Yoga on the Beach
Yoga on the Beach

Relax, Recharge, and Renew in SRQ: Treat Yourself to Holistic Health in Sarasota

Refresh your body and mind -- and brighten your spirits -- in energetic healing spaces that offer healthy eating, natural spa treatments, yoga, meditation and more in Sarasota County.

Taking care of business, taking care of loved ones, taking care of clients, taking care of the errands, the cooking, the bookkeeping... Regardless of how we spend our day-to-day lives, most of us can agree: We could all use a moment to take care of ourselves.

Whether you're planning a full self-care itinerary for your much-needed Sarasota vacation, or simply slipping away from the office for a quick dose of midday rejuvenation: there are a broad range of whole-body holistic health options to explore on Florida's Gulf coast.

Refresh your body and mind -- and brighten your spirits -- in energetic healing spaces that offer healthy eating, natural spa treatments, yoga, meditation and more in Sarasota County. You may just emerge a new person -- or at least a healthier and happier one.

Get Your Greens, Beets and Other Healthy Eats

A healthy body starts with what we put in it -- and Sarasota's year-round sunshine highlights the abundance of green goodness the subtropics have to offer. Several restaurants in Sarasota County offer healthy vegan and vegetarian fare, as well as specialty options including raw food items, locally sourced ingredients, and fresh-pressed juices.

Beauty of Sprouts offers a primarily raw, vegan, organic, gluten and soy-free menu that is full of color, texture and taste. House-made kombucha tea, kelp noodle veggie pad thai, fresh veggie and herb-stuffed spring rolls, and lavender creme brûlée are among the most mouthwatering -- and nutritious -- specialties at this downtown Sarasota health hub.

Sarasotans aren't hard pressed to get a cold-pressed juice, thanks to three Crop Juice locations scattered throughout town at University Park, downtown Sarasota, and Gulf Gate. Crop offers a variety of energizing, detoxifying, immunity-building, anti-inflammatory, and protein-boosting organic, cold-pressed juice options at each location. Get up to eight cups of raw, leafy greens along with nutrient-packed fruits, herbs, nuts and other wellness-boosting ingredients in each 12oz-16oz serving of goodness on the go.

Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis strives to provide "clean" foods -- organic, free of GMOs, and locally grown and sourced whenever possible. Dining in at Cafe Evergreen is a neat experience, as the restaurant is located in the oldest standing building on Tamiami Trail between Venice and Tampa, the restored 1923 south county bank and post office. Though the menu offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian dining options, as well as juices and smoothies -- omnivores are also welcome, with fish and poultry options on the menu.

Ionie Retreat and Raw Food Cafe, located in downtown Sarasota, offers a delicious raw menu in addition to a variety of treatments and classes. Massage therapy, including rolfing and Thai yoga, acupuncture, and crystal light baths are some of the restorative services offered at Ionie Retreat.

 Lila is among the latest restaurants to hit the fresh green scene in Sarasota, opening its doors downtown in 2016. Lila offers a variety of vegan-friendly options on a locally-sourced, seasonal menu, in which the fresh ingredients speak for themselves.

Simon's Coffee House is a standard for health nuts in Sarasota, known for its hearty vegan and vegetarian options (on an omnivore menu), raw foods, fresh-pressed juices and specialty health shakes and smoothies. Stop by for a shot of wheatgrass, or settle in for a hearty Mediterranean tofu plate -- Simon's has something nutritious for every appetite.

Bring Balance to Mind and Body: Yoga, Meditation and More

Moments of stillness and silence can be a rare blessings for those of us who are often on the go. Slow down, tune in, and unwind with mind-body balancing practices such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation to lower blood pressure, correct insomnia, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote better holistic wellness.

Kadampa Meditation Center welcomes beginners as well as experienced meditators to its classes, workshops, and weekend retreats. Many people start with the weekly meditation class -- a drop-in class that provides an introduction to meditation and mindfulness, and shares Buddhist philosophies that are applicable to any faith. The Kadampa Center also offers 30-minute "Lunchtime Meditations" on select weekdays, guided meditations, and weekend meditation classes for kids.

Sarasota Zen Center is a Sōto Zen Buddhist center located in south Sarasota. The Zen Center offers classes in traditional seated Zazen meditation and walking meditation, called kinhin -- open and accessible to all religious faiths, class, gender, race, orientation and physical ability. The Zen Center also celebrates weekly vegetarian potlucks, Zen gardening, aquaculture and permaculture training, and more.

The Sarasota Mindfulness Institute offers non-religious classes and workshops on meditation and mindfulness, including a 'Mindfulness in Parenting' class for parents and caregivers. Other offerings at the Sarasota Mindfulness Institute include meditative breath and movement classes such as Tai Chi and QiGong.

For those in the south county, Venice's Dragonfly Ayurveda and Yoga offers all-levels yoga classes, meditation classes, nutritional cooking classes and recipes, and Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a mind-body-spirit health system based in India and dating back 2,000-5,000 years, which translates in Sanskrit to "the wisdom of life." Ayurvedic consults and teachings at Dragonfly Ayurveda focus on lifestyle changes, dietary habits, yoga, and other modalities that promote wellness by tuning in with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.

