Eden Hot Springs Yoga Retreat 7

I was going to wait until the end of the week to report about the incredible experience I had this weekend at Eden Hot Springs.  I couldn’t wait to get home from my day in the field and write this.  My state of mind was so polar opposite of what I was witnessing on a Manic Monday in the ‘real’ world.

I needed to document how I am feeling- the bliss I am experiencing, the balance I feel after this retreat.  If I let too much time pass much of this feeling would become convoluted.  I needed to jot this down when it is all fresh in my mind so that I could not only share with you what I am feeling but also so I can revisit this post when I start to slip into the manic meltdown mode that I witnessed in so many people today.

This was the first true retreat of this kind that I have been to.  I was invited by my friend Emma that I met during a snowboarding trip to Telluride back in December.



When I saw the invite I immediately jumped on board.  Here is a little lowdown of Eden Springs according to their FB page:

“Eden Hot Springs is a magical place to enhance and empower yourself, your health, your life and your passions. The Epic Eden Hot Springs Retreat is co-created by many community leaders who have all personally experienced great transformation on the land and in the waters of Eden. This Retreat combines the undeniable healing power of 7 geothermal hot spring pools, vortexes of the ancient land, sacred ceremonies, inspiring lectures, delectable cuisine, invigorating yoga.

Epic Eden Hot Springs is on private land located in eastern Arizona. It is only accessible during scheduled retreat times. It is a two and a half hour drive from the Tucson airport and a three hour drive from the Phoenix airport.

These rejuvenation retreats are about employing what is essential to your well being: pure food, healing water, sunshine, earth, fresh air and lots of laughter and joy! You will have the opportunity to connect with nature and community, soak in any of the seven geothermal hot spring pools, learn about vibrant living, clear and expand your mind, purify your body and soften your heart.”

Now… you are reading all this and thinking what in the world would this Paleo meat eating, weighlifting, speed mountain climbing chick want to do with a Raw Vegan Yoga Retreat?

I am a lover of all people and experiences that are positive and uplifting.  I don’t care if you don’t eat meat, only eat meat, eat raw foods, eat bugs, or roadkill… if you are into yoga, karate, synchronized swimming, basketball, basketweaving, or backgammon.  I have this need to surround myself with MANY types of people and am truly fascinated by them all.

I don’t care who you are, what you do, or how damaged you may be.  If you are making a commitment to better yourself and do positive things that you love I am there in a heartbeat to support, learn and participate.

No one ever asked me why I eat meat and I never asked anyone why they don’t.  I never paraded around with my bacon- I was very discrete when I did enjoy my animal protein.  We all had a very mutual respect for each other.  I also love vegan food- I could possibly consider myself a meat eating vegan sans the grains – as one of the members of this retreat so well described herself too.  I liked that term- it shows that no matter who we are we all have things in common we can share.  Many creations the Vegan chef’s create are indeed things I can fully enjoy.  Emma made some incredible cuisine for the retreat.

That sounds like a great place to begin.  Let’s get started there.




vegan fare

Here are the creations Emma made.  Everything was to die for!

  • Top Left Photo: Dinner- Collard wrap with sunflower seeds, dulse, carrot, onion, garlic and sea salt with a side salad of fresh organic assorted vegetables.
  • Top Right Photo: Breakfast-  Mixed fruits with Emma’s homemade granola made from seeds and dried fruits.  That tasty little macaroon sitting there is also homemade by Emma.
  • Bottom Left Photo: Dessert- THIS WAS TO DIE FOR…. I love key lime pie.  Love is an understatement.  I have not had it in ages.  Emma’s pie is made from only macadamia nuts for the crust, avocados and key limes.  It was the richest key lime pie I have ever had.
  • Bottom Right Photo:  Dinner- Mixed greens and cabbage salad with a homemade cucumber dressing topped with cranberries and walnuts.  Also pictured are Emma’s kale chips and crackers.  I have had many BAD kale chips- Emma’s are my favorite.

Nothing was really off limits for me and since I knew the chef she was very aware of what I could and could not have.  Emma is incredibly well rounded in her knowledge of health, food and wellness.  She too is a very open minded individual who has so many interests in many different arenas.  I am really looking forward to more adventures with her.

