Embracing Holistic, Grounded Wellness: An Interview With Mar Vista’s Stewards and Weekend Wellness Retreat Hosts
downward dog on beach during yoga retreat


Mar Vista’s stewards Deanna and Cab sat down to share the transformative and connective way of life they have discovered on the Mendocino Coast, and how you, too, can experience a taste of living with the land during their Weekend Wellness Retreats.

Tell us about your relationship with Mar Vista. How do you view your role as a steward of this special place?

  • Deanna: “I never owned the land. I simply held it and took care of it for a little while. It belongs to the animals, birds, trees, flowers. They’re the ones who own the land.” – Frank Duveneck. Not my quote, but this is the first thing I think of when I think about our stewardship of Mar Vista.
  • Cab: First of all, the term steward makes a real difference to me because it’s more of like a caretaker versus the owner, so the mindset to start is all about taking care of this land, the animals, the guest’s connection, and the overall business. It is about doing our best to protect and preserve during the time we are here.

When we think about conversations around health & wellness, many would set specific intentions or goals—say exercising 3 times a week or cutting out processed foods.

How has your time at Mar Vista freed you from the constraints of single-objective wellness goals, and rather opened your eyes to a more holistic understanding of wellness? Can you share what you have learned about slowing down to ultimately lead a well way of life at Mar Vista?

  • Deanna: I think this answer goes back to before my time at Mar Vista. Nature, the sun, flowers, digging in the dirt–all these things have always brought me a sense of well-being, and even nurture. It wasn’t until many years of living in the fast-paced corporate world that I slowly found my way back and eventually made it an intention to create a lifestyle that supported this simpler way of living. When you work with nature as opposed to against it, you see that we are all connected.
  • Cab: Connection with nature makes health connection easier. Yoga, in my practice, is a mindset of wholesome thinking, action, and behavior. Living with this land and its beings makes healthy living easier. It’s freeing to be unbound from corporate rhetoric and focus on what’s important: health, relationships, nature, and sharing love.

What inspired the curation of Weekend Wellness Retreats at Mar Vista?

  • Deanna: Weekend Wellness Retreats have always been a core part of our business plan.  We both have participated in many retreats in the past and reaped so many benefits that we wanted to do the same for others. Mar Vista’s secluded location and serene surroundings also provide the perfect setting for reflection and rejuvenation. It’s one thing to go away for a weekend, but when there is an intention and facilitators to guide you, it makes a big difference in your approach to the weekend, as well as your overall retreat experience.
  • Cab: It has been our goal to bring wellness and a sense of escape to our guests. Mar Vista can do that on her own but being able to focus on one’s self for your own wellbeing is important. We get groups of people, couples and single retreaters on the quest of self-love, something everyone needs.

What do you hope Weekend Wellness Retreat attendees will gain from this transformative experience?

  • Cab and Deanna: Inspiration that they can take back with them and incorporate into their daily lives–and ultimately the ability to create more wellness for themselves regularly.

How do you balance moments of stillness with intentional movement throughout the Weekend Wellness Retreat?

  • Deanna: We intentionally curate activities that allow for both. We hold daily meditations as well as options for yoga, gi-gong, hiking, and other local excursions. We also intentionally incorporate plenty of “free” time for participants.
  • Cab: We make all activities optional which allows each participant to determine what they need. We all have individual needs that can also change from one day to the next. Our retreats not only allow but encourage each participant to lean into what those needs are.

rugged Mendocino coastline
yoga pose on beach

How does your proximity to nature ground you in your mission to lead a wellness way of life?

  • Deanna: One of the biggest impacts for us is growing our food.  When you have gardens to harvest from (which all guests have as well when they stay with us), you are nourishing yourself daily with the freshest, healthiest food that nature provides. Being near water is paramount for me. I always have a real sense of peace when I am close to water. Having access to the ocean across the street- even just seeing it every day brings me that sense of calm. The redwood forest, or as we like to call it, the Enchanted Forest, is the best place to go to be grounded. As soon as you step into the trail everything drops—from the temperature to your heart rate. Having all these things literally outside our door has made me slower and more intentional in everything I do– sometimes consciously but most of the time unconsciously.  Lastly, a very simple but important point to note–I hardly ever get sick.
  • Cab: The natural beauty and surrounding environment are so inspiring that one cannot help but be reminded that we are all connected. Yoga on the beach, forest bathing in our redwood forest or swinging slowly in a hammock; it’s all here for your wellbeing.

Tending to Mar Vista's gardens

What does wellness mean to you?

  • Deanna: Wellness for me is listening to what I need, when I need it.  Wellness is taking care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also bigger than ourselves. It is being a part of community and having purpose.
  • Cab: Being closer to myself and nature–feeling centered.

What has surprised you most about living in harmony with the surrounding flora and fauna?

  • Deanna: My biggest surprise is how I have really tuned into my circadian rhythms. I can say with certainty that they were always off until I made this lifestyle change. In fall, I welcome the shorter days and nights as much as I welcome the longer ones in summer.
  • Cab: I was most surprised at how well I fell into this routine after living a city life for so long. It felt very natural and now I can’t imagine it any different.

Cottage 5 Bed

Mar Vista promises a refreshing sense of simplicity to its guests. What is it, specifically, about this special place that inspires simple, mindful living?

  • Deanna: The first time I turned into the driveway at Mar Vista I remember feeling an instant change in my body, like I just took a nice long breath and settled into a relaxed state. I want every guest to feel that when they come here. I think the history and preservation of this space have been an integral part of that. From the wide open spaces, ocean views, redwood forest and quiet nooks for solitude, Mar Vista forces you to slow down in the most gentle way. 
  • Cab: Coming from a background of hospitality, it has always been in my san kulpa or mantra to make people happy. I found working with my beloved in our own business was so much more rewarding than the corporate rat race. An escape to Mar Vista is like washing away the outside influences and immersing oneself in nature and simplicity. We have no televisions, and although we have internet we encourage unplugging. We’ve created multiple places to unwind plus an area rich with great food and activities, so one can feel as though they are recharging.

Going beyond resolutions, we invite you to be a part of grounding restoration and guided wellness as a guest of our 2024 Weekend Wellness Retreats. Reserve one of just a few remaining limited spaces today. 

Meet Mar Vista’s Stewards & Your Humble Weekend Wellness Retreat Hosts

Deanna worked in the corporate world for almost 20 years which gave her a good basis of business acumen, marketing, and management. Later in life, she went back to school for Environmental Horticulture and Design. She managed gardens for private estates as well as public elementary schools and non-profit organizations.

mar vista stewards and retreat hosts

Deanna is a lifelong yogi (certified Yoga teacher in 2012), gardener, and meditation practitioner for over 10 years. All of these experiences combined have culminated in the perfect career that is not just her job but an intentional lifestyle. There is no greater joy for Deanna than sharing this style of living with others.

Cab has a long history of working in hospitality, from 5-star hotels to beach clubs. This vast experience has become the basis for his inspired living here at Mar Vista. The melding of his experience, yoga teachings, meditation practices, and healthy living objectives led to our creating an experience in hospitality like no other. Mar Vista is a special place; a spiritual journey that takes you on your path to wellbeing.