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First person
Energy healing

Lindsay Madden-Nadeau went to Mandali, high up in the Piedmont mountains in northern Italy, to experience a silent retreat that gently delivered a powerful energy healing experience


Every year I set aside time to ‘retreat’ – dedicated ‘me-time’ that involves slowing down in a remote location and ‘doing the work’. This typically occurs over the year-end holiday, to rest, restore and find clarity as I enter the year ahead.

In my previous role with Accor – pre-pandemic – I travelled the globe and retreats became a necessity for my mind and body to sustain the pressure. This year was no different and as the founder of a start-up consultancy and almost two years into the pandemic rollercoaster this was still a necessity for me.

I set off on my journey to find the ideal place to retreat with an intention of not more than five days offering yoga and meditation, comfortable accommodation, healthy food, and great teachers without having to travel too far and go through all the stress that travelling today brings.

This was a lot to ask for – undertaking a retreat can be quite tough if you don’t understand the real recipe needed to weave together the experience – but I instantly knew where I wanted to go, as I’d been following Mandali Retreat in Italy on Instagram for some time.

Introducing Mandali
Less than a five-hour drive from the South of France, the retreat is located at the top of the hills overlooking Lago d’Orta in Italy. The inspiring space was crafted by two Dutchmen, Wouter Tavecchio and Wildrik Timmerman (see page 84), who – after several retreat experiences – were inspired to create a space of their own for people to come together and ‘do the work’. After five years searching for the right location and ecosystem, they found Mandali and their mission to create a place for people to develop a deeper connection to themselves began.

I felt lucky to score a spot in a five-day silent retreat giving an opportunity to shut off for a few days, go deeper within, and limit the use of technology. Mandali has a tradition of facilitating some retreats in silence to support your journey to inner stillness.

I arrived in the early afternoon after what seemed an easy drive, although it was a hike on the final stretch for my Fiat 500 up the windy roads to the top. My first impression was to be grateful for arriving at such a beautiful location. My room was comfortable with an incredible view over the lake and hilltops. The view alone was very meditative.

There was time before the first welcome meeting to walk the grounds and see the facilities. This was the first retreat I’d attended where the accommodation was very comfortable, removing worries about mosquito nets, snakes, and cold showers. My beautiful room came equipped with all the amenities – even Yogi Tea!

In the main house, there was a reception complemented by a small retail space, a dining hall with an outstanding view over the lake, and windows that stretched from each side of the room. You walked outside to a gorgeous terrace where you could soak up the sun for hours.

Upstairs in the main house was a small studio, as well as a Silence Terrace where Qi Gong classes were held. Downstairs, the house offered an outdoor infinity pool and indoor swimming pool with sauna and steam, and treatment rooms for massages and other body experiences.

This was beyond anything I’d ever experienced at a boutique and dedicated meditation centre, and it was clear every detail had been well thought through.

Outside led you to the ‘Temple’ housing two large and beautiful studios. From incredible chandeliers to crystal art installations, the rooms were gorgeous, spacious and had all the equipment for yoga and meditation. Outside the temple was a large statue of Hindu god Ganesh, a beautiful fire pit, a Labyrinth, and plenty of quiet areas for outdoor seating. I was excited to be here and to get started.

The retreat begins
Our welcome group consisted of about 35 students and four teachers as well as Prema, the retreat coordinator. We introduced ourselves one by one, focusing on what our intentions or expectations were for our time together. It’s always interesting to be on the other side of this exercise because retreats – when done effectively – have a way of surprising us when it comes to reflecting on our initial intent.

Most people were looking to slow down and lean into the silence, many being new to the yoga and meditation experience and trying to find some clarity.

When it came to my turn I mentioned how grateful I was to be there and said I had no expectations.

I’ve never gone in search of finding more meaning in my life, however, when you lean into the stillness and do meaningful body and energy work, something naturally shifts inside you. I wanted to open up wide spaces to ignite my creativity with no distraction, and be inspired by what’s available to me.

Over the five days, there was a full schedule available, such as meditation, yin and yang yoga classes, Qi Gong, and hikes. Mandali invites you to attend what feels right for you, leaving behind the idea that you have to participate in everything. Meals were served at the same time and the food was outstanding, particularly when in silence, as with no distractions or conversations, you can solely focus on what’s in front of you.

