iwa Spa Blue Mountain

Iwa Spa at Blue Mountain comes with rare volcanic rock therapy

Blue Mountain may be one of Ontario's most popular ski destinations, but the town has so much more to offer than just the slopes.

Located in the heart of the village, iwa Spa (iwa standing for Inspire Wellness Always) keeps winning consecutive awards for its one-of-a-kind spa.

iwa Spa

iwa Spa opened in 2015 and has won consecutive awards for its modern approach to wellness.

In particular, its unique restorative yoga practice on a warm volcanic rock floor is supposed to soothe muscles, accelerate metabolism, eliminate toxins, and allow for increased circulation while heating your inner core. Naturally, I wanted to try it for myself during my visit to Blue Mountain.

We've seen yoga trends come and go, from alpaca yoga to lasagne yoga (yes, that wasn't a pre-pandemic pipe dream). However, iwa Spa's practice of Ganbanyoku (Ganban for short) has been popular for some time in Asia, but is only just starting to gain global traction as of the past 10 years.

iwa Spa

Ganban, or the practice on a heated rock floor, has long been popular in Asia, but iwa Spa is currently only one of a few spas in North America offering volcanic rock therapy.

Ganban is a therapeutic studio with a warm volcanic rock floor. The heated rock beds emit negative ions and far infrared rays to deeply heat and detoxify the body. As of today, iwa Spa is one of only a small handful of spas in North America offering the practice.

All of the treatments at iwa Spa include 30 minutes of volcanic rock therapy; however, they also offer a signature restorative yoga class practiced on the volcanic rock floor.

The restorative class is intentionally slow-moving, with poses held for long durations of time to really loosen tight muscles and get into the stretch.

iwa Spa

During the restorative yoga class, each participant only has a foam cushion for your head and small piece of yoga mat if needed for your knees. Otherwise, the whole practice is done without a mat on the heated floor.

The spa itself is quite large, tucked away in a back corner of the village. The main level has a boutique, lounge area, as well as a variety of private rooms where they offer massages, facials, and body treatments.

Upstairs is where you find the three secluded Ganban studios, one being the main studio along with two smaller private studios for couples.

I was surprised upon walking into the main studio that the room wasn't particularly warm, but once I stepped onto the rock beds I realized how quickly you get heated up.

Our instructor Yoga Matt (pun intended) told us that most of our one-hour class would be spent laying down, which we all welcomed as the warm floor was super inviting.

iwa Spa

All poses in the restorative yoga class are held for 3 - 5 minutes, intended to release tension and get into the stretch.

The class moved through a series of simple poses, most lasting 3 - 5 minutes in duration. Yoga Matt told us that holding stretches for a minimum of 3 minutes is that mark at which your muscles truly release, instead of continuing to resist.

While I found holding the poses for so long to be quite challenging, it was impressive to see the difference in my flexibility from the beginning versus the end of class.

Lavender-scented cold towels were draped over our eyes to add to the zen experience as we ended the class with a long savasana. I felt so relaxed, I could have easily spent another hour lying on that heated floor.

iwa Beauty Bar

iwa Beauty Bar just opened this month around the corner from iwa Spa, offering eco-friendly manis, pedis, blow outs, lash and brow treatments.

Since opening in 2015, iwa Spa has received a number of awards and accolades for its innovative and modern take on wellness. Just this month, they also expanded within the village and opened up their brand new Beauty Bar by iwa around the corner. 

Jenevieve Dennis, the spa director, told me that while iwa Spa's focus is inner well-being and beauty, Beauty Bar by iwa is the fun destination for outer beauty, offering mani / pedis, blow outs, lashes, and brow services.

iwa Beauty Bar

You can choose from a range of eco-friendly gel polish colours for your waterless treatment.

I was treated to a fabulous eco-friendly manicure at their high-top manicure bar with views of the bustling skiers and snowboarders heading to the slopes. As they are licensed, I also enjoyed a cold beverage during my service off their extensive menu of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Beauty Bar by iwa is unique in the fact that its treatments are waterless. By going waterless, they pride themselves in being more eco friendly, hygienic due to no cross contamination of the use of bowls or basins, softer skin as it can better absorb the product without being waterlogged, longer-lasting polish, and more touch time with your technician.

iwa Beauty Bar

You won't find basins at the pedicure stations at iwa Spa as it is waterless, but rest assured your treatment will be just as luxurious and the chairs are comfy as ever.

After my experiences at iwa Spa and Beauty Bar by iwa, I felt re-energized and glowing both inside and out.

You can find iwa Spa located at 234 Gord Canning Dr and Beauty Bar by iwa at 170 Jozo Weider Blvd, The Blue Mountains.

Photos by

Meg Cossmann

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