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This magical desert getaway includes rare Navajo ceremonies


Photo: Restival
Photo: Restival
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Restival-Branded-Ribbon

Imagine yourself after a day of yoga, gong baths, a meditation session, and super nutritious, organic meals—no tech gadgets in sight (but somehow you don’t even miss your phone). As evening comes, you’re preparing to participate in a sacred Navajo ceremony that is rarely, if ever, accessed by outsiders, in the remote, beautiful wilds of Arizona that the Navajo call “Homeland,” or “Dinetah.”

This is Restival Arizona, created in partnership with with the Navajo people of Arizona. Think of it as a eco-luxe wellness experience—with deep roots in ancient wisdom.

“Far from the hectic schedules and technology of our urban lives, we can reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the natural world,” Restival founder Caroline Jones says of the Arizona wellness experience, held September 12-17. (Pro tip: Get your tickets ASAP, since the retreat is intimate, with a small number of participants.) “Guided by Navajo elders, you can detox, recalibrate, and ground yourself in Mother Earth while seeking mind and body balance.”

You’ll stay in a camp featuring Navajo-made Tipis and bell tents—with doors facing east in the traditional Navajo manner—overlooking the Painted Desert. And Diné (Navajo) leaders will guide you through traditional ceremonies in a Hogan (a Navajo dwelling), making the modern world seem far away.

And Restival Arizona has a few extra-special things planned that are seriously can’t-miss—read on for the top three.

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Photo: Restival
Photo: Restival

1. Navajo ceremonies that are usually off-limits to outsiders

These include Cacao ceremonies, Medicine Wheel ceremonies, and sweat lodges—guided by Navajo leaders. And in the Song Bird Grandmother ceremony, a medicine woman will use the four sacred directions to guide you through a healing ceremony that is meant to reconnect you to with earth and sky energy and open your perspectives on the world.

2. Campfire stories with a Navajo astronomer

In the evenings, elders will share traditional Navajo stories around the campfire, and eminent Navajo astronomer David Begay, PhD, will be on hand to discuss the cosmic order of the universe and all the stars in the big desert sky. Plus, you’ll be present for the Harvest Festival (and a full moon) on Sept. 16, which will be celebrated with traditional dances and songs.

Photo: Restival
Photo: Restival

3. The daily luxuries

Immersed in nature in the Arizona desert, away from technology, you’ll get daily wellness workshops including meditation, yoga, gong baths, body treatments, and beauty therapies. (Yes, please!) As for meals, the organic feasts will include everything from cacao buckwheat cereal with homemade cinnamon vanilla cashew milk for breakfast to veggie and fish tacos for dinner, and raw avocado cacao pie (!) for dessert. Not a surprise, considering Restival was rated one of the 10 best retreats of 2016 by The Times of London.

Plus! Restival is offering a 10 percent discount to Well+Good readers who book before August 10. Register at www.restival.global and enter W+G in the promotional code box to get the discount.

Restival Arizona, September 12-17, www.restival.global 

For more information, visit www.restival.global