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Our Story

Our meeting was a joyful one.

Arising from a natural progression of practicing and studying ways to support myself and others,
I have offered meditation and personal growth retreats for many years. Wouter and Wildrik were participating in one such retreat in the Indian Himalayas when, during a conversation on the way to one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh, they expressed the wish to support projects towards expansion of humanity.  

Close friends and business partners, the quality of Wouter and Wildrik’s commitment was clear, it was obvious that what motivated them was similar to my own intentions.

From this emerged the Yossum Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at expanding life
changing retreats and making them viable for more people to attend.

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our story 3

In an effort to minimise costs for participants, an idea was born to purchase a permanent location.
This idea went through various stages, and searches. Travelling through France, Holland and Spain,
we considered many beautiful places but the big "Yes!" had not yet come.
The discovery of Mandali's setting, however, was guided by a series of strong signals.
Whilst participating in a retreat nearby at Lake Orta in Italy, an old hotel property came up for sale.
The view from the mountain top accelerated my heart and I had goose-bumps all over my body.
Immediately calling Wouter and Wildrik, we realised we had being guided to the perfect location.
Yet although we all knew the preciousness of what we had discovered, the estimate to renovate the
old hotel on site exceeded the available funds and we had no choice but to stop considering it.

As life unfolded, Wouter and Wildrik received an offer for their company and felt, after much consideration,
that selling was the best course of action. This in turn generated the funds for Mandali, and we went back to Italy to purchase the land.
There was much happiness and a strong sense of moving in the right direction.
We next needed to find an architect and builder to construct a place reflecting all our intentions and, once again,
the process was not straight forward.
Spending 9 months working with a team, what was proposed fell far short of what we had envisioned.
Following another stop period, we were blessed to meet two brothers, Gian Carlo and Matteo Primatesta,
who sat with us through uncountable hours to arrive at the proposal for which we all had a big "Yes!".

The creation of Mandali has been one of following inner and outer guidance,
commitment to serve and resilience through obstacles.
Many have come to help us in many parts of this Creation and we are grateful to each one of them.
Wouter, Wildrik and myself are the core guiding people at the heart of Mandali.
Together with an amazing devoted team on our grounds, we all have a firm intention of
allowing Mandali to continue to evolve as a sacred center for transformation.
To welcome high quality Guest Teachers and to expand the Mandali Experience programs we offer
is an everyday joy now.

The evolution of Mandali is a journey of continuous growth, humbling us and requiring the best of what is needed to give.
This is our dream and heartfelt intention - to hold a place of quiet beauty, to learn from, remember who we are and to relax in.

We believe that to spend time in retreat is a necessity for anyone interested in a balanced way of living.
We look forward to welcoming you at Mandali.

In gratitude,

Our core team



Cáli Ornelas life long passion is to support people in returning to their unique self-expression.
Her dedication to understanding and sharing ways of expanding human manifestation is unending and ever developing.

Cáli is the one of the Founders of the Yossum Foundation and a Co-Founder and Principal Guide of Mandali Foundation. Both foundations are not-for-profit organisations. They were created together with Wouter Tavecchio and Wildrik Timmerman, friends and companions dedicated to support awakening in this world.

This passion for understanding human nature has guided Cáli through many diverse fields of study. She has been practicing yoga and engaged in therapeutic processes since the early age of 15. She has studied Sociology and Anthropology at the Goias Federal University in Brazil. Later she built a prominent company in the São Paulo fashion industry.
However, she found that neither academia nor material luxuries of economic success satisfied her.

For 14 years, Cáli embarked on a journey of self-discovery. She studied yoga and deepen her studies on psychotherapy in Australia and USA. Meditation and a broad range of therapeutic approaches with Osho in Pune, India. For seven years, she practiced long periods of silence in retreats under the guidance of her teacher Swami Prem Samdarshi in the Himalayas. And later on received the teachings from the Advaita sage, Ramesh Balsekar, in Mumbai.

Upon her return to Europe, she spent years refining her therapeutic skills by completing trainings in Trauma Healing / Somatic Experiencing (Peter A. Levine), Healing Attachment Wounds with Diane Poole Heller, Enneagram with Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, and Internal Family System Model (IFS) with Richard Schwartz. For many years Cali was immersed in understanding the domains of Essential unfoldment, bringing further depth and richness to the therapeutic work.

For the past 17 years, Cali has delivered residential retreats all over the world. Her teaching is a synthesis of her extensive life experience and focuses on supporting students the opportunity to experience a deep-rooted sense of harmony in relating to one-self and others.

Currently Cáli is focused on expanding the vision of the Mandali Retreat Center in Italy, which is now the base of her teaching activity.

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“ A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
they will say: we did it ourselves. "

- Lao Tzu -

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“ You will come closer and closer to perfection, but you will never be perfect.
For perfection is not the way of existence, growth is the way."

- Osho -

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We believe it is essential to take time for
yourself in a Sacred place