Nine Ways to Reboot Your Mind and Body in Washington, DC
Maybe you spent the last two weeks drinking mulled wine and eating bûche de noël leftovers on your couch while playing on your new iPad as It’s a Wonderful Life played in the background. That’s totally reasonable holiday behavior; no judgment here.
But it’s 2016 now, and the excesses of the season officially belong to yesteryear. It’s time to reset. And our nation’s capital offers plenty of ways to recover from your 2015 hangover, whether you’re in need of a new start for your mind, body, or spirit. Learn how to rebalance your energy with kundalini yoga, cleanse your body with a regiment of tonics and melks, or declare your good intentions for the year by volunteering to shovel snow for neighbors in need. New Year’s resolutions may only take you so far—until St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps?—but there’s nothing like a fresh start.
1. Spin Your Way to Fitness—and Possibly Life Affirmation
You’ve heard of SoulCycle, the trendy amped-up spin class whose disciples aim for nothing less than life-changing fitness. Even if you were too hungover to make the New Year’s Day reSOULution rides at SoulCycle’s DC locations, it’s never too late to sign up for one of their signature 45-minute rides ($30) that blend cardio, weights, and core work with aspirational teachings. If you’re already a SoulCycle devotee, consider upping your game with the longer (and more intense) SoulSurvivor and SoulChallenge classes.
2. Race to Good Health (With Some Help)
It’s a new year, and for the running world that means a fresh slate of races are waiting to be conquered. Sign up now for the beloved George Washington Parkway Classic—coming up in April—and spend the next few months training alongside the crew at Pacers Running. They’ve got a wide variety of workouts, from speed training to long runs; packages range from nine weeks for $130 to 52 weeks for $450.
Speaking of running, now is also the perfect time to snap up a 2016 race pass ($60-$120). Depending on what you select, these passes will buy your entry into a slew of Pacers-sponsored local races like the Crystal City Twilighter, the St. Pat’s Run, and the Jingle All the Way 5K. Most of these passes are only available through February, save for the Fall Race Pass and the Fairfax holiday race pass.
3. Retrain Your Body’s Cravings With a Cleanse
When stress hits—and boy does it tend to hit over the holidays—your body only seems to crave bowls on bowls of pasta or countless forms of chocolate. If it’s time to quiet those cravings, DC offers a variety of ways to cleanse your body of toxins and teach it to love nutrients. With Goûter, a chef-owned business, a variety of three-to-seven-day cleanses ($126-$362) use tonics and melks, rather than the traditional juice, in order to reduce acidity in your body and keep you hydrated.
Meanwhile, for those who prefer to juice, Jrink has got you covered with three- and five-day Reboot packages ($155-$265) for beginners, intermediate, and advanced cleansers. There’s also a “souper” reboot option that includes soup. Indeed, this option includes two plant-based, gluten-free, vegan soups each day from none other than DC’s finest soup-maker, Soupergirl.
4. Make It Easier to Eat Healthy Foods
Though cleanses are great for jump-starting your new nutrition plan, consider signing up for something a little more sustainable: a CSA membership. There’s a bevy of farms offering shares of their harvests in the DC area, including Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farm and Little Farm Stand. It’s best to sign up for your CSA well before the summer season, in case shares sell out.
For year-round nutrition, there’s always the flexible Washington’s Green Grocer, which has been delivering customized boxes of fruits and vegetables (plus some add-ons like pasture-raised chicken and homemade sriracha) for the last 20 years.
5. Refocus With a Yoga Workshop
While a regular yoga practice is a well-known balm for the mind, body, and soul, Yoga District is offering a workshop in the New Year that will deepen your practice, your focus, and your energy. On January 9, the local favorite’s 14th Street location will be holding a workshop titled Pranayama: An Introduction to the Sacred Science of Breath ($22.69). The two-hour class will take you through the movements and meditation of kundalini yoga, as well as show you some pranayama practices you can use at home for a quick refresher.
6. Make Giving Last Longer Than a Season
Why should the spirit of giving end in December? Make 2016 a year of giving by signing up to serve others. Get started on January 18 with the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, whose motto—“Make it a day on, not a day off”— echoes this inspirational leader’s belief in serving your community. Volunteer opportunities are searchable online and include things like helping out at an elementary school health fair or cleaning up the Anacostia River.
Then look ahead to the rest of the winter with a volunteer program that also happens to be a killer full-body workout. Serve DC has organized a DC Resident Snow Team that will activate with each winter’s snow to shovel the sidewalks and front walkways for elderly and disabled Washingtonians.
7. Unblock Your Energy and Feel Better All Over
If you’re looking for a full-body tune-up to start the year, make an appointment for a reflexology session at the Pekoe Acupuncture and Wellness Center. In reflexology, the theory goes that different areas of your feet, hands, and ears are connected to the organs and various parts of the body. Putting pressure on those areas is said to promote pain relief, as well as relaxation, improved energy, and even helps clean toxins out of your system. For all of January, Pekoe’s 60-minute reflexology treatment (which starts with a foot soak lasting a bonus 10 to 15 minutes) is priced at $100—or $20 off the regular price.
8. Spend Your Evenings at a New Kind of Bar(re)
Sculpt yourself a new fitness routine this year with not one new workout, but two. Capitol Hill’s popular Biker Barre studio offers both spinning and barre classes—and you can even take them back-to-back for maximum cardio, stretching, and strengthening. (That’s what Biker Barre calls “making it a double.”) Though normally a five-class pass will run you $100, Biker Barre is offering a Resolution Special in January. When you book the special online, you’ll get a five-class pass for only $50. All five classes must be taken in January, which is great incentive to spend the first month of 2016 working toward that fitness resolution you make every year.
9. Build a Roadmap for 2016
But perhaps the best way to reboot this year is to learn the principles of “radical inclusion.” Among the massage therapists, holistic healers, and movement instructors at Freed Bodyworks, there’s no judgment about your body, age, race, gender identity, ability, or anything else. This Capitol Hill holistic wellness center offers all kinds of therapies like bodywork, energy work, integrative health coaching, hatha yoga for people with curves, and yoga for the queer and non-gender-conforming. This is a place where your wellness never involves feeling bad about yourself.
For the New Year, Freed Bodyworks is also hosting a New Year’s edition of its Unicorn HoofCamp series with personal coach Strother Gaines. On January 5, Gaines will help workshop participants identify their goals for 2016 and set a roadmap for how to achieve them. The workshop begins at 7 p.m., and costs $20 in advance or $30 at the door.
For a more long-term approach to wellness, the center’s integrative health coach Ingrid Benecke is offering a customizable three-to-six-month Nourish to Flourish package that includes goal setting, private yoga sessions, and mindfulness instruction to build your own meditation practice. There’s special discount pricing if you book before January 31; reach out to Freed Bodyworks for more information.