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Chocolate Inspires Downward Dog at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

[Our spa correspondent Melissa Mellott is back with another amazing review, in which she shows us that "spa" doesn't just mean facials; it can mean new experiences too. Sharing them with your girlfriends is even better!]

by Melissa Mellott

I think we can all agree that getting a facial, massage or any type of spa treatment is relaxing, and thus good for mind and body. As an esthetician, I believe that these treatments are good/nurturing/healing to our skin and body. 

The concept of Spa Health, however, is defined as doing something positive for yourself—something that makes you relaxed, happy, balanced, peaceful, or simply rested.  This could be a facial, but it could be taking a walk on the beach, playing with a puppy, cooking (yes, comfort food; it doesn’t have to be spa cuisine!) or eating a truffle (I, personally, could be in any sort of stressful situation and chocolate becomes my “OM”!) 

Speaking of chocolate, I recently attended a Chocolate & Wine Yoga Workshop at Ojai Valley Inn Resort and Spa. Prior to the workshop, I scrambled to find anything that resembled yoga pants to take with me, commenting to a friend about the upcoming workshop, “I don’t do yoga, but…I certainly do chocolate and wine.”  The class was taught by author and yoga expert Dave Romanelli, and over the course of two days, I took two yoga classes and had two chocolate and wine tastings following the yoga; it was like the carrot dangled in front of me … except it was the most delicious Vosges Aztec truffles infused with ancho chillies  and Ceylon cinnamon.

There was no spa treatment in this workshop, but for me, despite my hesitation with the (ouch) downward dog, this was spa health. I was trying something new (that brings me pleasure and joy), I was indulging in chocolate without guilt (I was earning it through stretching, after all) and finally, the workshop actually motivated me to start taking a regular yoga class locally (I do need to talk with my instructor though about the fact that “chocolate encourages focus and better stretching.”)  

View of friendship tree from the Artist Cottage
View of friendship tree from the Artist Cottage

Spas and resorts like the Ojai Valley Inn are successfully implementing these types of Spa Health activities, which encourage the art of health and well-being.  Enrichment comes through rejuvenation, learning and experiences. Remember, the best things in life are free … that’s good news in this economy! But it’s true … my favorite things about the weekend included the scenic drive from Santa Barbara to Ojai —a country road lined with oak trees and rolling green hills; walking on the property of the Ojai Valley Inn— truly one of the most beautiful properties; and the conversations I had with new Ojai friends and new yogis, sitting around in our yoga gear sipping wine and nibbling chocolates. It made us so giddy and happy. Laughter … ahhhh, now that certainly makes me feel less stressed.
I’m looking forward to my next experience at Ojai —creating my own essential oil healing blend in the Artist Cottage!  Check out the Arts & Leisure calendar at to see upcoming workshops.  In the meantime, find simple pleasures and create mini spa experiences in your cubicles, offices and at home! 

Melissa Mellott is a spa health writer and reviewer as well as a licensed esthetician. As adjunct faculty at Santa Barbara City College, she teaches and trains aspiring estheticians.  She is is founder of Spa Defined,,  a website featuring reviews of spas in places like Santa Barbara, California; the Napa Valley, and Italy.


1 Comment

  1. [...] Committee and senior aide, speechwriter, and climate researcher for Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) Chocolate Inspires Downward Dog at Ojai Valley – 04/07/2009 [Our spa correspondent Melissa Mellott is back with another [...]

    Pingback by Posts about Arts as of April 6, 2009 | — April 7, 2009 @ 2:03 am

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