I told my friend Sylva that I really needed a place to unwind and rejuvenate. I was craving green trees and soft mountain peaks, throw in a little winding roads and the smell of rain on grass, a few billowy clouds, some wonderful places to dine, and my inner vision of the perfect place to take a respite from all of the worldly traveling I’d been doing all year would be realized.

“I’ve really got to take a break and just pull it all in” I told my good friend Sylva.
“Know anywhere close to Los Angeles so we don’t have to spend all of the time in the car getting there?”

“I know the perfect place” Sylva replied.
“Have you ever heard of the Ojai Retreat?” she said? “It’s incredible! And, it’s only 11/2 half hours away from us. ”

As Sylva started to describe this little shangrila, I was sure this was the place that I had visualized in my minds eye.

“Let’s do it!” I said. “Let’s go this week!”

As we were driving up the winding road to the Ojai Retreat, through the trees I could see the most incredible majestic mountain range not far beyond. These mountains had the most unique soft purple and orange glow to them. Rolling down the window my nose was seduced by the fresh smell of rain on pine, breathing the air into my body I could feel my whole being responding to the peace of this celestial environment.

“We’re here,” Sylva said as we drove up to what appeared to be a very simple and not as luxurious of a place as I was expecting.

“This is it?” I replied, voice downturned.

“Uh oh. You don’t like it?” she said.

“Well, it’s not as luxurious as I envisioned. Do they have a gym?” I asked, dreading her reply.

“Nope” she said. “Be a little patient and let me show you the rooms before you make one of your instant assessment’s that aren’t always that right on. The luxurious Ojai Spa is just down the street minutes from here and the walking trails here are incredible, and one of my favorite little restaurants in all of Ojai is within walking range and the world famous Ranch House Restaurant is just down the road. Trust me Jani, you’ll love this place and won’t want to leave.

As always, Sylva, being the spiritual nature loving yogini that she is, was totally right on! This little place, albeit it didn’t have a gym which is usually my non negotiable when staying anywhere, had the most adorable and comfortable rooms, some even had these mini kitchens, and most of them had mountain views to die for!

Right outside my door was the main hall where breakfast was served and when someone was having a workshop or seminar, served also as the main meeting room. Every morning on a long oak table was an impressive array of fresh muffins, organic oatmeal, coffee, tea, nuts and fruit. If it was a chilly morning, you could warm yourself by the stone fireplace. Three of the four walls of the meeting room were large picture windows with views of the celestial green trees, which had the feeling of being in a wonderful tree house.

“Jani – meet Ulrich Brugger. Ulrich came here from Switzerland.”

I liked Ulrich the moment I met him. He had this glow in his eyes and a smile in his heart.

“Ah, that explains why this little retreat center is so totally charming” I said to Ulrich. It’s the heart of you that is in every nook and corner. And, if I do say so myself, you Swiss have chalet karma in your blood and know how to do it right! Good job Ulrich. I love this place! “It’s got all the right elements! I almost hate to write an article about it. It’s such a find and the thought of having to wait a year for a reservation isn’t that exciting. But, well, you deserve it!”

Ulrich gave me a mini tour. This little place had a lot more to it than met the eye.
He showed us what he calls “the Quiet room” where you can go and meditate and where they hold Yoga classes a few times a week. The retreat center he said can hold as many as 30 people. The main conference room can hold as many as 100 theater style.

As he was speaking I was already planning my next silence course to be held here. This place was so incredibly beautiful, cozy and silent that I knew my students would love it here and be able to go very deep into themselves.

“We have yoga and meditation retreats here all the time. Do you know Gurmukh Kal Khalsa, the great Kundaliini Master? She’s had her retreats here. And, Dennis Kucinich, who ran for President of the U.S. last year, stayed in the room Sylva’s staying in, ” Ulrich said proudly.

Before we said good-bye to Ulrich, he told Sylva not to forget to take me to his garden and see the newly built waterfall.

Every morning Sylva and I went for our morning walk. The trails were endless and the beautiful array of nature was at every turn! I was getting attached to this little place very quickly. There was something so magical here and as soon as I entered Ulrich’s peaceful haven I felt revitalized.

In the afternoon, tearing myself away from this incredibly silent retreat center, Sylva and I would go to the local spa and cover our bodies with not one but 3 different types of mud. You’ll all have to come to my next speaking event and see the incredible glow on my face from this ancient Indian concoction that is unique to the area. Of course, the glow is also from the spiritually rejuvenating experience from my stay at the Ojai Retreat Center, which, in my estimation, is a little piece of heaven tucked away in the beautiful Ojai Valley!

For more information and to find out more about the Ojai Retreat Center:

The Ojai Retreat, 160 Besant Road, Ojai, California 93023
Phone: (805) 646-2536 – Fax: (805) 646-0075

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