Spare time allowed exploration of nearby villages on foot, nature walks, reading in the library or outside on one of the terraces, massage treatments or using the wellness facilities. The teachers also made themselves available for conversation or contemplation any time during the day, so if people had things bubbling to the surface they had support.

It’s one thing to have a daily yoga practice, but when you add to that hours of body energy work, things get stirred up and so it was unexpected to have sleepless nights. Even in such quiet and comfortable accommodation my body was aching, tossing, and turning, and yet still feeling refreshed each morning.

Some days it was almost too much to handle and I couldn’t make it through my meditation without extreme anxiousness in my body. I was experiencing a translation of emotion in what is called the ‘pain-body’ – something that spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle describes as “an accumulation of painful life experiences that were not fully faced and accepted at the moment they arose.”

Tolle says this leaves behind an ‘energy form’ of emotional pain that can merge with other energy forms, so after some years you have this ‘pain-body’ – an energy entity consisting of old emotion. It required a process of patience and acceptance – one I’ve experienced many times when I’m doing more than my normal share of body and energy work.

A new moon and a camp fire
We were lucky enough to have a full moon, a crisp, clear sky and a campfire – what better way to welcome and nurture those intentions. We gathered and watched the flames for at least an hour.

During the five days, I managed to wake and watch the sunrise over the hills and the lake every day, listening to the church bells ringing from above, staying away from technology except for my one text per day to check on my dog Sydney who I knew was in good hands. I was out in nature the majority of the day connecting to the source and gathering energetic nourishment. I ate healthy sugar-free foods and got to enjoy my Lion’s Mane mushrooms; for those who know, they have been my daily ritual for years now.

On the last morning after our meditations and bodywork we broke the silence and had a sharing circle, this allowed everyone to discuss their experience and ask questions. It was the one time we could connect with people and yet it was such a vulnerable space and time to do it.

Most people shared that this was their first time being ‘in their body and out of their mind’ in a peaceful, non-judgemental place.

Others commented that they didn’t enjoy the experience of silence and probably had more questions now than when they started, while others experienced a profound initial impact on their emotional status.

When it was my time, I was feeling a little bit wobbly from listening to everyone else’s experience, and wasn’t sure I’d yet noticed anything consciously changing. However, energetically, I knew I was experiencing shifts and was riding that wave until the dust settled.

Growing demand
What was clear is the need for this work and the growing demand for these ancient supportive practices that foster the evolution of society, a connection to others and a connection to self.

This pandemic is still not over and carries a lot of uncertainty for the future. Some people have not returned to the same safe way of living as they experienced before and need this type of intervention.

In the days following the retreat, it felt as though I had an ‘energetic hangover’ – even though my mind wanted to propel me forward to ‘do’, my body was taking everything super slowly. Not in an exhausted way, but more in a mindful slowness.

I continued to have some sleepless nights and moments of contemplation, but this is just part of the process when doing this kind of work. Five days post-retreat and I was just coming round. The ‘energy hangover’ was an interesting experience and one I hadn’t experienced for many years, but every bit of it felt OK.

"I’ve never gone in search of more meaning in my life, however, when you lean into the stillness and do powerful body and energy work, something naturally shifts inside you," – Lindsay Madden-Nadeau

The retreat’s striking Temple is home to two beautiful studios Credit: Photo: Mandali
Mandali has a spectacular location on a mountaintop, with sweeping views Credit: Photo: Mandali
Wouter Tavecchio and Wildrik Timmerman opened Mandali in 2017 Credit: Photo: Maurits Giesen
A cosy and comfortable guest bedroom Credit: Photo: Mandali
Mandali’s indoor infinity pool Credit: Photo: Mandali
Guests are served nutritious organic vegetarian food Credit: Photo: Mandali
The many outdoor areas enable guests to enjoy the solitude Credit: Photo: Lindsay Madden Nadeau
Credit: Photo: Mandali
Mandali’s owners spent five years looking for the perfect location Credit: Photo: Mandali
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12-13 Sep 2022

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©Cybertrek 2022
News   Products   Magazine
First person
Energy healing

Lindsay Madden-Nadeau went to Mandali, high up in the Piedmont mountains in northern Italy, to experience a silent retreat that gently delivered a powerful energy healing experience


Every year I set aside time to ‘retreat’ – dedicated ‘me-time’ that involves slowing down in a remote location and ‘doing the work’. This typically occurs over the year-end holiday, to rest, restore and find clarity as I enter the year ahead.