North of Venice, Garden of the Heart and Rosemary Court Yoga offer some of the most comprehensive curricula of therapeutic yoga and meditation practices in Sarasota. Garden of the Heart is an alignment-based yoga studio that offers restorative yoga classes, as well as challenge levels ranging from basic to advanced.

Rosemary Court, located in the historic downtown Rosemary District, is part of the Rosemary Wellness Center. The studio is housed among the Wellness Center's collection of 1920s bungalows, offering yoga for all levels in a variety of styles, ranging from slow-paced, deep ligament-accessing Yin yoga to motion-oriented vinyasa flow classes.

Therapeutic Touch: Acupuncture, Massage, and Spa Treatments

Tense muscles need to unwind before the mind can fully relax. A good massage soothes overworked, tight or out-of-alignment muscles, and can mold a brand-new you. Many also swear by acupuncture as a practice that alleviates pain and stress, bringing balance to the body, better sleep and improved moods.

Five Petal Holistic Healing at the Rosemary Court Wellness Center offers guided meditation and massage to relax the body and mind, as well as acupuncture and acu-massage therapy -- a session that combines massage therapy with acupuncture.

Ocean Love Ayurveda, located in the Gillespie Park Historic Village, is an ayurvedic massage studio and spa that offers integrative massage, Thai massage, hot stone therapy, cupping, and facial spa treatments. Spend too much time in the Sarasota sun? Try a hydrating, aloe-based treatment for your face or whole body. Ocean Love also offers ayurvedic consultations and massage, Indian head massage, and ayurvedic foot massage.

Downtown Sarasota's Open Door Acupuncture offers sliding scale acupuncture starting at $15. The studio also offers massage and acupuncture packages, and books house and office for group "acupuncture parties" as well as house calls for individuals. SRQ Body Mechanic, practicing in the Open Door studio space, offers therapeutic massage and active isolated stretching for athletes.

In south Sarasota, Mandala Med Spa is Sarasota's only Indonesian medical day spa, offering therapeutic, deep tissue, and Thai massage, hot stone therapy, hot oil scalp massage, herbal poultice massage, body wraps and scrubs, Balinese floral soaks, and variety of skincare and facial treatments. Mandala also offers yoga and pilates classes.

Sarasota's Holistic Shopping Spots

From organic skincare and aromatherapy essentials to healing crystals, salt lamps and spiritual and metaphysical literature -- holistic health items for the home are available in a collection of charming local shops and small businesses throughout Sarasota.

The Crystal Cave is the rock that anchors the eastern border of the Historic Downtown Village at Gillespie Park. Please don't let our bad puns dissuade you from visiting this charming shop, filled with mountains of healing and energizing crystals, as well as rocks from around the world that are just plain neat to look at. In addition to cool stones and gems, the Crystal Cave offers metaphysical trinkets and books and tarot cards, and hosts regular crystal healing classes, tarot readings, and gong meditations in its crystal-charged space.

Elysian Fields has been a Sarasota standard in spiritual literature and metaphysical offerings and gifts since opening its doors in 1991. Find books on world religions and spirituality, alternative medicine, Feng Shui, and other New Age topics, jewelry, candles, Tibetan and Japanese imports, and more.

The Pixie Dust Metaphysical Boutique in downtown Sarasota is filled with metaphysical gifts, spiritual jewelry and art, crystals, Pagan and Wiccan supplies, tarot cards, New Age books. In addition to restorative yoga classes, Pixie Dust also offers psychic readings, sound baths treatments, therapeutic massage, Reiki treatments, chakra clearing, and energetic cleansing services.

The Om Shoppe on south Tamiami Trail has aromatherapy essentials covered with essential oils, incense, candles, and bath and body products. The store also carries a selection of crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, Himalayan salt lamps and accessories, crystals and jewelry. The Om Shoppe Holistic Wellness Spa offers Swedish massage, chakra balancing crystal stone massage, and crystal sound wave attunements.

In downtown Sarasota's historic Burns Court, Starflower Essentials is part natural skincare boutique, part spa -- calling itself a 'spapothecary.' Starflower offers spa treatments, including facials and massages, herbal medicines and dietary counseling by appointment. The boutique carries a full line of organic skin, hair, bath, and body products.

Part shop, part lounge, part studio -- Wild Ginger Apothecary offers a little of everything for a fresh mind, body and spirit. Yoga, pilates, Tai Chi are offered in the studio, in addition to tarot and intuitive readings, and wellness workshops in the Wild Ginger lounge. The store carries sustainable, ethically-sourced, non-toxic products that include local skin and hair care products, household products, apparel, fragrance, and loose leaf teas.

Discover Your Sarasota Self-Care Routine

Picking up a healthy habit and taking the time to treat ourselves to a little stress relief now and then is a practice that could benefit us all -- but not everyone's self care routine or vacation treat looks the same.

Fortunately for one and all, Sarasota offers a variety of healthy holistic avenues to explore -- from mind-body practices like yoga and meditation to tension-relieving massage and spa services. If you're overdue for a gift to yourself -- why not start with better health?

Treat yourself.


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