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Mindfulness in the Mountains

Mindfulness in the Mountains: ‘Healing by the Sea’ Comes to Virginia

Reducing Stress Through Mindfulness

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the holiday stress right now, you may want to head to the mountains for a mindfulness retreat. Mindfulness could be your answer to coping with long lines, holiday travel, shopping, or the perfect images we craft in our mind of picturesque holiday celebrations that we cannot make a reality.  

Situated in Stephens City, at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley between the beautiful Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, is the Inn at Vaucluse Spring. It’s where Dr. Tiffany Niide, her husband Derrick and their two children now call home. It’s also where you can attend one of the Inn’s mindfulness workshops.

The terms “mindfulness” and “meditation” get tossed around quite a bit these days. Meditation, once considered flakey, is now highly-touted for its health benefits.  Numerous studies from powerhouse schools such as Harvard Medical School  and Johns Hopkins University have shown that mindful meditation can ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression and pain.  

Dr. Niide believes that we can retrain our brains through the practice of meditation to find more peace, ease, innate wisdom and reduce our stress levels.

Healing by the Sea

Dr. Niide was born in Honolulu and reared on Oahu and Kauai.  She left the island paradise to attend the University of California San Diego where she earned a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. After graduating, she returned to Hawaii to attend medical school.  

She practiced at the Makai Ola center where calming ocean tides were a part of the healing experience offered at the seaside clinic.  Makai Ola roughly translates to “healing by the sea.” With a unique host of non-traditional holistic offerings, the center combined physicians, psychologists, massage therapists, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

The practice fit nicely with Dr. Niide’s background. In her early 20s, she started exploring meditation. It didn’t take her long to realize those same meditation strategies could be used to help her patients and clients. As she delved deeper into additional research and specialty training, she began incorporating a mindfulness-based therapy into her medical practice. She found that she could use meditation to decrease and eliminate the need for medications.  Meditation also helped her clients with stress reduction.  

From the Sea to the Mountains

However, a new calling began to emerge a few years ago. Dr. Niide loved her practice and the surrounding rural beauty was unmatched, but she longed to facilitate retreats. That’s when her dream of running an Inn was crystalized and that’s what led her to the Inn at Vaucluse Spring.

Her vision deepened when her children were young teenagers and spending less time in an office and more time with family was becoming a priority. 

Owning an Inn was the ideal way their family could work and play together.  “We want our children to learn invaluable people skills by working alongside us, helping us clean, cook, serve and interact with our amazing guests from all over the world,” Dr. Niide said. The Inn was a family affair and it was also a way for her husband, Derrick, to showcase his breakfast and baking talents.  

The search for the inn began with spending countless hours scouring the internet and visiting inns from coast to coast. They were searching for a place where she could host mindfulness workshops and to provide her guests with a relaxing and restorative experience – a place where people could find solace and retreat-living away from the hectic lives they led.  In 2015, the Niides found their personal family haven nestled in the mountains of Virginia.

“We were mesmerized not only by the peaceful setting, abundant spring, and history, but also by the people that grace this place,” Dr. Niide recalled.  

The sprawling grounds, the abundance of a natural spring that generates 1.5 million gallons of crystal clear water each day, the unique village of guesthouses and even a private innkeeper’s quarters on the property were exactly what they wanted.

The surrounding Shenandoah Valley was an additional bonus because it is rich with culture and history with great natural wonders such as Shenandoah National and State Parks, Skyline Drive, caverns, Virginia wineries, breweries, distilleries, shopping and antiquing.  

The Aloha Spirit Lives on in Virginia

Hawaii is personified by the warmth, friendliness, and the authenticity of Hawaii’s people. That essence is referred to as the “Aloha Spirit.” The Niides have carried forth this spirit to their home in Virginia.   The spirit shines through in their love for the Inn.

“It’s hard to put into words the feeling of peace and tranquility that this property exudes,” Dr. Niide says of the Inn.

She wants their guests to share in that spirit and to feel nurtured, refreshed and rejuvenated.  She wants her mindfulness programs to help with personal transformations.  

Whether searching for a way to decrease stress or simply wanting to invite more joy and meaning into your life, Dr. Niide believes that mindfulness is a powerful tool that we can all cultivate with practice.

She has seen the personal transformation and benefits of mindfulness in her own life, in the individuals that she has worked with both in community and clinical settings and in the group workshops she has led.

“The power of learning, practicing, and supporting each other in a group setting has been particularly rewarding, as we share in this “being human” experience together,” she said. Best of all, we now have our own healing by the sea tucked away in the mountains of Virginia.

If you are looking to learn more about meditation, corporate mindfulness workplace programs, mindfulness in leadership, or simply staying at the Inn to experience one of Derrick’s culinary delights, you can contact the Inn and Dr. Niide at mail@vauclusespring.com.

Content by Jan Johnston Osburn

Edited by Jessica Monte



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