Connecting mind-body-spirit in less traditional ways 

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Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi: all great ways to engage your whole self. And if you're interested in any of the above, we recommend checking out our Best Of readers poll winners (see here).

However, if you're seeking some lesser-known local practices for spiritual and holistic health, here are eight across-town options in no particular order.

• Colorado Springs is home to about 10 public and private labyrinths, but one of the few that's open to the public at all times is the medieval-style outdoor labyrinth on the Colorado College campus. Eight years old and 60 feet in diameter, it sits north of the main entrance to Shove Memorial Chapel (1010 N. Nevada Ave., coloradocollege.edu), at the eastern edge of the central quad. The French Chartres Cathedral replica offers a place for walking meditation for individuals, and organized group walks by request. While it is open daily, students commonly play intramural sports on the aforementioned quad, so timing — if you're seeking quiet — is key.

• While Shove offers some primitively designed stained-glass windows, two other locales in town are known for their glass, too: Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (601 N. Tejon St., gssepiscopal.org) and the Air Force Academy's Cadet Chapel (usafa.af.mil). At the Gothic-style Grace, 40 windows were commissioned by parishioners during the Great Depression and the World Wars, and each tells a story. The Cadet Chapel, completed in 1963, features "ribbons of color" amid tetrahedron walls in the Protestant chapel, plus glass features in both the Jewish and Catholic chapels as well.

• Red Rock Open Space's Contemplative Trail (main parking lot at U.S. 24 and Ridge Road, redrockcanyonopenspace.org) is another good place to wander and wonder. Built by the Garden of the Goddesses club, the trail is designed for hikers only — no careening cyclists or clomping horses allowed — and therefore has an extra sense of solitude to it. Take your time over the 1.75 miles: Pause for a few deep breaths on well-placed wooden benches. Feel the towering rock walls that surround you. Listen to the birds. Smell the pine.

• Earlier this year, a dozen local psychics and intuitives offered in-person readings at Celebration Metaphysical Store (2209 W. Colorado Ave., celebrationstore.com). If you're seeking advice of such type, you can make an appointment for a 30- or 60-minute reading ($35 and $70, respectively) any day of the week. And if you want to learn to answer questions on your own via the cards, Celebration also offers classes.

• Next door to Celebration, you'll find Organica Herb & Tea Co. (2215 W. Colorado Ave., travelingleaf.com). Owner Clara Paulson offers more than 2,000 items in her shop, the majority sourced organically — from house-blended wellness teas and powders for every different organ to vitamins by the pill. Paulson, who's been in the business for more than 30 years, says she got into it because she "couldn't find a supplement that met the needs I wanted." She solved that by learning to make her own. Take home a pre-made item to test out, or meet with her one-on-one to design a personal tea, powder or tincture for whatever may concern or ail you.

• According to a very unscientific poll on social media, the nearest and cleanest spot for a hot springs dip is Desert Reef Hot Spring in Florence (desertreefhotspring.com). For $15 in cash or by check, you can spend the day (year-round) in, or sunning around, the calcium-heavy, sulfur-free pool. And if you forget your swimsuit, well, they're optional anyway, every day but Friday. Soak your bones Wednesday through Sunday, in the 94- to 100-degree water (temperature adjusted by season) and watch as your mind releases. (If you've got a little extra time, that same "poll" concluded that Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort and Spa in Nathrop (mtprinceton.com) was the "next nearest" best option for a visit.)

• From water soaking to sipping: The folks with the Mineral Springs Foundation say that the highest mineral count of the nine springs in Manitou Springs (manitousprings.org) is found at Shoshone Spring, which also offers the "greatest amount of deep-seated water from the aquifer system." However, it's the Iron Springs Geyser that has been labeled "the Strongest of Tonics." Stop by the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau for directions to each of the springs, a tasting cup and a detailed content chart.

• Finally, solitude is good for the mind, the body and the soul. And at the 44-acre Benedictine Spirituality Center in the Pines (3190 Benet Lane, benethillmonastery.org), run by the Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery, solitude can be found. No matter your faith tradition, the sisters welcome you for an hour, a day or overnight. Want to go about your time alone? Stay in one of two hermitages. Prefer a directed session? That's available as well. Fees vary, but retreat coordinator Eileen Beuler says that for a short visit of wandering the paths, there is no charge and you can "just drop by." A room for a day is $25 and extended lodging is $55 per night. Participate in Benedictine community life, join the Sisters for meals and prayers, or read, nap and visit the site's Zen garden, stone grotto, labyrinth or stations of the cross.


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