Recalibrating Mind & Body at a Swiss Alpine Resort
By Eric Favre Managing Director, The Alpina Gstaad | July 13, 2014
Since opening in December 2012, The Alpina Gstaad has worked hard to position itself as a leading spa destination. This year at our luxury hotel – the newest to open in 100 years in the Swiss Alpine village – we are expanding that approach and focusing on a special area of wellness. We want our guests to leave The Alpina Gstaad feeling better both mentally and physically than when they arrived.
In January 2014, The Alpina Gstaad introduced innovative programs to increase guests' energy and vitality. This summer, from June 6 to September 25, two special programs– Mindful Leadership and Sophrology – led by two experts in these fields, will focus on recalibrating guests' minds and bodies to promote a complete immersion into healthy and mindful living.
This year, we have made the decision to offer treatments and therapies that might be new to our guests and not necessarily available at other hotels. We know that there has been a tremendous convergence of scientific research about mind-and-body connections as well as on the power of meditation. Today, more than 10 million Americans practice some form of meditation. There is a growing movement in psychology in which many of today's leaders are influenced by Buddhism. Unique among spiritual traditions in its emphasis on psychology, Buddhism's core teachings encourage practitioners to rid themselves of suffering and anxiety and discover happiness. It is a somewhat radical notion to Western minds that benevolent states of mind such as concentration, kindness and happiness can be developed.
Mindfulness is a psychological concept based on the concept of mindfulness in Buddhist meditation. It means both cultivating attention and nonjudgmental awareness of a specific object and seeing deeply into things.
Christian Kurmann will offer a Mindful Leadership Retreat at The Alpina Gstaad. After hotel management training at the SHL Hotel Management School in Lucerne, an MBA from Stanford University and subsequent management courses at INSEAD in France and the Cornell Hotel Management School, Christian Kurmann went on to a successful 20-year career in management and as an entrepreneur. Later after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, he radically changed his life and began an intense regimen of silent meditation.
He spent eight years studying ancient tantric, Tibetan and Zen meditation and their healing practices. In Bhutan, while staying in a Buddhist monastery, he met Lama Sey Rinpoche who guided him to curing himself naturally without undergoing chemotherapy. Later, Kurmann spent several weeks with Lama Shatup Raphael Rinpoche in his remote mountain refuge in Ladakh meditating and cultivating his consciousness. During this training, he learned how to practice "doing nothing," enjoying stillness and being conscious of the present moment. Kurmann continued to practice by attending retreats run by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Andrew Cohen, Thich Nhat Hanh and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He realized that mindful people who understand their reactions to stress and crises and the impact they have on others make much better leaders than frenetic, aggressive ones. He has experienced how practicing mindful leadership can bring out the extraordinary potential that resides in human beings.