5 Fresh Ways to Find Your Adirondack Wellness Escape

A desire to help heal people has long shaped Saranac Lake, dating back to the days of its “cure cottages,” where, in the time of tuberculosis, local residents built houses to maximize visiting patients' exposure to light and air to overcome the devastating disease. Today, that legacy of healing lives on in other unique forms, including yoga classes in the wilds and massage sessions in the middle of a lake.

Forest Bathing

No, it doesn’t mean literally taking a bath in the woods. Forest Bathing, or “Shinrin-yoku” as the Japanese who started this trend in the 1980s call it, is more like a stroll in the woods, but there’s no goal or end destination in mind. Rather, the point is to immerse yourself in the sights, smells, and sounds of a natural setting – proven to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and even lower blood pressure. And what better place to put these principles into play than the Adirondacks? Adirondack Riverwalking’s year-round excursions guide you deep into forested areas at Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center, The Wild Center, the Ausable River, and more.


Yoga with Wolves

You may have heard of goat yoga or dog yoga, but in the Adirondacks, there’s yoga with wolves. At the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge Center in Wilmington, 20 minutes from Hotel Saranac, an instructor guides yogis of all skill levels through meditative movements in a building with a wall of windows looking out into the wolf enclosure (don’t be surprised when there’s a yellow-eyed creature staring you down during sun salutations). The classes are followed by an up-close meet and greet of the center’s most majestic canines, Kiska, Cree, and Zeebie.


SUP Yoga on mirror lake

You’ll find a handful of yoga studios offering drop-in classes in town – including Earthshine Yoga Studio, Inner Quest Yoga & Wellness Center, and Sammati Yoga Center. But, if looking to broaden your horizons beyond the typical studio setting, SUP Lake Placid offers 75-minute vinyasa flow classes on Lake Placid’s mountain-ringed Lake Mirror, where the provided extra-wide boards serve as water-bound mats.


Sound Healing

Ever listened to music for the purpose of relaxation? Then you’ve experienced the beginnings of sound healing, one of the oldest and most natural forms of healing, which uses the power of sound to restore one’s mind, body, and spirit back to a state of balance. And Saranac Lake is home to the studio of Certified Sound Healing Practitioner Andrea Lisette Villier, who uses the commonly found Tibetan singing bowls as well as more unusual instruments, including a surpeti (a cross between an accordion and a pipe organ) and a crystal singing pyramid, to soothe clients into a state of meditation.

Adirondack Massage Cruise

Not only does this pontoon boat excursion include a personal narration from Dan Sullivan as you putter through Lake Flower and Kiwassa and Oseetah lakes, but a zero-gravity massage (Sullivan is a licensed massage therapist first and foremost, a boat captain second). Massage on a boat? The gentle rocking of the vessel lulls your limbs into total relaxation, says Sullivan. Not to mention, the sounds of bird songs and lapping water is not from a playlist, but the real deal out here.