Koi pond at the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens
Koi pond at the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens

The holidays are a crazy time of year. In fact, more people have heart attacks during the winter holiday months than any other time of year. Unfortunately, stress kills. Usually exercise is my main stress reliever, but I’ve found that just sitting still and clearing my mind of chatter can also make a huge difference.

I had driven by the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Encinitas before, but never thought it was open to the public. Then a friend told me about the meditation gardens that are part of the outdoor sanctuary, which are free to the public and open year-round. So on a day when I had a lot on my mind and felt overwhelmed by my thoughts, I stopped by the meditation gardens for some serenity. There are beautiful koi ponds, tropical plants and lots of greenery, and GORGEOUS ocean views. It was very serene and secluded, and I enjoyed sitting on a bench and taking in all the beauty around me. I would highly recommend it the next time you need to mentally recharge. Namaste!

The entrance to the meditation gardens
The entrance to the meditation gardens

Once you’ve said “om” and you’re ready to refuel your body, head over to Union Kitchen & Tap for brunch. The chef is from New Orleans and delivers the most authentic southern-style cuisine that I’ve ever had in San Diego. Start with the house-made beignets, then move on to the shrimp and grits, a bloody Mary with bacon, and then possibly another side of creamy grits since they’re so hard to find here. The flatbreads are great, too, if you’re not in the mood for breakfast. The restaurant also has a second location in the Gaslamp.

Shrimp and grits at Union Kitchen & Tap
Shrimp and grits at Union Kitchen & Tap

After that you’re going to need a nap. Time for savasana!

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