Home Is Where The Wellness Is

January 6, 2022

Even if a trip to Scandinave Spa in Whistler isn’t in your plans, you can still experience the healing powers and serene beauty through Scandinave at Home. The series of expert-led wellness videos launched on the spa’s website on October 1, and the timing couldn’t be better. As the pandemic drags on, we could all use some extra self-care. —Sheri Radford

meditation with susan reifer. “People say things like, ‘I can’t meditate.’ Really? What about if we call it something different, and you try it for 10 seconds?” Susan Reifer might not be what you imagine when you think of a meditation and mindfulness teacher. Sure, she hails from California, and she’s been practising for 30-plus years. But she has a no-non- sense attitude about the entire wellness field, saying, “You don’t have to be sitting in a particular way by a statue of the Buddha, with a burbling fountain in the perfect scenery.”

To make meditation accessible to more people, a few years ago she started offering community-based programs in partnership with the Whistler Public Library. “There are a lot of people who won’t walk into a yoga studio, or won’t go into a Buddhist event,” she says. But those same people feel comfortable in a library—and, she hopes, they will feel comfortable trying Scandinave Spa’s meditation video at home.

“Ironically, we’re using the digital medium to help people have an experience of unplugging,” Reifer says. “The idea is for people to be able to restore themselves with a combination of the guided meditation and the beautiful imagery. My passion as a teacher is to make present-moment mindfulness relevant and accessible, to make it helpful, to be inclusive.”

yoga with carolyn anne budgell. “Life really is quite simple. It’s just that humans make it complicated.” Carolyn Anne Budgell wants to remind everybody about the immense healing power of simple actions: breathing deeply, experiencing nature, resting more. The North Vancouver resident has been teaching yoga and meditation for years. She acknowledges how difficult it can be to practise mindfulness during the deep trauma of the pandemic: “When you’re really in anxiety and it’s got a hold on you, it’s hard to sit still. It’s really excruciating to sit and be with the thoughts in your mind.”

Budgell started offering online classes early in the pandemic because, she says, “the whole world was so confused. And so was I!” She sees enormous benefit in these online experiences. “In one sense, we’ve really lost the physical connection. But in some ways, we’re almost more connected than ever, because there’s so much available online and there’s a bigger focus on inclusivity.”

Her video for Scandinave Spa is a short yoga class that Budgell describes as “super well-rounded, geared toward anyone who sits a lot or drives a car—basically everybody.” It includes some simple neck and shoulder stretches, as well as hip openers for all levels, and is “a quick reset for the body.”

workout with amanda eggleton & kyle chapman. “If there’s one thing you can control, it is your health and your fitness,” says Amanda Eggleton, a massage therapist who moved to B.C. from Australia. After experiencing two knee injuries in the same winter—one skiing, one snowboarding—she recovered but then developed back pain. Kyle Chapman, who hails from New Zealand, considers himself more of a movement coach than a personal trainer. “I want to put more emphasis on the quality of movement,” he explains.

Eggleton had never exercised in a gym environment before, but with Chapman guiding her strength training, soon her back pain disappeared. “I started feeling completely different, just healthier and stronger and more energized,” she says. That’s when the couple had a flash of insight: “It’s the chronic pain that develops later, after the initial injury heals, that people don’t know what to do about,” Eggleton says.

The solution? Combining Chapman’s training on proper form with rehab such as Eggleton’s massage. The two were already living together in Whistler—first in a small condo, then in a drafty cabin large enough for Chapman to set up an extensive home gym in at the start of the pandemic—when they decided to join forces at work as well, opening Realignment Lab earlier this year. Their passion for health and fitness comes through clearly in their workout video for Scandinave Spa. “We’re very particular with form and technique,” Eggleton says. “We hope that no matter what your fitness level, anybody could watch it and find some really important and vital information there.”

sound bath with saida jusic. “We are sound. Sound is around us. Sound is in us. And when it gets distorted people can become too much in the head. We’re trying to get back in the heart space.” For 30 years, Saida Jusic has been helping her clients to heal through massage that incorporates energy work. “It’s sort of like energy acupuncture,” she adds. “I have the ability to open up this safe place for them to just heal.”

Jusic’s always been fascinated with sound, making up songs and listening to her musician father perform. After many years of searching, she finally found a course in sound healing. It complemented the healing work she was already doing. When the pandemic hit, she easily adapted her work to online. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re in person or whether you’re on the other side of the world,” she says. “I even did a yoga retreat via Zoom, with my sound healing, which was awesome.”

After 19 years in Whistler, she recently moved back to her native Australia. One of the things she’ll miss most about Canada is working at Scandinave Spa, which she describes as “a wellness healing place” filled with incredible light and energy. The goal of her sound bath video for the spa is to bring “you back to where you need to be, where you need to resonate, so you’re more grounded. You’re focused and you’re more in your body.” Jusic says, “The intention is just to bring people back into centre, to feel more inner love and peace and joy within themselves.”


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