Funny, we don’t use the word “wellness” in English. We speak of well-being, relaxation, of going to a spa or resort. But wellness (like “handy”) is a very nice word invention, after all, hotels promoting wellness aim to make you well.

I went to a “wellness hotel” this week, a place I wouldn’t have dreamt of going to hadn’t a very good friend of mine recommended it and said “I’ll be there for a yoga course this week. Come on, you could use some wellness, too.” So I went. And came back well.

Wellness Hotel Tirol Alpenrose: Warm, kindhearted people who really believe in their mission of helping their guests get back a healthy mind in a healthy body. Space to be alone, expert trainers, the latest machines and methods. Organized hikes – I went to St. Georgenberg though the Wolfsklam – to the beautiful mountains. Great food. Saunas, pools, the garden. The smell of the Alps all around you (hay! flowers! wood!) Helmut took one look at the hotel in my bochure and said “so ein Kitsch” … but he’s coming next time. A bit of lovingly done kitsch makes the hotel feel like your favorite aunt’s boudoire. Charming and full of laughter.

I arrived there with my typical “functional” glasses on: Can this stranger give me the information I want right this minute? Filtering the face, the clothes, the figure, the words to make a split second decision: “This person is helpful” or “This person is wasting my time”. It took me about a day and a half before I realized that I had been playing that game for longer than I care to think. Wellness!

The cost? A lot. But a joke, if I compare it to seminars I have taken in the past that cost me the same – without spending the night or enjoying any of the facilties or services or food. And the course was great: Heike Mayer gave us a lovely introduction to yoga, more physical in the morning, more philosophical in the evening, building concentration and awareness, with enough food for thought and physical challenges to get the basic message across: awareness, or overcoming your ego, is a matter of discipline, which in turn is loving consistency towards yourself. If you lose touch with yourself you can’t begin to be there for others. And you can’t change others, you can only change yourself. I didn’t expect this yoga week to be so spiritual and philosophical, but it was delightful. Heike has her own center near Augsburg and runs courses at Alpenrose several times a year.

Wellness! Another candidate for the English dictionary.

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Trainer/ coach from Washington, D.C. based in Berlin. Enthusiastic gardener, sailor, reader.

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