Marie-Luise Freimuth enables visitors to her historic quadrangle farmyard to experience everyday farming life as it was 100 years ago, and to go on a voyage of self-discovery. An unusual way of looking for and finding relaxation
Relaxation trainer Tilli
The scythe swishes through the high grass. Once, twice, then it suddenly gets caught. “It’s happened again!” cries the “apprentice” on the scything workshop at Tilli’s Hof in the Bavarian Forest. The small group is almost meditative, so deeply immersed are they in their work.
“By adopting the attitude to life and the working methods that were around 100 years ago, we come to realise how much we get sucked into the rat race,” says Marie-Luise Freimuth, also known as Tilli. “And then we can gradually change our self-destructive way of life, one step at a time.”
The aim of her classes is to provide stimuli to help people wind down and manage their stress: forest bathing, meditation and herb lore, yoga and inner reflection in “Bavarian retreats”.
Farming not business
When she talks about stress, this particular farm manager is talking from experience. After training as a bank clerk, she rose to a senior position in Marketing and Finance. For years, her desire to live on a farm lay dormant: “In the long run, always dealing with numbers, data and facts offered me too little in life,” she says with a laugh.
Some 23 years ago, Tilli packed in her job: “I set out on a mission to live my true calling – because I knew that I had to do that.” She became a qualified relaxation trainer and forest, nature and landscape guide.
Farm life like in the old days
“This is the farm that I always envisaged in my mind,” says Tilli about her 200 year-old farmstead in the hamlet of Unternaglbach, which she restored with great sensitivity. Guests stay in rustic rooms in the farmhouse or in alcoves in the attic.
Everyone cooks together in the kitchen in the former cow shed, from traditional Bavarian to vegetarian. There is a historic smithy and a granary, once used to store grain. Nowadays you can indulge in hay bathing. Featuring many elements of agricultural life in a bygone era, Tilli’s Hof even attracts film crews looking for nostalgic locations.
A journey into the analogue age
Inspired by her surroundings, Marie-Luise Freimuth has developed a new form of stress management: “No mobile phones, no laptops, no watches,” is her first command at the beginning of the seminar, “today we are living as they did in the past”.
No mobile phone, no watch, no jeans
The time travel starts with a new outfit: a dress and headscarf for the girls, working trousers and hat for the boys. “Your background is unimportant,” says Tilli. “It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, whether you wear branded jeans or designer clothes.”
The uniform helps guests to distance themselves from their everyday lives and reinforces the sense of community. Then it’s just about the people!
Practising patience even while making coffee
After the bell rings in the morning, the day begins with making coffee the old-fashioned way: “Here you first have to warm up the wood stove then wait 20 minutes for the water to boil – this is the first exercise in patience and really helps you to unwind,” says Freimuth.
Then together they make hay, chop wood and weed the potato patch – activities interspersed by relaxation exercises and meditation. The wellness works in a subtle way by being immersed in unaccustomed tasks, while inner growth is achieved by reaching your physical limits.
“And when someone has a lot of aggression, they just go and chop an extra stack of wood,” grins Tilli.
Stepping out of the rat race
The whole process of unwinding creeps up on you: “Time spent here can help you become more mindful and thus develop new strength to cope with life,” says Freimuth. “If you can step out of the rat race for a couple of days and go back to basics again, then you see what is truly important in your everyday life.”
After all, this farm manager is speaking from experience here: “My life has changed such that I now lead a much simpler life here. I’m happy because I can now live in the way I always wanted to.”
More about „Tilli’s Hof“ and her courses at: tillishof.de (only in German)
... from Tilli
Moorgebiet Todtenau (moorland)
You should have seen the Todtenau in our region. This is a moorland area that is truly enchanting in terms of vegetation. There is also a 4.5-kilometre-long, easy nature discovery trail with many information boards about the moor and the surrounding cultural landscape.
bayerischer-wald.de/todtenauer-moor (only in German)
Hike on the Gunthersteig
And then I like to recommend the Gunther Chapel and the Gunthersteig. This is a good hiking trail with great far-reaching views from the viewing platform that was built directly above the small church. There is a resting bench here and also information about the great view.
bayerischer-wald.de/gunthersteig (only in German)