I consider myself a health enthusiast. So having stomached a glass of grassy celery juice each morning of 2021 combined with regular gym sessions, I thought I was doing enough for my own wellbeing.
However, I had it all wrong.
I arrived at YO1 Health Resort in Monticello, NY, just as the leaves were changing over to shades of yellow and red. Having left Montclair, NJ, I was baffled that the trip Upstate would only take an easy 90-minute drive. I’d never been to a “health resort,” so naturally, I did not know what to expect. I passed through YO1’s gatehouse and winding verdant roads up to the massive entry.
When I walked in, everything threw my previous resort experiences to the wind. The hotel was reminiscent of a giant spa. It was relaxing and tranquil, and it appeared that the guests who preceded me had already adapted that pace. That’s when it dawned on me, I was doing all the right things (eating healthily, exercising, sleeping), but I wasn’t taking time to focus on any one specific activity. Instead, I was always on the go: sending emails while eating lunch, checking social media while kayaking. I was disconnected.
Tucked away in the Catskill Mountains, the name “YO1” comes from the Sanskrit word “Yovan,” meaning “youth.” Thus, the title lends itself to the resort’s core mission: to curate a destination that allows guests to self-heal.
YO1 is one of the country’s first “upscale nature cure” destinations. The 1,310-acre property nestled near the lake’s edge utilizes ancient Indian therapies derived from Naturopathy, Ayurveda, therapeutic yoga, and acupuncture. The resort aims to individualize health programs for each guest during their stay, ultimately helping them improve their lifestyle habits. The resort itself takes up a massive 68,000 square feet, which include over 40 therapy rooms.
After a swift check-in process, I met with the resort’s Lead Naturopathic Counselor, Rajagopal Manda. During our visit, we assets what my wellness goals were during my visit, my diet, and set up appointments for the duration of the stay. My Introductory Package included my accommodations, massage appointment, an acupuncture session, and vegan meals — plus access to all the classes and facilities. YO1 is equipped with a full gym, a 5,000 square-foot pool, and various yoga studios (which hold free classes nearly every hour of the day).
My suite overlooked the property’s adjacent lake and was fully outfitted with a steam room/shower, private massage room, and a balcony (yes, I’ve decided every shower I own now needs steam room capabilities). But the real uniqueness in a YO1 stay, however, wasn’t the spacious accommodations — it was the way I was able to shape each day to my personal needs from the minute I woke up to the moment I closed my eyes. Suddenly there was time to spend 30 minutes sitting at the juice bar with a book I had put off reading. And selecting which yoga and meditation classes I wanted to attend on a whim were ultimately what made the trip worthwhile.
I participated in Naturopathy experiences, which is essentially a complementary form of medicine that helps your body and mind heal holistically through practices like mud therapy, hydrotherapy, fasting, dietetics, massages, and reflexology. Though it felt like a deviation from my fast-paced daily routine, many of these practices are derived from traditional healing from ancient Indian civilizations (some as many as 5,000 years old).
The health counselors at YO1 Health Resort aim to personalize each guest’s program to combat lifestyle diseases such as anxiety, depression, obesity, infertility, insomnia, diabetes and digestive health.
YO1 reminded me of the capability we all have to self-heal. In a world where the latest pill is marketed ten times over, we’ve forgotten about the countless herbs and spices that have been helping our species survive for thousands of years. So while autumn presents the perfect time to see the changes in foliage, there’s no wrong time to book a stay and devote some time to slow things down.