bal harbour blog

Well, Well, Well

Culture Watch

By Alyssa Shelasky

Feeling good is the new looking good. Fad diets and 5-pound weights have been replaced with charcoal supplements, mantras and meditation retreats. Perhaps due to the frenetic pace of our lives, more people are seeking out new (though in fact, quite old) methods to restore inner balance, a psychological sense of emotional purity and a healthy (with a capital H) body that is as rested as it is strong. Here, we speak to Abdi Assadi, Sue and Alex Glasscock and Gabrielle Bernstein about their expertise on a life well-lived, and the tools they use to get their clients there.


The Wilderness Whisperers
Sue and Alex Glasscock, Malibu, California

If a wellness retreat is on your agenda, it’s time to check out The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu. The luxe yet minimalistic property buried in the woodsy terrain of Southern California prides itself on a program built on hours of non-negotiable daily group fitness—hiking, core training, yoga and more—and no access whatsoever to technology.

The intensive week-long program was created by Sue and Alex Glasscock, a radiant married couple who lead by example with their exercise-rich lifestyle and frankly, by keeping it real.  “Our philosophy on wellness is all about living a balanced and fun life,” says Alex. “Having knowledge and consciousness, but not being so rigid.  We want to create habits that are sustainable. We have to remember ‘wellness’ means different things to different people; we are about making and living a life that works for you personally.”

Personalization aside, all guests are sent on 10- to 12-mile morning hikes through the stunning mountains and cliff sides of Malibu, occasionally in silence. “It gives you space and mental freedom to reflect. Reflection is the ultimate goal,” says Glasscock. The couple has recently launched R4.0, a shorter and slightly more lenient version of the original program for guests desiring a jump-start to a healthier lifestyle who are unable to be away from home or work for a full week.

Aside from overseeing their award-winning resorts, the couple is working on an organic and vegan food line that they hope to take nationwide. In the past year the Glasscocks have formed partnerships with exclusive resorts, including the California Health & Longevity Institute (CHLI) at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village in Los Angeles, offering its R4.0 program.


The Acupuncture Artist
Abdi Assadi, New York City

Abdi Assadi is a healer who draws from Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese acupuncture, body-centered psychotherapy, intuitive work, indigenous shamanic practices, as well as internal martial arts and meditative practices. He believes that most physical ailments and psychological issues are intermingled—and of course, there is always a spiritual component present, too.

“A typical session will involve some talk therapy, intuitive work and then acupuncture.” It’s the acupuncture, however, that Assadi is truly famous for. “Like all bodywork, acupuncture helps us connect with our bodies. Our bodies are innately wise, but modern living with its stress promotes a sense of disconnection,” he explains.

Raised in Africa and Asia, Assadi was exposed to dire situations due to his father’s work with UNICEF. From an early age, he wanted to help the world from suffering. He planned on becoming a physician, but as he finished college in the mid-1980s in New York City, he was introduced to a program that was using acupuncture to treat drug and alcohol addictions. “That sealed the deal, and I started my journey into healing.”

His journey has evolved into something much more comprehensive, and with quite an elite cult following. One of his most famous clients is fashion designer Norma Kamali, whom Assadi calls “an artist’s artist” and like him shares many interests in global issues, health and spirituality.


The Motivational Master
Gabrielle Bernstein, New York City

Gabrielle Bernstein likes to quote Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid… I was born to do this.” The author and motivational speaker sure was! She’s published one book per year since 2010, and draws tens of thousands of followers at hyper-empowering lectures and workshops around the world.

Bernstein’s mass allure is largely due to her own admission of flaws. Her foray into wellness started with her personal struggles with sobriety, and today, she bonds deeply with clients over similar vulnerabilities with drugs, food, work—various lifestyle imperfections which she herself has never claimed to be immune to, although clean and sober now. “I believe that what makes my work stand out is my willingness to keep it real. The more real I am, the more my audience can recognize themselves in me,” she says.

There is a strong spiritual component to Bernstein’s teachings, as she fundamentally believes that a spiritual life offers the ultimate pathway to happy, healthy energy. “We can measure our success and happiness based on our spiritual condition,” she says. “The more faithful we are, the more power we have to heal our lives.”

Bernstein is currently working on a new book entitled “The Universe Has Your Back,” as well as growing her thriving Spirit Junkie Masterclass training program—a course that empowers others to unleash their own inner-wellness gurus. She also leads an annual global meditation with her friend and teacher, Deepak Chopra.


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