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Why Ojai

A Tourist Town Where Mindfulness Is the Main Attraction

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Ojai California at dawn

Motionshooter/Thinkstock

Nestled in the Topatopa Mountains about 90 minutes northwest of LAX is the village of Ojai, which The Washington Post has called the “most desirable place to live in America,” and so I came as a guest of the Chamber of Commerce to find out why. My first scheduled stop was a facial at an herbal apothecary called EarthTonics, which proved to be one of the most pleasant hours I can remember. As I floated back out the door, I asked Daron Hope, the owner, “What just happened?” So she wrote me this note:“Your Botanical Facial focused on relaxing the face, neck, and shoulder muscles while we used some potent herbs and superfoods to deliver nutrient-dense hydration. We began with an herbal steam to soften your skin and support a deeper state of relaxation. After cleansing and exfoliating with my Cardamom Cream Cleanser and Honey Bamboo Facial Scrub, I made you a custom mask with collostrum and goji berries. I covered your skin with hydrosol-drenched cotton (these are the floral waters I told you about, remember?)—a blend of rose, tulsi, and orange blossom which together are anti-inflamm …

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor in chief of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.


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