Bring Stillness Into Your Incentive Trip to Scottsdale

October 29, 2018

While many incentive trips focus on activity and team building, there are many ways to incentivize and rejuvenate your team. A new trend is developing on this front – the idea of a stillness tour. Bringing quiet and stillness into an incentive trip or meeting focuses on removing technology and high stimulus.

Scottsdale, Arizona offers multiple ways for groups to unwind and experience stillness.  

The feeling of sound

Yes, you read that right. You can experience the feeling of sound through bowl and gong vibrations by booking a Yoga and Sound experience at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa. The 2017 Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List property is a Scottsdale, Arizona landmark.

This property was built in 1926 to be a vacation home. It was turned into an inn in 1948. When you pull into the property, you feel like you are coming to visit a friend as opposed to checking into a hotel. Unique features abound, including palm trees within the restaurant, that were worked into the architecture rather than removed or relocated. And the stillness begins as soon as you enter the space for your yoga and gong meditation.

The Royal Palms’ director of sales, marketing and events, Sabrina Guerrero, discussed how the experience brings the feeling of sound to the Valley.

“The concept goes back thousands of years and is based on a therapy and meditation practice,” said Guerrero.

She added, “Gongs and bowls produce vibrations at varying frequencies, and these vibrations are thought to penetrate our body’s cells to help with stress, depression and other various ailments. By providing a therapeutic experience, clients are able to benefit from quieting the mind and invoking the senses.”

Participants start with simple stretches and breathing and then lie down on yoga mats, with many closing their eyes or draping a towel over the eyes to enhance the connection to the sound vibrations. Gongs and bowls are then struck at different points to create different frequencies, and in many instances, a portable gong is moved around and over participants to maximize the vibration benefits.

The stillness in the meditation and the feel of the vibration allow the mind to quiet and the focus to be redirected to the feeling of sound. Once the gong therapy is concluded, participants typically feel more energized yet also more relaxed, and come away with a sense of calm.

This incentive option can work for a sizeable group and provides a way for participants to unplug from technology for a bit.

The feelings of lightness and movement

In the recently remodeled spa at the Phoenician Resort, guests can experience a yoga practice that is on trend and provides added elements of lightness and movement: Aerial Yoga. Even newcomers to the practice are able to work within the apparatus, which helps guide poses and movement.

Tara Truax, group sales manager at the Phoenician, commented that both guests and locals alike come to try the aerial aspect of yoga practice.

“The idea behind adding the hammock to the yoga practice is to help participants move into and out of poses, explore new movements that only anti-gravity yoga can provide, and refine traditional techniques,” Truax explained.

She continued, “The hammock provides a cradle for particular poses, helps with balance and allows different stretching options that are enhanced by the aerial positions. And because of the concentration required by first time aerial yoga practitioners, yogis of all levels are challenged to go beyond self-imposed limits.”

The use of the hammock to do inversions, stretching and poses is guided by a certified aerial yoga instructor in a small classroom setting. The camaraderie and encouragement of participants as each tries new poses brings team building to a new level. And participants are ‘in the moment’ during the practice because of the group engagement and desire to try something out of the ordinary.

The feeling of awe

With nearly year-round perfect weather (average of 300 days of sun) in the Valley and desert landscapes that are as abundant, the majestic nature of the Sonoran desert can bring in a sense of awe and wonder to an incentive trip.

The best way to view this incredibly diverse landscape is by hot air balloon. There is no skill set required to participate and even those with a fear of heights will have no issue with the feeling of quiet serenity as the balloon takes flight.

Sisters Amanda Long and Stephanie Long run Hot Air Expeditions, rated the best balloon flight in Phoenix by Fodor’s Travel for 23 years. Sunrise flights are available daily, depending on temperature and wind conditions, and in the winter, sunset flights are also available.

As the sun rises over the desert, the balloon quietly takes to the air and moves soundlessly across the landscape, with even wildlife in the desert unaware of its passage. Passengers stare in awe as the sun illuminates the amazing 360-degree view. The pilot provides education about the Sonoran desert as passengers capture the experience with their cameras. Within the approximate hour of flight time, the immensity of the desert and beauty of the Valley are on full display.

At the end of the sunrise flight, passengers are treated to a breakfast in the desert and a certificate documenting their flight. With varying basket and balloon sizes, Hot Air Expeditions can host groups of up to 20 as well as private flights for groups as small as two.

Finding stillness

Stillness brings bonding, stress relief and the chance for your participants to experience something new and different. Whether you choose aerial yoga, gong yoga, a hot air balloon ride or another option, Scottsdale will provide your guests with memories that will last a lifetime.

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