Discover your Zen in different ways


Sitting in the saddle, cooking in the kitchen or running a trail can bring a sense of self discovery we never knew was hiding deep inside. Its that willingness to take that plunge to expand our world, to learn. ZenSeekers is all celebrating the transformation you feel when you accept the challenge to try something new. Here’s some ideas to get you exploring.

Trail riding in the back country of Waterton National Park

Saddling up for a 5 to 7-day adventure on a horse to explore the back country gives you plenty of time to appreciate the wilderness, solitude, your own thoughts and a dang good saddle. The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies is a not-for-profit band of riders who have been taking wanderlusts into the mountains of Alberta for nearly 100 years. You bring your sense of adventure and the Trail Riders, supply the rest. A sturdy horse carries you into breathtaking alpine settings each day while a camp cook prepares delicious home-style meals fit for a cowboy for your return. After an evening of sitting around the campfire, listening to cowboy tails, learning about the parks or watching the stars float by you’ll fall fast asleep in teepees or trapper’s tents to rest up for tomorrows trails. It’s amazing how fast you are immersed in the “cowboy way” and bond with your horse. You will unplug from the city and plug into the great outdoors.

Travel Alberta has a list of other Horseback guides here

Run away for a yoga and running boot camp

Are you a runner? A yoga enthusiast? Or both? There are many camps to test your abilities but we stumbled across this women-only camp this year that opened our minds to realize how tough you are; both physically and mentally. The Retreat Golden Camp offers twice daily yoga, training skills to run through alpine meadows and through the springtime snow. Running the trails wasn’t easy but going at your own pace, remembering the tips from the instructors and believing in yourself saw everyone reach the summit. The deluxe accommodations at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort caps the weekend off perfectly. Check it the running retreat or the cross-country retreat here.

Check out this other camp held at the Hollyhock on the island of Cortes, B.C. Two of Canada’s authorities will have you running faster after their camp. Marilyn Arsenault is one of Canada’s swiftest master’s marathoners and Michael Stone is a Buddhist meditation teacher. By combining their teachings, you will focus on better techniques of running with a clearer focus.

Learn to cook with flair

Mission Hill
Photo: Steve MacNaull

My granny used to say, “A little learning won’t hurt – especially in the kitchen.” And she is right – I needed help. Learning how to appreciate your ingredients will change a humdrum meal into a rewarding experience for you and your guests. So, why not spend an afternoon or an evening hanging out with a chef. You can learn tips, tricks, and how to present a meal to your guests that is pleasing for the eyes and the palate. In Calgary check out the Cuisine et chateau in Kensington. Thierry Meret, Chef de Cuisine and Marnie Fudge – yes, she is a pastry chef, host intimate cooking classes where you will learn hands-on to impress your guests or just the family at the table.

Many of the wineries in the Okanagan now have rows of granite tabletops in classrooms where you can slip on an apron and learn to pair food with the flavours of the wines. Check out places like Hester Creek, or read writer Steve MacNaull’s story about learning to cook at Mission Hill.

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