I did add some animal protein within my lunches from the items I brought along.  One thing I did notice… I need to add more raw veggies to my diet.  I generally always cook them but in their raw state they really add some serious cleansing to your diet.

We have taken care of how we nourished ourselves.  Next up…





  • There were 7 hot springs on site.  All were quite different in temperature and design.  These were the soaking tubs we spent time in.
  • They vary in temperature from the large pool pictured in the bottom left photo being the coolest at around 90 degrees to the hottest pool in the upper left photo at 120 degrees- the water was actually bubbling in that one!
  • My favorite was the pool in the bottom right photo.  That pool was about 104 degrees.
  • The pool on the upper right photo is in the shape of a guitar- it is said that the Rolling Stones spent much time here back in the 70s!

There are so many benefits from the minerals and heat therapy in the waters.  I found many things online about them and my favorite was from this article.  Here was my favorite paragraph:

“Soaking in a hot spring can be wonderful therapy, for a number of reasons. The heat and subsequent sweating have a deeply cleansing effect on our skin and entire bodymind system. The specific mineral content of the spring will offer its unique benefits. If the spring is in a relatively natural environment, chances are we’re receiving the qi (life-force energy) of all five elements: earth (the ground in which the spring is held); metal (the various minerals in the spring-water); water (the water itself); wood (the surrounding trees, and/or the wooden benches etc. surrounding the spring); and fire (the heat of the water, and the sun overhead). As such, hotsprings have the capacity to balance and harmonize our bodymind, quite naturally.”


mud bath

This pool was the mud bath!  This was too much fun and left our skin so soft.

The mud had the odor of sulfer.  Sulfur is excellent for the skin and is used primarily used to ease red, itchy skin. It also helps protect your body against toxins in the environment. In addition, people with arthritis may find pain relief from taking a soothing bath in hot sulfur springs.

We had so much fun and felt like kids playing in the mud!  You scoop the mud out of the pool and let it cool down in the bucket.  We then slathered it all over ourselves and let it dry. From there we used it as an exfoliate and rubbed as much as we could off.  We then went to the pools to get the rest of it off.  We did this twice – we had to go back for seconds!

The pools were amazing along with the Eden grounds themselves.  We had the whole place at our disposal for campsites, soaking, and yoga.  Lets move on to the Yoga!







Dr. Carlos Santo was an absolute joy to have as our guide in this retreat.  Here is a little bit about Dr. Santo from his website:

“Dr. Carlos Santo is a graduate of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine class of 1997 and of the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture of 2001. He has since been in private practice in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area of Arizona where he has worked diligently to spread the message of natural health and healing to his many patients and students. 

Dr. Santo has had the distinct privilege of working under a number of great masters in the arts of Chinese Medicine, martial arts, and yoga. He possesses black belt degrees in several martial arts, is a master level yoga instructor, and he currently teaches yoga and fitness classes at the Gainey Village Health Club in Scottsdale Arizona. Dr. Santo loves to work with patients and students of all ages.”

We had several wonderful yoga sessions that he tailored to how we were feeling and what we were needing at that time.  The setting was wherever we felt we wanted to have class at that moment.  He was amazing- his energy and aura was beyond most humans that I have come across.  I felt very privileged to be attending this retreat with Dr. Santo.  He has such a love for yoga.  He said some really thought provoking things about it.  We would end the sessions in discussion.  A couple of things that stuck with me:

  • Yoga is an individual process.  Each session is different, your body is different each day, each hour for that matter.  Your abilities are different too day to day hour to hour.  The goal is to listen to your body and give it what it needs at that moment.  If you are too concerned with making that newest pose stick or how many headstands you can achieve you are missing the point.  It is about listening to your inner voice and giving it what it wants at that moment.  Living in the present.  It is physical, mental and spiritual.
  • The history of yoga and where it was initially developed was ancient India to attain a state of permanent peace.  Hindu monks brought yoga to the west in the 19th century.  It’s popularity grew in the 1980s.
  • The 1980s were the pinnacle of bigger, faster, richer, more.  We were obviously looking for a way to find some peace in the midst of all this chaos surrounding our material lives.  Fast forward to present times and there are yoga studios on every corner.
  • The original creators of this practice have abandoned it and are chasing our Western ways of material goals.  We have come full circle and have realized all this stress has really caused us some serious health issues as a country so people have been searching for this enlightenment and getting back to basics to balance ourselves again.

