Mindfulness, yoga and meditation retreat at the atmospheric Jakobsberg Monastery in Ockenheim, Mainz, Germany

Published by Martina Esberger on

In mid-June, a group of eight mindfulness practitioners found themselves in the atmospheric Jakobsberg Monastery, perched high above the Rhine. A 300-year-old monastery that is now run by monks of the Missionary Benedictines of St. Ottilien and Benedictine Sisters of the Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King (Philippines).

The monastery

The monastery is a pilgrimage site for the 14 holy helpers. People have been walking this section of the Way of St. James up the mountain since 1720 to venerate the saints in the chapel. Today, Jakobsberg Monastery houses an educational center that provides meditation and seminar rooms, as well as a youth center. Participants stay in single or double rooms and are provided with delicious meals by the monastery kitchen.

Our retreat began on Friday afternoon, after all the participants had found their way to the monastery. One participant came on foot. He wanted to take the pilgrim's path to the monastery and consciously perceive the inner mood while walking.


We were given the rare honor of using the monks' house chapel for the opening of the retreat. The simply furnished chapel with long narrow modern glass windows was decorated in light wood. In this extraordinary atmosphere we paused and arrived at ourselves and at the community in the context of a first meditation. Through the possibility of participating in the active monastic life, we attended an evening Mass followed by Vespers in the church, which allowed us to enter spiritually into the space.

meditation room

The weekend was characterized by a varied program of morning 5-element meditations followed by walking meditation, yoga and guided meditations from secular mindfulness schools that have developed in the West over the past decades. Breathing exercises from yoga, hikes in the surrounding forests and vineyards, and sharing in groups of two or in plenary rounded out the program.


The Roman Catholic saint, church scholar and Benedictine Hildegard of Bingen worked in this part of Germany in the 12th century and is always present, whether in the ruins of the monastery Disibodenberg, where she spent the first forty years, in the monastery Rupertsberg or in the monastery Eibingen, where her relics are laid out. To pay tribute to the place of origin, numerous texts were read from publications by Hildegard of Bingen, which identify her as one of the most important polymaths of natural and medical science of the Middle Ages.

Especially touching remains a metta or loving-kindness meditation that included every individual and all living beings on our planet.


With mostly splendid weather and pleasant temperatures, the group quickly came together as a community.

To quote some of the participants' comments: "The days in Jakobsberg Monastery were intense and lasting for me, I am still happy that I was able to be there. You continue to have so much joy in passing on your infinite knowledge and your immense experience. It is very good to feel this in such a way".


"It was very nice, quite relaxing, but also challenging and insightful. THANK YOU for the weekend and everything together".

"I wanted to thank you very much for this wonderful weekend. I learned so much and relaxed wonderfully".

All in all, a weekend full of memories at an atmospheric place of power with a lot of heart. 2023 it will take place again.