Preidlhof is an adults-only luxury spa hotel in the northeastern Italian province of South Tyrol
Having been in quarantine since early March, the Italians know a thing or two about social distancing and being apart from loved ones. Here, transformational coach Patrizia Bortolin and intuitive therapist and spiritual shaman Stefano Battaglia, the healing duo long whispered about in wellness circles worldwide, share their thoughts and tips from the spectacular mountains of South Tyrol.
A transformational coach with myriad qualifications and experience, Bortolin is spa director at luxury spa hotel Preidlhof. Having faced childhood health issues including pneumonia and asthma, she believes these experiences helped determine her path in life and brought her to the happy place she’s at today.
“I work on a joyful attitude to life but am deeply touched by the psychological and emotional frailty of many, many people who now find themselves in a situation they can’t tolerate because they’re already weakened by their challenging lives,” Bortolin says. “I’m experiencing a precious moment where years of inner work, meditation, natural recovery methods and self-discovery have given me a great sense of feeling centred, calm and generally optimistic about the future. Living in this natural paradise of Preidlhof helps too!”
Two months into lockdown, Bortolin is certain that food is medicine, touch is medicine, spirituality is medicine, and that our freedom is to be protected and cherished. “Fear of dying, digital addiction and loneliness are dangerous triggers,” she warns. “Trauma healing, transformational wellness, forest bathing, colour and sound, and breathing hold the keys to loving life and nature. And learn to open your heart, as Madonna sang in the ’80s.”
This overtly optimistic healer believes that our ongoing crisis has offered the possibility to awaken in a very personal way – one that is unique to each individual. “We may be more vigilant about caring for the environment, realising now that we are the weaker ones, not nature. Hopefully we can be more gentle with ourselves too and with other generations and finally start listening to our own inner voice, instead of the crowd. We’re more aware of the passing time now as days seem longer with each one carrying much mystery and surprise as the poetry of life is enhanced more than ever before.”
To make the most of her days, Bortolin practices advanced yoga nidra, mindfulness and meditation first thing each morning. “I’ve also improved my cooking skills, conjuring up new plant-based recipes, while also cherishing conversations from afar with friends, guests and former colleagues from all over the world as we share love and perspectives.”
As all that once seemed safe and stable in our lives has changed, lockdown helps us realise that living in a new way, free from compromise, is possible and that a healthy dose of resilience, love and mental strength is as important as being physically healthy. Take advantage of these last weeks, Bortolin advises, as time is passing very quickly. “It’s about opening our hearts,” she says. “This is the key to living a happy, more joyful life.”
This Italian Shaman (as he is fondly called) on the well-being team at Preidlhof is on a mission to unleash the joy in his clients. With a profound knowledge of the emotional language of the body, Battaglia combines numerous qualifications and years of study with some of the world’s most renowned masters and meditators in one unique transformational package.
“The thing that I miss is playing outdoors, but I know that playfulness is a state of being that permeates most parts of my daily life,” he says. “Although this critical situation can make us question ourselves and our approach to life, I try to stick with my usual daily practices.”
Battaglia believes that this potentially deadly virus has left many of us in a state of hyper-vigilance, where we constantly feel in danger and unable to fight or flee. That’s why a more cohesive, sensitive and loving attitude is needed now, to achieve a deeper relationship between body and mind.
“Now is the time to engage in games in a childlike fashion, to move towards being able to appreciate the beauty of the present moment,” he says. “Try to uncover pockets of joy and stillness within you. This way, we might further improve our immune system and gain a broader understanding of life’s hardships for all living beings, thereby nurturing more compassion and grounded joy.”
Patrizia Bortolin and Stefano Battaglia’s tips for living your best life during lockdown
Explore a path to falling in love with yourself and finding your deep inner point of balance, before sharing/teaching and inspiring others.
Journal for a few minutes every day: Keep a journal by your bed and every morning write three things you are grateful for and three that could make your day amazing. Every evening note three amazing things that happened during the day and how you could have made it better. Stick with this as it takes a few weeks to really feel the benefits.
Be ritualistic about your morning routine.
Eat slowly and chew your food well (over 50 times if possible). Use this time to nourish both body and mind.
Use essential oils: Lemon and orange during the day helps keep the frequency high, while adding drops of cinnamon provides an extra energy burst. Lavender is best for healing and lifting the heart in the evening.
Surround yourself with red and orange, both in what you wear and your surroundings. Enjoy a bath with naturally coloured water and connect with the energy of the chosen colour (Bortolin is a qualified Colour Ambassador).
Try to manage your digital addiction by limiting phone and television time.
Be kind to yourself, massage your skin and practice daily meditation.
Play, play, play and don’t take yourself too seriously!
Kate O’Brien is a dietitian, spa and skincare specialist, and author of several wellness-related titles. Her latest book is GLOW: Your Complete Four Week Plan to Healthy Radiant Skin. Find her on Instagram @kateobrienwellness.