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Most Spiritual Spa 2011: Haramara Retreat Center

Religious faith can turn any place or building or gathering into a potential source of healing. But for those who have lost religious faith or never had it the question becomes: What might a spiritually healing spa or retreat look like? What might it feel like?The answer, as witnessed over the years, includes a wide variety of places and spaces, because what defines a “spiritual” spa is intensely personal. What these wonderful places have in common is a palpable desire to connect to a power greater than ourselves — and a clear intention to serve a higher good. For Spirituality & Health's second Most Spiritual Spa award, we choose to honor one woman’s quest to create a spiritually healing retreat out of virgin jungle and a stretch of beach. The place is the Haramara Retreat Center near Sayulita, Mexico, about 45 minutes by taxi from the Puerto Vallarta airport. The woman is Maria de Guadalupe de la Borbolla Schwedhelm, 55, an aristocrat from Mexico City who began a spiritual quest that would give her the name Sajeela and eventually lead her to build Haramara essentially by hand. The most defining fea …

About the Author

Stephen Kiesling

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, co-creator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large 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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