Goat Yoga and Forest Bathing in Switzerland
Guests staying at Grand Hotel Kronenhof through the summer and autumn months can fully embrace one of this year’s top trends: wellness in the great outdoors.
In addition to some of the more obvious activities on offer in the Swiss Alps, such as hiking, mountain biking, stand-up paddling and wild swimming, the Engadine valley has introduced goat yoga and whey baths, while embracing the fashion for forest bathing.
Grand Hotel Kronenhof in summer; yoga in the garden
Goat yoga, which first gained traction a few years’ ago in the States, is an outdoor yoga class surrounded by a herd of goats, which may climb on a yogi’s back while in a downward dog position or simply lie on the yoga mat to provide a calming influence. Having goats in a yoga session introduces a light-hearted touch, helping to reduce anxiety and stress, thereby improving yogis’ mental health. A 90-minute goat yoga session in the Engadine costs CHF36 per person (a minimum of six participants is required).
Whey baths have more history than goat yoga, having been around since the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates recognised their benefits as a health and beauty treatment. Bathers sit a wooden tub of whey (a waste product of the cheese-making process) for between 10 and 20 minutes, before emerging with deeply moisturised skin, thanks to the numerous vitamin and mineral compounds, such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus, found in whey that penetrate the skin, nourishing the body both inside and out. A whey bath at Pontresina’s Morteratsch dairy, including a glass of Prosecco to sip while you soak, costs CHF60 for two people sharing the bath.
Forest bathing (also known as silvotherapy) started in the early 1980s, when Japanese scientists discovered that trees have amazing therapeutic qualities and that simply inhaling their aromas can immunise the body against disease. Grand Hotel Kronenhof has embraced this knowledge and adapted it to encompass the five senses, reflecting their spa philosophy. Guests are taken on a guided walk into the valley to smell the Swiss stone pine (renowned for its relaxing properties), listen to the roar of the river, gaze at the beautiful Engadine landscape and feel the freshness of the grass beneath their feet, while chewing fresh mountain herbs picked en route. A two hour, guided forest bathing walk costs CHF230.
Goat yoga; early morning silent walk to Lej da Staz
While these three activities are available throughout the season, one of the best times to experience them is in conjunction with one of Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s Yoga Summit weekends that include a healthy dose of “wild” wellness. In addition to offering outdoor yoga and meditation sessions in the tranquillity of the hotel’s gardens, the Summit also includes an early morning silent walk through the woods to Lej da Staz, the Engadine’s swimming lake, where guests can dip their toes in the cool water while enjoying a mug of herbal tea and a healthy snack of almonds; the perfect way to start the day feeling at one with nature.
The full Yoga Summit programme can be found below; rates start from CHF2240 for two people sharing a double room on a half-board basis and include all the activities listed below, while the goat yoga and whey bath are optional and an additional cost. For more information and to book, email [email protected] or call +41 81 830 30 30.
Dates: 13-15 September 2019, 4-6 October 2019
Grand Hotel Kronenhof (www.kronenhof.com), located in Pontresina, six miles from St. Moritz.