November 29, 2014: Reflections on Sanivan

In the midst of adjusting to winter wonders, I wanted to back up for a moment and let you know that our brief time at the Holistic Retreat, Sanivan in Hurleyville, New York, with Saniye and Ivan, was as special as I knew it would be.  If you live on the East coast, it is well worth the short trip to spend some cleansing and rejuvenating time at their spa retreat.  If you live anywhere, it’s worth the trip, too!

The area around Hurleyville is filled with ashrams, new age spas, unusual and awesome yoga such as the Kundalini Yoga that we went to on Sunday evening led by the very devoted and lovely Marilyn Valant at Sat Nam Yoga Spa.  The air is permeated with holistically cool energy, if you can say such a thing!  At Sanivan, there is something for everyone and every part of one:  Wheat grass freshly juiced…meditative walks on a labyrinth…shiatsu, a type of massage that feels like assisted yoga postures…fresh, raw gourmet foods prepared with true love and joy by Saniye in her sparkling kitchen.  Saniye and Ivan are filled with years of practical knowledge and experience with living a healthy, holistic lifestyle with lots of raw foods, juicing, and educating themselves about issues related to both Earth and Body/Spirit care. Every time I have visited, I have met people who are working with various practices to support a life committed to care for each other and this planet.  Some friends there are working with energetic healing such as Reiki, or intuitive and psychic work.  Saniye and Ivan trade services with their friend Debbie, who keeps her Gyrotonic exercise equipment in their home – must try!  It’s best described at the Gyrotonic website which states, “The Gyrotonic is an original, and unique movement practice which has roots in Yoga, Tai Chi and dance…the sequences are composed of spiraling, circular movements, which flow together seamlessly in rhythmic repetitions, with corresponding breath” (   When I had a session, I felt as if I was participating in a ballet on an ocean of air.

Marin had the joy of meeting them for the first time and also had the chance to drum with Ivan, watch them prepare living foods, a kick ass shiatsu session, Reiki session with their remarkable friend who worked with Jean, Hannah and me, too. The first time I visited, I brought Jean, Hannah, and Sofia with me.  Now Michelle joined in, too, and was thrilled to chase the cats and check out the magic of their home and surroundings.  For all of us, it was a gift to have a couple of days of the nourishment that Saniye and Ivan provide with such commitment and joy.  As I reach out and continue to develop the retreat concept in the Dominican Republic, it’s helpful to be on the receiving end for a couple of days.  I see that the combination of creating a lot of quiet space for a guest, mixed with an environment filled with caring, warm energy is a fundamental piece of creating retreat.  There’s a certain restorative experience to being in a calm, natural environment, with people committed to one’s body, mind, emotion and spirit health.

For some reason, being at Sanivan in Hurleyville, reminds me of Walt Whitman….

A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.  (Walt Whitman)

May we all continuously seek and find all that we are, with peace, love, happiness, health, safety and goodness. Everyone. xoxo


2 thoughts on “November 29, 2014: Reflections on Sanivan

  1. Hurleyville?? OMG I lived for a while on an artist’s commune in South Fallsburg not many lifetimes ago. Beautiful area, must check these guys out.
    Liked the Walt imagery. Yes, we ‘catch’ experiences as that ‘bridge’ is what we connect to inside, ya know what I mean?
    Thinking of you guys.

  2. Love to you:) Cannot believe you know Hurleyville, awesome! Artist commune time must’ve been cool. Yes, you would love Sanivan…
    Always loved the Spider Walt poem, and I know what ya mean:) hugs

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