New Age Spa, Neversink NY Challenges the Body and Mind, Expands the Spirit
by Christine Lynn Harvey

About a 2 1/2 hour drive from NYC awaits a spa sanctuary where all the time and resources are available to you to renew your body, mind and spirit. The New Age Health Spa in Neversink, NY is located on 280 acres of the southern most part of the Catskill Forest Preserve and is for the committed and serious minded---you are reminded to deposit all drugs, candy and cigarettes in a trash receptacle at the bottom of the driveway. No alcoholic beverages or caffeinated coffee is served here either.

For an inclusive rate, you are fed three healthy meals daily (vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian) that are low in sodium, fat, sugar and cholesterol. Fresh herbs, sprouts and salad greens that are grown in the spa's greenhouses are delicious additions to the menu. You can also go on a juicing fast which is designed to detoxify and cleanse the body and mind. It includes three 16 oz. fruit and vegetable juice "meals," with potassium broth, herbal tea and lemon water between meals. Before commencing a fast, you should consult your doctor.

You can also participate in all the physical, mental and spiritual programs your heart desires from 6:30 am-11:00 pm. Most guests walk around with their activities schedule in-hand, sometimes conflicted over which concurrent class they should take. That's why it's worth it to spend a few days at the New Age Spa so that you can sample the many types of mind-body-spirit modalities that are so beneficial in helping you heal and grow spiritually. A sampling of daily activities includes: a 20 minute silent meditation, a 3.5 mile aerobic walk, Hatha yoga, Pranayama breathing & deep relaxation techniques class, Cabaret Dancing, Pilates, Aquarobics, Tai Chi, Ai Chi (Water Tai Chi), Chi Kung, Guided Meditation, Eco-Adventure hikes (varying 3, 4 or 6 hours), Cardioboxing, an Alpine Tower Climb, Bald Eagle sightseeing, Body conditioning, Escrima [aerobic martial arts], and Greenhouse tours.

The spa services are an additional cost. Try the spa's signature aromatic rejuvenating facial, revitalizing face and body treatment, maple sugar body polish, healing stone therapy or Paradise Mountain Rain that incorporates a Dead Sea Salt scrub and body wrap of Rose mud. There is also Swedish, Shiatsu, aromatherapy massages, colonics, reflexology and body wraps, But a highlight of the spa is it's ayurvedic Shirodhara, a therapeutic hair and scalp treatment that begins with warm oil being dripped over your third eye in the center of your forehead, followed by a facial cleansing with natural ingredients.

Lectures by holistic practitioners are offered between 7:30-8:30 pm every night. A sampling of subjects include: energy healing, past life regression, psychic phenomena, hypnotherapy, cranial sacral therapy, emotional health and self-healing. Other demonstrations and lectures given during the day focus on juicing, fasting and detoxing, staying motivated and defining your fitness goals, healthy cooking tips, tea brewing, making herbal vinegars, sprouting and other holistic health topics.

There is an outdoor pool, a heated indoor pool, steam, sauna and jacuzzi, a fitness room and aerobics room that guests can use at any time. There are also basketball and tennis courts and 5 miles of hiking trails surrounding the spa's property. All spiritually based programs like yoga, tai chi and meditation are held in the Cayuga building; the room is spacious with sky lights facing a wide open field which features an indoor water fountain with gigantic golden Buddha. Outside, a collection of windchimes lead you to a small pond that is being developed into a bird and butterfly garden, where a hammock beneath some pine trees invite you to empty your mind and listen to the call of the birds.