In my previous role with Accor – pre-pandemic – I travelled the globe and retreats became a necessity for my mind and body to sustain the pressure. This year was no different and as the founder of a start-up consultancy and almost two years into the pandemic rollercoaster this was still a necessity for me.

I set off on my journey to find the ideal place to retreat with an intention of not more than five days offering yoga and meditation, comfortable accommodation, healthy food, and great teachers without having to travel too far and go through all the stress that travelling today brings.

This was a lot to ask for – undertaking a retreat can be quite tough if you don’t understand the real recipe needed to weave together the experience – but I instantly knew where I wanted to go, as I’d been following Mandali Retreat in Italy on Instagram for some time.

Introducing Mandali
Less than a five-hour drive from the South of France, the retreat is located at the top of the hills overlooking Lago d’Orta in Italy. The inspiring space was crafted by two Dutchmen, Wouter Tavecchio and Wildrik Timmerman (see page 84), who – after several retreat experiences – were inspired to create a space of their own for people to come together and ‘do the work’. After five years searching for the right location and ecosystem, they found Mandali and their mission to create a place for people to develop a deeper connection to themselves began.

I felt lucky to score a spot in a five-day silent retreat giving an opportunity to shut off for a few days, go deeper within, and limit the use of technology. Mandali has a tradition of facilitating some retreats in silence to support your journey to inner stillness.

I arrived in the early afternoon after what seemed an easy drive, although it was a hike on the final stretch for my Fiat 500 up the windy roads to the top. My first impression was to be grateful for arriving at such a beautiful location. My room was comfortable with an incredible view over the lake and hilltops. The view alone was very meditative.

There was time before the first welcome meeting to walk the grounds and see the facilities. This was the first retreat I’d attended where the accommodation was very comfortable, removing worries about mosquito nets, snakes, and cold showers. My beautiful room came equipped with all the amenities – even Yogi Tea!

In the main house, there was a reception complemented by a small retail space, a dining hall with an outstanding view over the lake, and windows that stretched from each side of the room. You walked outside to a gorgeous terrace where you could soak up the sun for hours.

Upstairs in the main house was a small studio, as well as a Silence Terrace where Qi Gong classes were held. Downstairs, the house offered an outdoor infinity pool and indoor swimming pool with sauna and steam, and treatment rooms for massages and other body experiences.

This was beyond anything I’d ever experienced at a boutique and dedicated meditation centre, and it was clear every detail had been well thought through.

Outside led you to the ‘Temple’ housing two large and beautiful studios. From incredible chandeliers to crystal art installations, the rooms were gorgeous, spacious and had all the equipment for yoga and meditation. Outside the temple was a large statue of Hindu god Ganesh, a beautiful fire pit, a Labyrinth, and plenty of quiet areas for outdoor seating. I was excited to be here and to get started.

The retreat begins
Our welcome group consisted of about 35 students and four teachers as well as Prema, the retreat coordinator. We introduced ourselves one by one, focusing on what our intentions or expectations were for our time together. It’s always interesting to be on the other side of this exercise because retreats – when done effectively – have a way of surprising us when it comes to reflecting on our initial intent.

Most people were looking to slow down and lean into the silence, many being new to the yoga and meditation experience and trying to find some clarity.

When it came to my turn I mentioned how grateful I was to be there and said I had no expectations.

I’ve never gone in search of finding more meaning in my life, however, when you lean into the stillness and do meaningful body and energy work, something naturally shifts inside you. I wanted to open up wide spaces to ignite my creativity with no distraction, and be inspired by what’s available to me.

Over the five days, there was a full schedule available, such as meditation, yin and yang yoga classes, Qi Gong, and hikes. Mandali invites you to attend what feels right for you, leaving behind the idea that you have to participate in everything. Meals were served at the same time and the food was outstanding, particularly when in silence, as with no distractions or conversations, you can solely focus on what’s in front of you.

Spare time allowed exploration of nearby villages on foot, nature walks, reading in the library or outside on one of the terraces, massage treatments or using the wellness facilities. The teachers also made themselves available for conversation or contemplation any time during the day, so if people had things bubbling to the surface they had support.

