The Sensei Way

Sensei Lanai
Ten secluded hot-water pools set amongst lush foliage and waterfalls comprise the Onsen Gardens. The spacious spa hales (buildings) were inspired by Japanese design.

Most people overlook the mental aspect of wellness, and I am no exception. We discuss my lifestyle (single working mom) as well as my needs (utter lack of alone time) and Washington suggests meditation.

“Meditation does not work for me,” I insist. “I try to clear my mind, but thoughts come in anyhow. Then I get stressed because I can’t stop thinking, which totally defeats the purpose of meditation.”

Washington considers this a moment, then has me lie on the floor and try some breathing exercises. Then he asks me to do three cycles of three breaths each, trying to make all three in each group exactly the same. Interesting. I focus all my attention on perfecting this task for several minutes, then look to Washington for approval.

“What were you thinking about for the last five minutes?” he asks.

“Breathing exactly how you told me to breathe,” I say.

“Were you thinking of anything else?”


He nods. “Meditation doesn’t have to be the absence of thought. It can also be intense focus, which in your case should be the goal.”

Happily armed with a new tool for my relaxation box, I head to the on-site stables for a horseback riding excursion. I rode horses competitively when I was (much) younger, and find that I’m still comfortable in the saddle. My guide and I set out westward across a red dirt flat, and with each step of my horse, Chex, I am rocked backward in time to when life was simpler, responsibilities were few, and the timelessness of youth was absolute.

The next morning, I have my blood drawn for a biomarker panel. This optional protocol can reveal internal issues such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, diabetes and the like, and the Sensei team uses these results to help determine the direction of your experience. Registered dietician Marlee Finkelstein and I chat about the Nourish pillar of Sensei, the goal of which is to demystify food and teach guests how to plan healthy, balanced meals. Finkelstein looks through my biomarkers and notices I have high cholesterol (which I knew; it’s genetic), then encourages me to add another snack to my daily schedule to give me more energy.



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