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A healing retreat in Sebastopol

Sunday, January 13th, 2013 | Posted by

Owners DeAnna Batdorff, left, and Scott Jenkins ishow off the new Apothecary Bar that will open in February at the dhyana Center in Sebastopol. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)


By ANDREA GRANAHAN / West County Correspondent

The dhyana Center in Sebastopol is a self-described beehive of Ayurvedic and healing energy. And with a new self-care spa and Apothecary Bar opening in February, it will become the kind of hybrid healing spa popularized by Deepak Chopra, the only one of its kind in northern California.

The Center will have a Turkish hammam steam room, a Mexican temescal dry rock sauna, a sweating booth, a Swedish shower with hydrotherapy jets, Japanese ofuro wood soaker, old fashioned American claw-foot tubs and English pedestal tub, Indian balancing plunges and copper cold plunge.

In addition to all that, after you’ve soaked and plunged, you can go to a posh Apothecary Bar and Lounge to drink some plant-based health drinks before getting a therapeutic massage.

It’s all the vision of DeAnna Batdorff and Scott Jenkins. Batdorff is a licensed and certified Ayurvedic healer and midwife who has been studying and practicing for 25 years. Jenkins is a graphic and performing artist as well as a talented carpenter.

The couple has run dhyana Center for 12 years in Sebastopol, first from a farmhouse and yurt north of town. When they needed more space, the old Basso building in Sebastopol became available.

DeAnna, how did you get into Ayurvedic medicine?

When I was young I went to beauty school and became a cosmetologist. A hairdresser I worked with had HIV, and I cared for him. Just before he died, he told me to look in a drawer. I found an envelope with money and note to me saying, “Choose health over beauty.”

That changed my life. I studied with Lobsang Rapgay, then eventually went to Albuquerque to study with Dr. Lad, a renowned Ayurvedic doctor. There Scott and I met and married.

Kaitlin Procknow arranges oils and herbs at the dhyana Center.

Tell us about Ayurvedic medicine.

It looks at the person as a whole. We determine what is out of balance. Do you need cleansing, or do you need nourishing? We use massage therapy and plant-based medicines, along with yoga.

Scott compounds the medicines, which we wholesale to distributors around the world as well as offering here. At dhyana, we have yoga classes, pilates, movement, music and art. It’s important to add play into the health picture.

We have guest speakers, free classes once a week, and we have a donation consultation where you can get an evaluation and treatment program for whatever you wish to donate. So far, about 300 people a week use dhyana.

Why do you think so many people are interested in it?

There has been a huge shift in the past 10 years. People are taking more accountability for their own health.

I think in the agriculture community people have always done that, used their own home remedies. And there is something about northern California that leads people to check out alternative lifestyles.

Do you connect with other related businesses?

Absolutely. For example, Osmosis Spa in Freestone is a business partner. We work with the Forestville herbal school, with Palm Drive Hospital, Sutter Health, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and others.

We believe in the community business model. Rather than competitors we are partners, and we are a referral service.

Plus you teach midwife classes?

I am a midwife of birth and death. I teach midwives and Hospice workers Ayurvedic methods for handling those passages.

How will the new Self Care Studio work?

It will be open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Walk-ins will be welcome, there will be memberships and day and hour passes.

A towel and flip-flops will be provided, and we will have weekly free self-care classes. The first hour of self-care is free.

For more information about dyhana Center, 186 N. Main St., Suite 220, Sebastopol, visit dhyanacenter.com or call 823-8818. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays through January.


  • Lesley Cox

    DeAnna and Scott have an amazing concept…where has this been all my life? They are both a blessing, inspiration and great healers of our community. I can’t wait for the new spa to open!

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Andrea Granahan is our West County correspondent.
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