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Join Dr. Michael Amster and Bella Dreizler PT at their annual winter retreat held at the exquisite and remote Playa Viva. Slow down and step back in order to make significant assessments and shifts in the hectic pace of your life. Understand the impacts of stress and multi-tasking and how they lead to overwhelm and burnout. Leave the retreat feeling rested and rejuvenated with a detailed plan how to manifest your optimal healthy work-life balance
The suites are spacious rooms with a king size bed and trundle bed in which can sleep two more. All the rooms count with ocean view and are part of a four bedroom small house consisting of two deluxe suites each with an adjoining studio. The deluxe suites have private bathroom and share a large balcony with the other deluxe suite that serves as a large living room containing couch, chairs, and table. The balcony has unobstructed ocean view and palapa roof.
Eco casitas are a one bedroom self-contained little house. This eco casita provides complete privacy as compared to the deluxe suite and studio rooms which are adjoining rooms and thus some noise is heard from one to the other.
King eco casitas are each outfitted with a king size bed that can be separated into two singles, plus two single day beds that serve as comfortable couches during the day. These rooms have an unobstructed ocean view. King eco casitas have private bathroom on the same level and have shutter doors to open for full ocean view or close for complete privacy. A small table and chairs are also available.
The studios are moderately sized rooms with either two single beds or a king size bed upon request. The rooms also have a desk with a chair and are part of a four bedroom small house. The studio counts with private bathroom a large shared balcony with unobstructed ocean view and palapa roof.
The treehouse is located in palm trees as living piers raised six feet above the ground. The room is outfitted with a king size bed that can be divided into two singles, plus an additional day bed located in bathhouse, private bathroom, ocean view, in room safe, Wi-Fi common area, and a small lounge area with an in-floor hammock.
Wellness for Doctors offer ongoing group conference calls to help you stay on track and implement your new learning into your life. Their experience is that the phone calls after the retreat help the participants immensely by offering support and help when you return home and face new challenges at work.
Bella is a physical therapist specializing in orthopedic manual therapy, providing professional service in Sacramento for more than 40 years. Her healthcare delivery vision has broadened to include movement medicine imparted via group sessions in yoga and 5Rhythms, a dancing meditation. She brings body wisdom infused with heart and soul to the treatment table, the dance floor and the yoga mat. Bella has extensive experience working with physician wellness and recently co-taught at the semi-annual woman’s wellness retreat at Esalen Institute.
This retreat will be set in Playa Viva, which is a sustainable boutique hotel located on the western coast of Mexico, just 35 minutes south of Zihuatanejo, Ixtapa. Nestled between the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains near the village of Juluchuca, Playa Viva is situated on a mile of pristine and private beach.
The property's nearly 200 acres includes an estuary, an Aztec archaeological site, turtle sanctuary, and a coastal forest and mangrove ecosystem which supports an array of stunning wildlife. Playa Viva is close enough to the trappings of modernity yet worlds away providing immersion into the wonders of nature and escape to utter private relaxation.
During this retreat, you will be served three daily abundant and organic locally-sourced meals, mostly vegetarian but also with fish options, coffee, tea, and light snacks throughout the day. At Playa Viva, depending on the season, there is a thriving organic garden with a variety of vegetables. Come pick your own salad fixings.
Walk the nascent orchard and pick fresh pomegranates, mangoes, cashew nuts, and pistachios. The farm produces almost all the supply for the resort and also local small farmers who provide milk, cheese, and eggs. You are invited to come volunteer and work in the garden.
At Playa Viva, health is taken very seriously, for the earth and for the people. Playa Viva provides a variety of holistic approaches to healing, much of which revolve around a healthful diet and nutrition. In addition to providing local, organic food, guest chefs will guide you on a healthful nutritional plan.
The estuary, wetlands, and ocean side provide nesting and feeding grounds for thousands of birds. You will be able to identify and observe more than 200 species. Playa Viva regularly has guest biologist who catalogue many of the bird species on site.
