On the second day of my stay at The Ashram in Majorca, Spain—an offshoot of its California flagship, which is located just outside of Los Angeles and was founded in 1974—we hiked from Cala Tuent beach up a mountain. After two hours of trekking, I found myself alone, at an elevation of 2,100 vertical feet and seven miles up, well behind our 12-person group and wondering if anyone had ever died here.
Usually, given a week off, I would go skiing or to Harbour Island. This time, though, I went to Majorca, unaware that at The Ashram, an “afternoon snack” means three almonds and “morning yoga” means a 5 a.m. wake-up call. Ignorant, I enjoyed wine and coffee until the moment of arrival—which left me alone, with a detox headache and a sincere desire for hospitalization. But at the halfway point in the trail, our guide, Mateo, materialized. He cut a crisp apple in two, dipped it in pink Himalayan salt and gave it to me. I was saved.
Before moving to New York from the University of Colorado Boulder, I’d lived another life as a skier and hiker, but in recent years my outdoor pursuits had fallen by the wayside. For a week, The Ashram’s staff bound my feet before hikes, prepared delicious (if distressingly temperate) meals and led hikes along different trails—Andratx, Sa Trapa, Pilgrims Trail, Es Teix, Bunyola—across the island’s rocky faces. In five days I went from being alone on the mountain to hiking with the group, talking like I was walking down the street. I was restored to myself. (Not to mention the pounds I shed or that my skin had never looked better.)
Back on day two, I was frustrated that no one had warned me strongly enough of what I’d face. But when I left, I understood why it hadn’t been spelled out. It’s at the heart of what this retreat is all about: It lets you find yourself in it. The one-week Majorca program costs $4,800; 818-222-6900; theashrammallorca.com; theashram.com.