It’s one thing to have a daily yoga practice, but when you add to that hours of body energy work, things get stirred up and so it was unexpected to have sleepless nights. Even in such quiet and comfortable accommodation my body was aching, tossing, and turning, and yet still feeling refreshed each morning.

Some days it was almost too much to handle and I couldn’t make it through my meditation without extreme anxiousness in my body. I was experiencing a translation of emotion in what is called the ‘pain-body’ – something that spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle describes as “an accumulation of painful life experiences that were not fully faced and accepted at the moment they arose.”

Tolle says this leaves behind an ‘energy form’ of emotional pain that can merge with other energy forms, so after some years you have this ‘pain-body’ – an energy entity consisting of old emotion. It required a process of patience and acceptance – one I’ve experienced many times when I’m doing more than my normal share of body and energy work.

A new moon and a camp fire
We were lucky enough to have a full moon, a crisp, clear sky and a campfire – what better way to welcome and nurture those intentions. We gathered and watched the flames for at least an hour.

During the five days, I managed to wake and watch the sunrise over the hills and the lake every day, listening to the church bells ringing from above, staying away from technology except for my one text per day to check on my dog Sydney who I knew was in good hands. I was out in nature the majority of the day connecting to the source and gathering energetic nourishment. I ate healthy sugar-free foods and got to enjoy my Lion’s Mane mushrooms; for those who know, they have been my daily ritual for years now.

On the last morning after our meditations and bodywork we broke the silence and had a sharing circle, this allowed everyone to discuss their experience and ask questions. It was the one time we could connect with people and yet it was such a vulnerable space and time to do it.

Most people shared that this was their first time being ‘in their body and out of their mind’ in a peaceful, non-judgemental place.

Others commented that they didn’t enjoy the experience of silence and probably had more questions now than when they started, while others experienced a profound initial impact on their emotional status.

When it was my time, I was feeling a little bit wobbly from listening to everyone else’s experience, and wasn’t sure I’d yet noticed anything consciously changing. However, energetically, I knew I was experiencing shifts and was riding that wave until the dust settled.

Growing demand
What was clear is the need for this work and the growing demand for these ancient supportive practices that foster the evolution of society, a connection to others and a connection to self.

This pandemic is still not over and carries a lot of uncertainty for the future. Some people have not returned to the same safe way of living as they experienced before and need this type of intervention.

In the days following the retreat, it felt as though I had an ‘energetic hangover’ – even though my mind wanted to propel me forward to ‘do’, my body was taking everything super slowly. Not in an exhausted way, but more in a mindful slowness.

I continued to have some sleepless nights and moments of contemplation, but this is just part of the process when doing this kind of work. Five days post-retreat and I was just coming round. The ‘energy hangover’ was an interesting experience and one I hadn’t experienced for many years, but every bit of it felt OK.

"I’ve never gone in search of more meaning in my life, however, when you lean into the stillness and do powerful body and energy work, something naturally shifts inside you," – Lindsay Madden-Nadeau

The retreat’s striking Temple is home to two beautiful studios Credit: Photo: Mandali
Mandali has a spectacular location on a mountaintop, with sweeping views Credit: Photo: Mandali
Wouter Tavecchio and Wildrik Timmerman opened Mandali in 2017 Credit: Photo: Maurits Giesen
A cosy and comfortable guest bedroom Credit: Photo: Mandali
Mandali’s indoor infinity pool Credit: Photo: Mandali
Guests are served nutritious organic vegetarian food Credit: Photo: Mandali
The many outdoor areas enable guests to enjoy the solitude Credit: Photo: Lindsay Madden Nadeau
Credit: Photo: Mandali
Mandali’s owners spent five years looking for the perfect location Credit: Photo: Mandali
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Motivated by his lifelong passion for wood, Josef Grabner founded J Grabner in 2002 as a wood vene [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

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About us | J Grabner GmbH
More than 30 employees have one thing in common with the company founder Josef Grabner: Their enthusiasm for nature in all its individual facets Find out more...
+ More videos  

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+ More directory  
DIARY

 

12-13 Sep 2022

2022 Salt Therapy Association Conference

Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
12-14 Sep 2022

Spa Life Ireland

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort , Ballymena, Ireland
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS