The Alpina Gstaad is the right product for the right time (Switzerland is, defiant in central Europe, allowing Winter Wonderland sports right now). Girlahead was, as the photo above shows, last there in Summer time.
But even for those who cannot physically get to Gstaad at this point, Antonis Sarris, head therapist at the hotel’s Six Senses Spa has some wellness advice for all. Here are his ideas, below:
1. TAKE A HIKE Hiking is advantageous regardless of the season. In an alpine environment the natural chemicals secreted by evergreen trees, known as phytoncides, can improve our immune function. Take a 20-minute brisk walk in the morning and evening. If you’re already fit, try more vigorous uphill and downhill walking to lower bad LDL cholesterol. Walking downhill is twice as effective in improving blood sugar and insulin intolerance: walk with small steps, place your feet carefully and zigzag down to protect your knees. Walk with the five senses (perceiving colours, sounds, tactile sensations, tastes and aromas) and appreciate nature, whatever the weather.
2. BREATHE IN THE SUNLIGHT Breathing connects us with our inner body and is our highest self-healing method. It can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, decrease stress hormones and improve immunity.Stand upright and close your eyes towards the sun. Stretch out your arms and inhale upwards and then, with the palms of your hands facing downwards, exhale three times vigorously, inhaling fresh energy and pressing bad energy and negativity down to be absorbed by the earth. Even short exposure towards the light in mindfulness can be a game changer. If you can, sit and work next to a window.
3. RAISE THE VIBRATION AND RECONNECT Everything in the universe has a vibrational frequency. Sound healing and vibrations have many health benefits, can calm and balance your mind, improve Nitric oxide production and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. Try a Tibetan singing bowl, placing it on different chakras. Hum while lying down and experiment with the different vibrations you experience. Book The Alpina Gstaad’s new Power Vibration Retreat (5 or 10 days), through a blend of vibratory sound and energy healing treatments, sophisticated daily mindfulness, and breathing techniques. Sense, feel and experience inner pulses and energy movement through the chakras and body vital points with breathing and meditation, sound healing, energy treatments and physical training.
4. BECOME AN ALCHEMIST Create a seasonal theme: choose a relaxing, nature photo from your favourite season and place it where you can see it often. Collect herbs and fragrances such as lavender, rosemary, rose petals and chamomile flowers – herbal aromas that evoke memories of this season – and burn the scents or use incense sticks. Play music or sounds from nature, prepare a bath with the herbs, close your eyes and sip a herbal tea.
5. WINTER ALFRESCO Bring the warmth outside: get a mini coal burner (or try a gas or infrared heat source) and prepare a high quality green or herbal tea. Let the moment unfold, watch the smoke and listen to the soothing sounds of boiling water and the crackling of the glowing coals.
6. LEARN FROM TIBETAN MEDICINE In cold weather, one of the best things to eat is bone stock – for protein – with ginger, asafetida and nutmeg. Boil the broth for two to three hours and drink a glass every evening for a few days. In winter, it’s important to eat more sweet, sour and salty flavours and foods such as pear, apple, banana, sweet-tasting vegetables. From time to time apply warm packs (of salt, sand, herbs, hot stones and ceramic) to the back, abdomen and joints. They help circulate the blood and energy flow deflected by the external cold temperature, and also prevents seasonal joint pains.
7. NEW YEAR DETOX Cleansing your system will boost your natural immunity, and the New Year is a popular time to detoxify. Turn to a healthier diet, cleanse your inner body with herbal supplements or a colonic. Scrub the skin with alpine salt or try dry brushing with a natural bristle brush.
8. STAY YOUNG Biohack your brain with binaural beats and induce a meditative relaxed state. Write a gratitude journal – listing three things that you are grateful for each day. Eliminate negative thoughts and toxic emotions by writing in a journal and burning it afterwards. Practice a daily ritual (best in the morning) that makes you feel present. If necessary, take some supplements (adaptogen powders, nootropics) to improve brain and body function. Keep smiling; your smile is radiant, use it.
9. GET HIGH Get to a higher altitude or visit your nearest hypoxic training studio. Amplify your oxygen absorption, improve your oxygen transportation, enhance production and rejuvenate mitochondria. Or simply learn some breathing skills from Tibetan yoga (called Tummo). The yogis survive in very cold environments just with these techniques, where they are able to produce enough body heat to dry wet sheets!
10. CORE BODY TRAINING This ancient practice that promotes health and strength. Yoga, Tai chi and Pilates all involve this type of training as the core muscles (transversus abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor) are essential to improve balance and stability. Before we do any other movement, core muscles are activated to provide support. Try some simple yoga exercises like tree pose, plank or side plank, cobra or bridge.
And, adds Girlahead, that non-professional – but who cares? – keep SMILING. And listen to Six Senses’ CEO Neil Jacobs on MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST, below: