The CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa is a destination resort in Carefree, Arizona. It is a 30-minute drive through beautiful scenery from Phoenix or Scottsdale. Carefree is a charming and historic small town that lives up to its name with beautiful sunsets, oases in the desert in every direction, and a slower pace of life that you can feel in your soul. CIVANA could not be in a better place than the Sonoran Desert. Their philosophy is to put happiness first, and they welcome travelers from all over the world who are looking to get healthy. The goal of CIVANA is to give people time and space to wake up their souls, clear their minds, and connect more deeply.
“Like other wellness resorts, we take care of all the healthy parts: food, exercise, rest, and healing. The difference with CIVANA is that we pay attention to the “and” between “healthy and happy.” We don’t ever want to forget that each person’s wellness journey is as unique as their own happiness, joy, and sense of fulfillment.
At CIVANA, there are many ways to find inner happiness. Every day, guests can take advantage of over a dozen free classes, such as hikes, yoga, and spiritual healing workshops. When you are done healing your mind and soul, you can feed your body at two unique restaurants with healthy food from the earth.
Joyful Journey – The Habit of Happiness
This interactive, life-changing workshop will make you happy if you let your heart and mind be open to new ideas. Through meditation, journaling, and positive psychology, the class looks at different ways to make your brain wired for happiness. Learn that the possibilities are endless if you are open to new things, live in the moment, and can let go of stress and worry. In this workshop, no one is going to judge you, and it’s a very supportive place where you can move at your own pace toward happiness.
Inner Peace Labyrinth Meditation Walk
Walk through the unique Saguaro Garden that winds around CIVANA to get to the meditation labyrinth. Before you start your mindful trip through the stone labyrinth to wake up your senses, take your shoes off and be fully present. Set your goal before you start walking to live a more present, grateful, and awe-inspired life (or choose your own intention). As you walk on the rough sand in the sun, be aware of your surroundings and your breath. Bring a small rock with you and carefully place it on top of the pile of rocks when you reach the end. It’s the perfect time to set goals for the future.
Sunset Sound Healing – Spiritual Awakening
Sunset Sound Healing is done on the yoga lawn, which has a beautiful view. When the stars and moon come out, it gets cold in the desert, so guests are given blankets and wrap themselves in cocoons. About 20 people came, and our inspiring teacher, sound healer Rebecca Wierman, led everyone through breathing exercises and then played crystal singing bowls and chimes to help everyone relax. Once people are in a meditative state, a Paiste symphonic gong booms, which can only be described as very powerful and hypnotic.
The idea is to clear and clean your energy, open your mind to healing possibilities, and connect to the earth. At the end of the class, Wierman tells us to be kind to ourselves and let our voices be heard. He also sends everyone strong love and energy.
Healthy Food: Give Your Body What It Needs
At CIVANA, there are two warm and inviting places to eat. Seed Café + Market is a great place to start your day with a healthy smoothie, but don’t worry if you want coffee. Seed serves mostly plant dishes that are full of superfoods and nutrients to help you start on your way to being in the best shape possible. There are options that are gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, vegetarian, anti-inflammatory, and good for your gut.
Go to Terras when the sun goes down and your stomach starts to growl from your exciting hike through the Sonoran Desert. This is CIVANA’s signature dinner spot. It serves fresh dishes made with ingredients from the area. There is a big focus on farm-to-table food, and the menu has a lot of options, including many vegan dishes like the delicious Hearts of Palm “Crab.” Cakes made entirely of plants, mashed avocado with hemp seeds, and achiote cauliflower served with Mexican quinoa and lentils. You can sit inside, where the decor is modern, or outside, next to a roaring fire and beautiful cacti.
Chef Ashley Reese has been busy making a new menu with vegetable steaks made of cauliflower, butternut squash, and the already-on-the-menu maitake mushrooms.
“At CIVANA, we care a lot about plants. It’s about using high-quality ingredients and making sure the food lasts without adding preservatives.” – Ashley Reese is a chef.
Daily Reset Gratitude Circle – Be Thankful for Your Life
Give thanks at the end of your day. Head to the beautiful rose garden with other guests and coworkers for this powerful ritual at sunset. Take turns talking about what you’re grateful for. It’s a time to wrap up the day’s events and give thanks for what went well. The kind staff member who helped me with my bags at check-in may have been the most meaningful person to lead the gratitude circle that day. He said he was the bellman for CIVANA and explained with a smile that other staff members fill in when needed. He not only led the gratitude circle very well, but he also joined in with the rest of us. The more thanks you show, the more you’ll get back.