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A journey together to Los Cabos

Elevate / December 2014

A writer’s first-time experience of couples’ mindful meditation

It has taken many years, and nearly four thousand kilometres, but I’m here: Perched on the edge of the Sea of Cortez, on the southernmost tip Mexico’s Baja Peninsula (aka “Whale Point”), my eyes squeezed shut and legs folded close, breathing deeply. I sneak a peak at my adorably smug boyfriend—a daily meditator, naturally, if only to manage with his high-strung girlfriend—and he’s making this Mexican meditation lesson look easy.

Just a few hours earlier, we’d had our customary airport squabble: You didn’t check in? I thought you would check in! Why do I always have to check in? Let’s just check in then. Great, now we can’t sit beside each other. You’ll probably enjoy that anyhow. Yeah, go talk that guy’s ear off. I intend to!

You get the idea; we need to relax. Luckily, we’re in the right place: the luxe Esperanza hotel in Los Cabos, an elegant recreation of a classic Mexican village with winding stone pathways and cliff-top dining, panoramic views of surf and sky and sea lions relaxing on rocks all around us. Mexico’s “sexiest resort”—visited by Obama and Beyonce, that’s how sexy it is—is kid-free and relaxation-centric, with daily complementary classes in yoga, vegetarian cooking and, obviously, meditation.

People often think meditating is by nature a solo endeavour, but meditation for couples—popping up more and more in forward-thinking fitness centres like the Esperanza’s—is a logical progression. “Anything that uplifts your spirit, changes your energy and pulls the best out of you will be good for your relationship,” says Alma Hernandez, a ten-year practicer, as well as the Esperanza’s on-site yoga teacher and mediation expert.

Hernandez sees a lot of pairs like us—one gung-ho, the other skeptical—but suggests my eye rolls are very normal: “The first thing you’ll experience is discomfort. Your body will tell you it hurts, it’s tired, then the mind gets irritated. It tells you to quit, that meditation isn’t for you,” she says. This, when it’s not darting elsewhere, is exactly what my mind is saying.

But only meditation, she says, can conquer irritation. “You can’t experience peace and agitation, it’s either/or,” she says. (Especially in an airport, I might add.) But master your perspective skills now—with birds chirping and a cool Pacific breeze—in order to control agitation elsewhere, says Hernandez. That’s not all: Mindfulness meditation reduces stress, bridges the gap between thoughts and feelings, and increases empathy to yourself and your partner.

Don’t just do something, says the old adage, sit there! So we do: For a whole hour, back straight and pelvis tilted forward, we sit beside each other and just breath. “Try to keep all inhalations and exhalations through the nose,” advises Hernandez, “inhale as much as you can and then a little more.” We use alternate nostril breathing techniques (inhale left, exhale right, inhale right, exhale left) to “cleanse the central nervous system” and rid the mind of distractions. I don’t know if I’m quite there, yet, but I do feel my awful airport self has been left in Toronto.

We finish with visualizations: the colour red, the colour of love, and the fourth chakra Anahata, the chakra of selflessness and empathy, compassion and devotion. “Be aware of your body, it’s the only one you’ve got right now,” she says. Ditto your boyfriend, and so I vow to take the good energy with me. We do one last mantra together, literally on the same wavelength at least for the moment. “Your energies are combined and united, you’re aware of the tendency of separation and aware that you’re the same.” That is, we both hate airports and love fancy resorts. And there are no disagreements there.

Relaxation and romance in Los Cabos:

The Spa at Esperanza: As everything else, expect an authentic Mexican experience—all with local organic essences and oils—at this Auberge spa, all amongst gorgeous indoor/outdoor space. I sipped on a tangy “Spagarita” during a foot and hand soak, citrus exfoliation, followed with a gentle Baja Lime moisturizing massage; my lucky fellow couldn’t resist the tropical essence massage with coconut oil and lime compress.

Dinner at Cocina del Mar: Open to the public too, Cocina del Mar is known far and wide for its fresh seafood and creative concoctions. Executive Chef Gonzalo Cerda, from Argentina, served us sea scallops with fois gras sauce and local sea bass with asparagus and iberian ham—all individualized for every taste and diet (vegan and gluten-free too!).

Sunset Sailing Cruise: For a romantic sunset over the bay, try one of Cabo Ocean Sailing Adventures’s many tours, including snorkeling and whale watching. Meet at the marina for a three-hour tour of Cabo San Lucas’ bay, with the famous arch and Lover’s beach. Also Tequila Sunrises and snacks to nibble while you snuggle beneath your blanket. Visit www.cabosailing.com.

Or just stay in: No judgement if you’d rather lock yourself in your casita—even the standard room is 925 square feet with a private infinity pool overlooking the sea. Not to mention the deep soaking tub, double shower, yoga supplies, free high-speed wi-fi and a huge flat-screen. So by all means, order room service and get comfy.