Big Love at The Chopra Center for Wellbeing at La Costa Resort and Spa
By Stacy Oliver Neal

“The goal in life is not to find love, it’s to be love.” – Robert Holden

I began my February sabbatical at my cabin in the Ozark Mountains, with the weather holding steady at about 6-degrees during the day. I hiked 2.5 miles per day along the St. Francis River, chopped wood, and carried water, but cabin fever set in earlier than anticipated. After eight days, it was clear that I would not make it another 20, so I began reconstructing my planned 28-day sabbatical.

A friend living in Del Mar, California, north of San Diego, waved me out to her home with an ocean view, but I was also in need of pampering at a resort. As I was planning my escape to the sunshine and warmth, I recalled that The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, an ayurvedic health center run by Deepak Chopra himself, was in Carlsbad just a few minutes away. My escape was aligning.

The Chopra Center has been on my spa bucket list for years. My husband and I began practicing an ayurvedic diet and lifestyle a few years back and I often heard that the Chopra Center was the creme de la creme of ayurvedic health centers on the planet. I reached out to the center and they created a media package for me to not only visit but to validate my decision. There was a LOVE BEYOND LIMITS workshop the weekend of my visit, so I chose to stay at the La Costa Resort and Spa and take part in this exclusive workshop given by none other than Hay House author and speaker Dr. Robert Holden. Dr. Holden is one of the few Hay House celebrities I had yet to meet or bring into St. Louis and I have always loved his Hay House radio show – his lovely British accent along with his topic of LOVABILITY.

The universe was conspiring for the perfect getaway. Sunshine, ayurvedic treatments, a great teacher, and time with a dear friend – here I come! I chose to immerse myself in the three-day workshop and ayurvedic treatments. I treated my dear friend to a spa day at the luxurious, award-winning La Costa Resort and Spa, a Condé Nast Traveler readers’ choice top resort and U.S.
News & World Report “Top Wellness Retreat Around the World.” Perfect for a personal getaway, the resort is also family friendly, with a variety of activities and amenities to ensure an enjoyable vacation, celebration, or retreat. Close to beaches and popular tourist attractions, the staff invites guests to relax and unwind with eight pools, two championship golf courses, 17 tennis courts, and the world-renown spa. Our ayurvedic treatments were at The Chopra Center, just a short walk across the luxurious campus.

The next morning the workshop began with an in depth meditation lecture by Roger Gabriel, one of Deepak Chopra’s senior teachers. The afternoon was spent with Manjula Nadarajah who had us crying and laughing all at once throughout her talk, “Shine Your Light.” Day two began with Kundalini Yoga with Libby Carstensen. Dr. Holden joined us in this heart opening yoga, which prepared and opened us up to a full day of inspiration. Dr. Holden guided us down the path of recognizing what love is and how to increase it in every area of our lives.

Prior to the last day afternoon session, I checked out so that I was prepared to exit immediately and attend an art opening in San Diego. I dressed for the event but went light on the makeup, expecting another afternoon of heart opening tears. Instead, I walked into the sanctuary to find 150 workshop participants on their feet dancing to Stevie Wonder. The love fest was now a high energy dance group, followed by another immersion session into the field of infinite possibilities. I left feeling a natural high, with an open heart and refreshed spirit.

By being open to changing my initial plan for my sabbatical, I was able to find the physical, emotional, and spiritual recharge I needed and more. This clearly should not be a once in a lifetime visit but should be an annual retreat on my journey to optimal health and wellness.


Dr. Robert Holden and Stacy Oliver Neal