Hop in a flat-bottom boat and tour the estuary, gliding past mangroves, nests of cranes, and native wildlife or rent a kayak and venture off to explore the wonders of this tropical paradise on your own. Kayaking is available in nearby estuary and with homemade kayaks.
Whether it's surfing, shopping, or seeking arts and entertainment, there are lots of transport and guide options to host you on whatever tour strikes your fancy. The focus of excursions is to find local operators and promote activities that will engage you with the local community.
One of the most popular is the Sierra excursions. Ride a four-wheel drive up the watershed to visit a family that lives off-grid in the mountains, growing all they need including coffee and cacao. This lovely family will provide you a tour of their farm and then invite you to join them for a late breakfast.
The 160-acre private reserve has trails to take you from the beach, through dunes, into wetlands, and up rocky knolls. The permaculture team is restoring a network of paths to allow visitors to fully enjoy the biodiversity that Playa Viva has to offer. You will be provided with a complimentary field guide of Playa Viva to identify the various trails with plenty of flora and fauna.
There are many opportunities for fishing at Playa Viva. These include taking a deep sea excursion from Ixtapa to catch marlin, tuna, and other deep sea fish. For those who want to stay closer to the shore, a personal instructor that has been fishing in the shores since he was a small boy, will teach you how to line fish or how to toss a perfect spiral net. Shore fish include the much prized rooster fish. Another option is taking a panga or kayak on the lagoon to fish in the estuary.
Horses are available for riding at Playa Viva. The horses are clean, well-fed, and tame with western saddles and bridles. Local farmers and partners provide to the guests their horses for riding, including a pony available for kids. Playa Viva has a horse on site used for plowing and sometimes riding. The best part of riding at Playa Viva is the pure joy of letting go at full gallop on the beach or ride with your horse into the ocean.
Immerse yourself in nature by taking a small group or private kayak tours in the many lagoons near Playa Viva. The state of Guerrero, Mexico, is home to thousands of waterfowl and migratory birds. At Playa Viva, local fisherman can take you out on their panga or kayak, for a tour to the estuary, a great way to see birds, amphibians, mangrove, and gain a new perspective on Playa Viva.
If you prefer stay close to the resort, there are also plenty of local activities like cooking classes with guest chefs, exploration of the local Aztec archaeological site, visit the unique turtle sanctuary, or volunteer at the farm to know more about the farm-to-table Mexican cuisine.
Snorkeling and scuba diving is available through a local tour operator in Zihuatanejo, which is a very nice morning excursion. You may try snorkeling in the ocean right in front of Playa Viva and see lots of sea life, however it is open ocean so make sure to have company. Take a boat from beautiful Zihuatanejo bay to a remote coral reef with calm waters, a white sand beach, and plentiful aquatic life. No snorkeling experience is necessary.
Your guide, will be in the water with you giving tips and pointing out the wonders below. Face masks, flippers, and life jackets will be provided, as well as water and juice. The boat is covered, so those sensitive to the sun will have plenty of shade. After visiting the coral reef, the boat will tour the perimeter of the Zihuatanejo bay, where you will find great views of La Ropa Beach and the city of Zihuatanejo.
Playa Viva activities team offers some of the best surf on Mexico's Pacific Coast, for novice, intermediate and top surfers. Local surfing instructors welcome all skill levels. Breaks include Escolleras, Playa Linda, La Saladita, the Ranch, Mahajua, Troncones, Playa Manzanillo, Juluchuca, La Barrita, and Las Gatas, all within a one hour drive. Playa Viva is adjacent to Loma Bonita, one of the only locations in Mexico where top surfers can catch one of the few pipelines in all of Mexico.
When it comes to relaxing and pampering, Playa Viva is always staffed with a masseuse, some of whom can provide additional spa services such as facials and specialty scrubs using locally harvested materials. Services vary based on provider, so make sure to inquire about the spa menu when you arrive.
Please book your flight to arrive at the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport (ZIH). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Playa Viva will pick you up from the airport.
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