How to Rejuvenate in Fayetteville

January 12, 2018

Several of my coworkers travel for work on a regular basis, and one of their biggest complaints when doing so is how stress and lack of sleep lead to exhausting travel experiences. What I’ve discovered about Fayetteville, though, is that we have health-and-wellness havens here that offer our travelers some surprising ways to rejuvenate their bodies. I’ve recently spent quite a bit of time experiencing first-hand everything from a yoga-beer class to a juice bar to floatation therapy. Every road-weary traveler who visits our area should know exactly how and where to rejuvenate themselves in Fayetteville.

Floating Shanti

If you’ve never heard of Floatation Therapy, you’re not alone. Floating Shanti is one of perhaps only 10 locations in North Carolina that offer this sensory-deprivation experience. When owner Nicole Walcott recently invited me to visit and do a float, I had no idea what to expect from this brand-new downtown business. What few preconceptions I did have all proved to be quite different from the reality, though.

The space at Floating Shanti is nothing short of Zen-like, and I was immediately put at ease by the employee who led me to the spa-like float room. After showering, I stepped into the sound-proof tank—a separate, large, shower-like space—where hundreds of gallons of magnesium (Epsom salts) make the room smell like you’ve been transported to the ocean.

Once I had reclined and placed my head on the float pillow, I quickly realized that my body was naturally rising to the surface of the water—an effect created by the high salt content. I turned off the lights in the tank (optional) and just enjoyed the feeling of buoyancy as I drifted from one end of the tank to the other. Not only is this therapy highly beneficial for chronic pain (and a host of other ailments), it’s such a relaxing, meditative experience that people are known to fall asleep. I wanted to stay awake for the whole float, and I’m so glad I did. Afterward, I knew that it had been every bit as good to my tense muscles and stress level as a massage (that’s saying a lot!).

Floating Shanti offers several other wellness services, to include reflexology, that I’m looking forward to trying. I’ll also be attending their Grand Opening Party on January 13th, as well as their Wine & Yoga at The Wine Café class on January 16th. Track all their upcoming events at @floatingshanti.

Hayat Yoga Shala

This yoga center has quickly risen to the top in Fayetteville, and now offers over 50 weekly classes, as well as an array of workshops and yoga teacher training. Hayat is the only business in Fayetteville featuring both an infrared sauna and infrared-heated classes, with this special heat source being known for its multiple health benefits. The word hayat means “life” in Arabic, and shala means “center” in Hindu. A life center is certainly what owner Hayat Hakim has built here.

You do not have to step foot in the center, though, to experience a Hayat class. Many local businesses, like breweries, have invited Hayat to partner with them in offering yoga onsite. That's how I discovered them recently, at a Yoga, Beer & Stuff class being hosted by Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom.

Although I have experience with yoga, I had never attended a class outside a studio, let alone one at a brewery. I really enjoy exercise that allows me to experience more than just the four walls of a gym, and evidently, I’m not the only one who feels that way. During the peak of the summer, Dirtbag will see as many as 30 to 40 people in attendance at a Sunday evening class (typically held twice a month). I didn’t find as many people there the night I went, but the group I met made me feel so welcome in the brewery’s laid-back setting.

The class fee includes your first beer on the house, and I ordered myself the WHAle (a limited edition wet-hopped ale). Beer was integrated into the class, as well, with Instructor Maggie pausing between sets of poses to allow everyone a chance to sip. We even used the pints as props for poses like the Sun Salutation. This class is as much for yogis as it is for craft-beer lovers, and the cool thing about it is, you don’t have to know much about either to participate and enjoy the unique experience.

Check out Hayat’s website for an updated schedule of all their classes, or follow them at @HayatYogaWorldDanceArts to see where and when their instructors will be popping up at Dirtbag Ales and other local businesses.

Prima Elements Holistic Wellness Center

This downtown business is the only one in Cumberland County that features a full-service, fresh-pressed juice bar. Once the owner, Audriaunna Sheridan Kitterman, found out I had never been to one, she insisted on treating me to this experience, plus a wheatgrass shot. Apples, pineapple and spinach all went into the juicer, and she finished the refreshing drink off with a drop of mint oil. Any preconceptions I might have had of juicing being a “health-nut” practice went straight out of my head. I’m a juicin’ believer now.

Then Audri pulled out a pallet of live wheatgrass and proceeded to give it a haircut before pressing that into a shot-glass. Following Audri’s instructions, I tossed the shot back and chased it with an orange wedge, “just like you’d take a shot of tequila.” I expected it to taste like my freshly mowed lawn, but it was surprisingly sweet and a little earthy. And the biggest benefit of this liquid green gold? Drinking just 2 ounces of it is the equivalent of eating 5 pounds of vegetables. That afternoon, my energy level was through the roof—making coffee seem like a cheap imitation of the real energy source.

Yet another service Prima offers is the Restation™. You will not find this holistic treatment just anywhere, so I was excited when Audri offered to let me try it. After leading me to a private room, she instructed to me lie down on a vibrational platform that resembled a large chaise. I made myself comfortable, put on headphones and got ready for the session to begin. Between the low-frequency vibrations coming from the platform and the synchronized, soothing music coming from the headphones, I was lulled into a meditative state that is hard to even describe. After 30 minutes, every muscle in my body had relaxed, my mind felt clear, and I understood how this treatment is proving so beneficial for people suffering from fatigue, anxiety, chronic pain and more.

Take the time to look over Prima’s website to discover the many other modalities they offer here. Then follow @primaelements to keep up with their special events and classes.

In addition to everything I shared above, I recently wrote about several other “firsts” I experienced all over Cumberland County in 2017. That list included everything from food trucks to skeet-shooting to a poetry slam; read more on “A Year of Firsts with Go Fayetteville.” For even more ideas on a host of things to do while visiting our area, be sure to check out the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Calendar of Events.

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