of the wall straps that allow them to be removed from their place on the wall and adjusted to different heights. Additionally the amount of slack you have on the loop in the strap can be adjusted allowing you to get deeper into a pose.
I was a little unsure and confused about it at first, but in the end I really liked it; especially when she told us we could invert. This was right up my alley! Leaning back against the large strap right about at sacrum level, we could walk up the wall and hang there with our feet in bound angle. It was wonderful. I love being upside down! I swear it makes me taller.
The class was abbreviated just to give us a taste of it, but I will most definitely be going back down to take a full class soon. I wish I had asked the instructor to take a picture.
Oh and also? Lauren from Breathe Deeply and Smile was in class with me, but I wasn’t sure if it was her or not and I’m so socially awkward that I didn’t say anything to her. Next time we see each other I promise to say hi! 🙂
Along with Yoga Wall, Haven on the Lake also offers yoga in about thirty additional forms from hot to restorative and even water yoga, a variety of barre classes (including WATER BARRE!? WHAT!?), reformer classes, fusion classes, and internal energy classes such as Tai Chi. I want to take them all.
My Still Point experience was rounded out with a chair massage:
They just about had to peel me off that chair. Soooo relaxed.
And an olive oil and vinegar tasting provided by a shop called Secolari.
I will be the first one to admit that I’ve never thought much about olive oil and vinegar and how many different kinds of both of those things that exist. Some of the vinegars were so good that I could have drank them straight.
They gave me some bread though so I wouldn’t have to do that. They also gave me a gift certificate that I’m very excited to use!
Some other details about The Still Point and Haven on the Lake that had me sold:
I was trying not to be too creepy taking pictures around the pool. I could sit in there all stay looking out at the beautiful lake!
This gorgeous pool area with whirlpools, a therapy pool, saunas, a 5 foot cold water plunge pool:
The ultimate ice bath.
They also have a Halotherapy room, aka: crystal salt therapy which is an alternative medicine used for common ailments (sinus issues, allergy, asthma) and skin conditions such as acne.
And perhaps one of the best parts for a mom like me? They have childcare. I could literally go for an entire afternoon of treatments and Betty could hang out for up to 5 hours. It’s not like your run of the mill gym daycare either; they create a fun, nurturing environment for your child as well so you can enjoy yourself without worry.
This place is truly perfection: beautiful and relaxing. Everyone there couldn’t have been more welcoming and friendly! I WILL be back to The Still Point and Haven on the Lake soon and I’ll be bringing friends!
If you are in the Columbia area or even willing to drive a bit,you HAVE to go by and check it out for yourself.
So are you ready to try a yoga wall class now? Have you ever gotten ear seeds? How delish does that sugar scrub look? Have you ever gotten in a cold plunge pool? (I really want to try it!)