“I’ve always had a dream: to have a piece of land and a magical garden and animals,” says Angela Lindvall. Her dream came true nine years ago when she bought a five-bedroom Mediterranean-style house set on seven acres in Topanga Canyon, which she’s now transforming into Greenleaf Oasis, a site for wellness retreats.
The setting couldn’t be more fitting. Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu, the rustic, arty community — a hideaway for Hollywood stars in the Twenties and stomping ground for musicians and artists such as Wallace Berman, Neil Young and Van Morrison in the Sixties and Seventies — has remained largely unchanged over the years. A handful of mom-and-pop businesses populate Topanga Canyon Boulevard while properties like Lindvall’s are tucked off of winding roads in the hills.
“This was always a community place. I would have friends over for weeklong detoxes and my yoga instructor taught her class here twice a week. I remember my aunt saying, ‘Wow, this place should be a bed and breakfast.’ So it’s always been a flitting idea.” She began renting it out last year to specific clientele seeking “a sacred space and conscious community,” including women’s writing groups and yoga workshops. “People loved it so much that I decided to do my own retreats,” says Lindvall, 36, who is a certified Kundalini yoga teacher and is studying to be a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. “We’re so bombarded these days. People are seeking a sense of peace. I love the idea of facilitating space for people to de-stress.”
Lindvall says Greenleaf Oasis strikes balance between the no-frills boot camp The Ashram in Calabasas and the spalike Ranch at Live Oak Malibu. “I want to offer all kinds of experiences. Some people want to come and be pampered, eat good food, get treatments. Some want a physical transformation, and others want shamanistic work, but in any retreat I want there to be an internal journey. For so long I’ve been in an industry that’s focused on the external, and it’s the way we think, what we eat, how we treat ourselves, that makes us feel good inside,” she says.
On July 23 to 26, she’ll hold her first retreat, called Renew, with acupuncturist and Chinese medicine specialist Neka Pasquale of Urban Remedy. The three-day program will focus on detox and food as medicine. The agenda includes hiking in the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains, yoga in a sari-draped yurt, meditation, acupuncture and evening fire ceremonies, which Lindvall says involve “emotional releasing of things we want to let go of.” Treatments include deep healing massages, raindrop therapy with medicinal plant oils, facials and foot baths. Clients can also avail themselves of the infrared sauna, Jacuzzi and swimming pool — just don’t expect a typical spa experience.
“Recently, I went to a fancy hotel spa for a massage and I felt no real connection there. I want to provide an experience where you feel an inner transformation and healing taking place, not just rub you down with oils like ‘Wham, bam, thank you ma’am,’” she says.
Lindvall, who began modeling at 14, says it’s never been her life’s passion. She became interested in the environment when she had her sons Dakota, 13, and Sebastian, 10. “I became a lot more conscious about what was in our air and water and food,” she says. In Topanga, with her own chickens, vegetable gardens and well, she’s living the eco dream. “In the morning we go out and get our own eggs and pick our own vegetables. A jet-setter might be like, ‘That sounds horrible,’ but I love getting my hands in the dirt.”
While she’ll still appear in front of the camera (she just did a cover shoot for French Marie Claire) and on the occasional runway (at the upcoming amfAR Cinema Against AIDS show in Cannes), she’s most excited about her newest venture. “It’s been this huge leap of faith,” she says, “but I kind of just said, ‘This is what I’m going to do,’ and it’s been beautiful watching things unfold.
GreenleafOasis.org; Retreats for five to eight people, starting at $2,500 per person, all-inclusive.