I do want to make it clear that the upper left photo is NOT ME.  That woman was amazing in her practice and in her late 40s!  Dr. Santo also had a Birthday while we were on the retreat and turned 48 years young.  These two look incredible for their age an their spirits were young and vibrant.  I was in awe of them both.




I was in awe of everyone on this retreat.  I went alone and only knew Emma.  I went in with an open mind and open heart.  I found 10 other people with the same kind-hearted openness.  I learned something from every single one of them.

We had several group discussion sessions with Dr. Santo to discuss many things regarding the big picture of what Wellness really means.  Some of the take-away’s I experienced:

  • Wellness is really about 4 things.  Earth, Fire, Water and Sky.  To maintain an overall wellness we need to have all four of these things in balance.  If you have too much fire, you need to understand how to add some water to cool that flame.  If your head is too far in the clouds, you need the earth to ground you.  Any one of these being slightly out of balance can do some serious damage to our health
  • We need to focus on discovering the CAUSE of illness- not how to live with illness.  It is started within- healing is something that goes from the inside out.
  • Start with nutrition, then herbs, minerals, vitamins and homeopathic remedies.  Only use prescription and IV therapy as a last resort.
  • With all the technology we have available much of the genetic testing has created an astounding amount of fear that we can find out if we are carriers for certain cancers and diseases.  Just because you may have something in your genetics does not mean it will happen to you for certain.  Managing your lifestyle is the best prevention period.  Dr. Santo has a history of heart disease in his family- looking at Dr. Santo there is no way that man is going to have a heart disease.  Manage your lifestyle, manage the media, manage your fear.

One final thing to note- of the 11 people on this retreat 75% of us are in the healthcare industry.  Doctor, nurses, consultants, sales, insurance all involved in the guts of America’s healthcare.  That to me is quite possibly the most important take away from the retreat.  What do we know that others don’t?  Wellness- and how to actively work on it.

Until our next conversation… Namaste.  Be good to yourself- you deserve it.


7 thoughts on “Eden Hot Springs Yoga Retreat

  1. Feathered Pipe Jun 5,2013 5:41 AM

    WOW…!!! Hope you all enjoyed to the fullest. I too had gone there with my husband. Believe me we had a beautiful time. Played with the sulphur mud too.

  2. Stephanie Blackbird May 22,2013 6:49 PM

    Jessica – you have a gift with words – and you clearly have a beautiful heart! Thank you for sharing your experience. I was supposed to be at this retreat and din’t make it. I feel like you brought a little taste of it to me. Makes me salivate for more!


    • Jes May 23,2013 8:02 AM

      Dr. Carlos-
      Your words express you so well and mimic the incredible energy you exude. Thank you for the compliments and the kind comment. I am so glad the passion I had in my heart for this experience shined through in this post. I certainly was inspired!!
      I have a tendency to fly below the radar but I am always paying very close attention and have an ability to recall things very clearly- plus you are a phenomenal teacher.
      Judging by the several hundred views of this post already- I have a feeling the next retreat will be sold out- just be sure to always save me a spot 😉

      Thanks so much for coming by and taking the time to comment. I am bummed that I did not get a chance to meet you- I hope the next retreat we will have a chance to connect. I hope we can both control our appetite for more until the next one is scheduled.

      Much love to you both-


  3. Dr. Carlos Santo May 22,2013 10:48 AM

    Dear Jessica,

    You have a true gift for writing and your piece here brought nostalgic warmth to my heart. It was my absolute privilege to have met you on our retreat. I honestly had no idea that you were paying such close attention and making mental (if not hand-written notes) during our sessions. But you nailed every important talking point with a great deal of your own keen insight in addition.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful work you do and I look forward to reading more of your blogs. We’re hoping to run these retreats on a quarterly basis from here. Judging by how well this inaugural one went we should have great success in our future!

    Kind regards,

    Dr. Carlos

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