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Winter Escapes: Where NYC’s healthiest recharge their batteries

New York City snowWinter is rapidly approaching, which, in New York City, means slushy sidewalks, chapped lips, and waking up in the dark. Everyone needs an escape to recharge, so we asked six New Yorkers who are known for their wellness smarts—in yoga, fitness, natural beauty, acupuncture, and nutrition—where they go to escape, and what they do to stay energized and balanced during the cold winter months.

Sadie NardiniSadie Nardini, Yogi, Founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga

Since I’m a NYC yogi, one who works all the time, and someone who is usually over the cold weather about two weeks into winter, I love to multitask and hold yoga vacations in warm, sunny locales. That way I can keep working and get away from the icebox that is Manhattan from December to February, but set plenty of time aside for R&R, too. I teach a vigorous class in the mornings and keep the day free for everyone to chillax in the sun, on the beach, with their margaritas…including me! It’s the best way to travel because I’m always surrounded by a group of friends, and everywhere I walk on the beach, I’m sure to get a friendly “Namaste” alongside all the “Holas!”

Jill BlakewayJill Blakeway, Acupuncturist, Founder of The Yinova Center

Rather than escape from winter I try to embrace it as a time to be introspective and restful. Chinese medical philosophy teaches that balance comes from living in harmony with natural cycles. Winter is considered to be a yin time when we should conserve our energy and take things slower than we do in warmer weather. Consequently, I try to get more sleep in winter and eat nourishing, warming foods such as soups and stews.

All in all, I use the winter as a good excuse to cocoon with my family in front of the fire, eat hearty foods, and get a bit more rest than usual. It’s a form of hibernation where I store up energy, ready to emerge in the spring revitalized and ready for the more frenetic pace that accompanies warmer weather.

Barbara CloseBarbara Close, Founder & CEO of Naturopathica

I like to go anywhere warm to beat back the winter blues. Florida is an easy escape from New York. But personally I like to go to LA for a long weekend to charge my batteries and escape from the cold city. Once I land in LA, my first stop is always Leaf, a raw food café in Venice that has the most amazing, nourishing food. I always start with the Druid Detox, a delicious blend of burdock root, ginger, green apple juice, and cayenne.

Once I’m in warm, sunny LA, there are dozens of fun yoga studios that I like to visit. I like to head over to Culver City to Raksa, a wellness center that has yogic arts, massages and even the fun, fringe bits such as Tarot Reading and Shamanic Healing all under one roof. Once my chakras are aligned, it’s time for retail therapy in Santa Monica. I like to go to Fred Segal to see what’s new or head back over the Venice and stroll along the canals and walkways.

Ariane HundtAriane Hundt, Personal Trainer & Nutritionist, Founder of Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp

I will likely have two escapes this year: one warm—most likely Miami. And the other one cold—Berlin, Germany, where my mom lives.

I still work out when I’m on vacation. It keeps me sane when I’m with family, and my mom loves to bake cookies and feed me with foods that have lots of sauce, potatoes, and cream—all the things I preach about being fattening. I think one of these days I’ll have to break the news to her that I’m a nutritionist.

A winter escape means recharging my batteries and doing something fun to break out of the gray, snowy New York days. Long winters can be tough for me, because the lack of sunlight can affect my mood and energy. I see a winter retreat as an important thing to do primarily for mental health reasons.

Oz GarciaOz Garcia, Celebrity Nutritionist

My mother lives in Miami, and I grew up there, so I travel there almost every other weekend in the winter. Between being able to see my family and friends and the incredible weather, it’s my favorite place to get away during the cold season. I love to get outside and run along the beach and on the boardwalk. To me, a good, long run on a sunny day is mind-blowing. If I am taking an actual vacation, I will go to St. Barths.

To get a burst of energy and improve my mood, I might visit a tanning bed at Portofino. Of course I go into a very low intensity bed and use an SPF 8, but getting a blast of the heat and light can do wonders for you during the winter, especially if you suffer from seasonal depression.

Tara StilesTara Stiles, Yogi, Founder of Strala Yoga

Thankfully, I’m in LA at least once a month for fun yoga-related projects either with Deepak Chopra or Jane Fonda, or the new Strala LA that’s opening in early 2011. On most trips, I teach a really fun and free yoga class at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood. It’s outside, the weather is great, and we do yoga by the pool! I especially appreciate that it’s 70 degrees and sunny during the freezing NYC months through March! — As told to Lisa Elaine Held

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