The most challenging experience, the one that really stretches you physically, mentally and emotionally is the Alpine Tower Climb. Dan Vorisek, Outdoor Program Director says, "The tower is a metaphor for life." After our personality types, balance and cooperative spirit is tested briefly by walking around on the lower logs of the 50 foot tower Vorisek asks, "Think back to a challenging, tough time in your life. What was the phrase or mental image that got you through it?" He encourages everyone to find a motivating mantra. Mine is "I can do this. I can make it through this." Each climber wears a helmet, a harness and is tethered to a rope that is secured by two people on the ground. We look up at the top of the tower armed with nothing but our gritty determination under the pelting hot summer sun. Each of us patiently wait our turn as a single climber ascends the tower. Each of us support the climber, coaching a better way up the tower, cheering and chanting the climber's personal mantra.

I am last. Making my way up the first two-thirds without a problem, the experience is a bit like rockclimbing, but up telephone poles. The tower was designed by a former director of Outward Bound's national training program and reminds you a bit of a vertical Marines bootcamp. Most women think they can't rockclimb because of the upper body strength required, but that's just a fallacy. Most of the strength needed comes from your legs. As you approach the top of the tower, it becomes more challenging. Just when you're cruisin,' thinking you're almost done, it gets even harder, kind of like life itself. I sit on a suspended log that swings as I try to catch my breath for a moment. I am almost to the top, but now, there are less footholds and more verticle pull-ups. I realize having more upper body strength would be helpful, despite what I just said. I attempt to climb up a small rope ladder that offers no tension. I hang like a limp noodle. I can't seem to pull myself up. Not good. I ask the team below to tighten the slack as I have to sit in my harness and swing swashbuckler-style to grab a rope, way over to my left side. It takes me three tries, but I succeed. After a bit of a struggle, I make it to the top. It occurs to me that I never thought about reaching the top or even doubting myself because I was so focused on where I was going to place my hands and feet next. Though I was stretched physically, my mind was in a kind of "climbing meditation."

Vorisek remarks how each of us have different climbing styles. One needed a lot of coaching and reassurance. Another asked lots of questions and needed feedback. Another climbed silently without asking help, but took the team's advice when it was offered. Another was tested herself on the "Missing Link," a rope ladder with a missing part as the name implies (see right of photo). The Alpine Tower Climb taught us the importance of communication, trust, support, empathy and compassion---the same essential ingredients required in a loving, healthy relationship. "We all have these qualities deep inside of us. We don't have this in the business world, but we could," Vorisek says, suggesting ways the corporate world could benefit from such an experience.

The New Age Health Spa accommodates 75 people at a time, so you never feel like your space is being invaded. There are 37 charming country-style guest rooms, some with whirlpool bathtubs and private seating areas. The spa attracts an even mix of fitness enthusiasts, spiritual seekers and people in the middle. Surrounded by forest preserves and the Catskill Park, the spa appeals to people who want to get closer to nature. One of the spa's highlights includes an eagle and bird watching trip to see a resident pair of two adult eagles and their fledglings on nearby Rondout Reservoir near Grahamsville, off Route 55A. This was the first time in my life I have seen a wild bald eagle up this close.

Special fall theme packages include "Body in Balance" which combines a blend of indoor/outdoor fitness activities with a special emphasis on bringing your fitness outdoors including day-long hikes, eagle watching and "Adventure Quest" combining a sense of adventure, fitness and the exciting Alpine Tower Climb for total self-empowerment.

For more information, please contact: New Age Health Spa, Rt. 55, PO Box 658, Neversink, NY 12765; 1-800-682-4348; www.newagehealthspa.com; office@newagehealthspa.com

Christine Lynn Harvey is Publisher/Editor of New Living Magazine

Photos by Christine Lynn Harvey (Photos of author climbing tower by Anne Marie Cummings)

Cayuga Building, New Age Health Spa where the spiritual programs like yoga, meditation and tai chi are offered
NEW AGE HEALTH SPA, Neversink, NY in the Catskills, offers programs for your body, mind and spirit
Climbing the 50 foot Alpine Tower at the New Age Health Spa is a challenge not to be missed!
The author climbing the Alpine Tower: Almost to the top!
The author at the top of the tower. If she can do it, so can you!