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What is Your San Kalpa? Visiting Ellicottville’s Salt Cave


By Stephanie Timblin

One of only four salt caves in North America, the Ellicottville Salt Cave and Halotherapy Spa, with its glowing tranquility and welcoming calm, is a must see on your list of travel destinations and bucket list adventures. The Ellicottville Salt Cave is Western New York’s first and only authentic European-built Himalayan Salt Cave.

Tracy Draper, owner of the salt cave and spa, fell in love with the beauty and magic of salt caves while enjoying a year of rejuvenation in Asheville, NC. Draper was able to procure genuine salt from the Khewra mine, the second largest salt mine in the world in order to ensure authenticity to the overall experience for visitors.

Salt therapy is also known as speleotherapy, and is said to engage all five senses with the healing power of nature to provide relief from ailments such as asthma, allergies, snoring, sinus, congestion, hay fever, Cystic Fibrosis, exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and stress. It may also aide in boosting the immune system and improve overall lung function.

New at the cave is Yoga Nidra. Led by instructor Lisa Yohon, Yoga Nidra is an ancient Indian tradition of deep relaxing state-of-being, or yogic sleep. Although Yoga Nidra can be practiced anywhere and anytime, the added benefit of salt inhalation will take your experience to the next level. Classes are available Sunday, Sept. 18 and Sept. 25; both at 10 a.m. at $60 per session.

Yoga Nidra does not require any physical ability and would be a fantastic introduction to mind and body relaxation techniques. Participants should be fully dressed as the cave temperature ranges between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. As with all services at the cave, footwear will be removed at the door and replaced with paper booties provided in order to protect both the client and the salt while walking on the nearly four perfectly groomed inches of salt on the cave floor.

The intention to induce full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness during the practice of Yoga Nidra is accompanied by developing a “san kalpa.” San kalpa is classically defined as a conception or idea or notion formed in the heart or mind, a solemn vow or determination to perform, desire, definite intention, volition or will.

This mother of three particularly enjoyed the opportunity to relax with no interruption amongst other like-minded individuals. One-hour of pure silence with the healing benefits of the natural salt coursing through my veins was priceless. I did have an opportunity to chat with other class participants immediately following my session, and I enjoyed the very different experiences that each expressed.

The Ellicottville Salt Cave is open six days each week, and closed on Tuesdays. The extensive retail selection of lamps, energy balls, soaps, and so much more is genuinely affordably priced and will definitely be a gift-giving hit for any hard-to-buy-for friend or family member, along with numerous ideas to treat yourself to mind and body balance.

You can check out the many services available at or by calling (716) 699-2068.  Namaste!

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