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Himalayan Hermitage offers you to join this two-week yoga pilgrimage journey to Nepal, where you can explore the inner experience of awakening in yourself, as well as grounding your awareness into the body through yoga. You can also explore the outer element of sacredness and the culture of awakening by visiting many sacred temples and shrines in the Kathmandu Valley. This retreat will let you get your spirit back and make your body healthier.
During this retreat, you will sleep at various comfortable accommodations. In Kathmandu, you will be staying at Hotel Vajra located in Swayambhu. While during your stay in the mountain during the hiking, you will stay in local guest houses and nunnery at Thubten Choling.
This yoga pilgrimage to Nepal will begin at the Vajra Hotel in the area called Swayambhu, ten minutes walk from the Swayambhu stupa in Kathmandu. In this beautiful oasis, surrounded by trees and with big views overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, is where the sessions of meditation and yoga will take place.
After having settled into Kathmandu for the first few days, you will continue your yoga pilgrimage into the foothills of the Himalayas. You will fly into the town of Phablu, in the lower Everest region, which is the starting point. From here, you begin the hike through the upper valleys of Chiwang and Ringmo until you reach the nunnery of Thubten Choling on a hill, nestled into pine tree forests and prayer flags.
Here, you will spend a full day, taking part in the lives of the nuns, before making a loop back to Phablu during the 5-day hike. If weather permits, you will get a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas from Phablu. The following day, you travel back towards Kathmandu Valley by jeep, and stop by the beautiful Namo Buddha Resort and spend a night here.
The yoga and meditation theme will be weaved into your days, both in Kathmandu and in the mountains, as you embark on an inner and outer journey through Nepal. You will start the day by exploring the inner experience of awakening in ourselves, as well as grounding your awareness into the body through yoga, and in the afternoon sessions, you enhance the experience by becoming pilgrims and yogis.
You will explore the outer element of sacredness and the culture of awakening by visiting, and paying homage to the many sacred temples and shrines in the Kathmandu Valley. In the evenings after returning home, you will salute the day by unwinding evening yoga.
The yoga sessions will combine carefully sequenced active and restorative poses with gentle unwinding movements and pranayama that integrates the themes of the seated meditation practice. Detailed alignment, exploration of anatomy, sensory awareness and mindfulness is emphasized to encourage deep listening and a compassionate understanding of one’s own mind-body with the overall intent of cultivating prajna (insight and wisdom) within the yoga experience and beyond.
The sessions are suitable for all levels including those who new to yoga, and modifications of poses and props will be used as needed. There is no prerequisite for joining the yoga pilgrimage or to have in-depth knowledge or experience with the practice of meditation. Simply, to have the wish to go deeper with one’s mind, and to have curiosity regarding its functions is enough. There is nothing religious about the practice of meditation, or to visit sacred places and shrines. In fact, there is nothing even Buddhist about it.
The practice of meditation is simply a tool to bring your mind back to a place of naked awareness, to a place of basic space with yourself. In fact, it is simply put a technique with which to uncover all the layers of hope and fear, grasping and expectations that are all such strong habits of the mind. With the practice of meditation, you can learn to come back to yourself and to become familiar with the groundless and raw quality of reality.
The pilgrimage journey in Kathmandu will begin at the Hotel Vajra in the area called Swayambhu, ten minutes walk from the Swayambhu stupa in Kathmandu. In this beautiful oasis, surrounded by trees and with big views overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, is where the sessions of mediation and Buddhist philosophy will take place. After having settled into Kathmandu for the first few days, you will continue your pilgrimage into the foothills of the Himalayas. You will fly into the town of Phablu, in the lower Everest region, which is your starting point.
From here, you will begin your hike through the upper valleys of Chiwang and Ringmo until you reach the nunnery of Thubten Choling on a hill, nestled into pine tree forests and prayer flags. Here you will spend a full day, taking part in the lives of the nuns, before making a loop back to Phablu during your 5-day hike. If the weather permits, you will get a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas from Phablu.
The following day, you will travel back toward Kathmandu Valley by jeep, and stop by the beautiful Namo Buddha Resort and spend a night here. The yoga and meditation theme will be weaved into your days, both in Kathmandu and in the mountains, as you embark on an inner and outer journey through Nepal.
Arrival and pick up at Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. You will be driven straight to Hotel Vajra in Swayambhu, West Kathmandu. There may be time to rest from the journey, go for a walk or enjoy the sunset on the rooftop in the evening. In the afternoon, there will be an introduction to the yoga pilgrimage by instructors Joan Hyman and Sisse Budolfsen
Morning yoga session followed by breakfast. You will pack up jeep or bus before walking to Swayambhu Stupa. The jeep will pick us up after you pilgrimage to Swayambhu and drive to Neydo Monastery, Pharping for lunch. Free time after lunch. You will have an evening introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Meditation session after dinner. You will spend the next coming nights at Neydo Monastery in Pharping.
Morning yoga and breakfast. You will hike through rice fields to visit the Asura cave and the self-arisen Tara in Pharping. You will hike back for lunch at Neydo Monastery. Free afternoon. Dinner and Meditation session. You will spend the night at Neydo Monastery.
After morning yoga, meditation, and breakfast, you will venture up the Haatiban hill to find Haatiban Resort which is tucked away in pine tree forests. After lunch and a little rest in the beautiful surroundings, you will have an afternoon meditation session in the resort’s yoga shala space. There is the option of enjoying the sauna and steam facilities before or after dinner. You will spend the night at Haatiban Resort.
After your morning meditation and yoga session, you can again use the spa facilities before you ride out to Namo Buddha Resort, where you will spend the next two nights. You will have lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the Namo Buddha Resort followed by a free afternoon. After dinner, you will have a meditation session.
Morning meditation, yoga session, and breakfast at Namo Buddha Resort. After lunch, you will hike to pilgrimage in Namo Buddha where it is said that the previous incarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha sacrificed his body to feed a starving Tigress and her cubs. You will visit the stunning monastery of Thrangu Rinpoche and the sacred Namo Buddha Stupa. You spend the overnight again at the beautiful Namo Buddha Resort.
Morning meditation and yoga session before breakfast. After breakfast, you will depart for Kathmandu to Boudhanath (Sanskrit name) Stupa. Here you will learn about the sacredness of the stupa; circumambulate the stupa, and walk up to the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, Shechen Monastery, built by the great Buddhist master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. After the afternoon in Boudha, you will have dinner and spend the night at Vajra Hotel.
Early morning you will travel to the domestic airport of Kathmandu, and weather permitting*, you will fly to Phablu. (*Weather permitting: if there is low visibility you will then travel by Jeep to Phablu, approximately 8-hours) Phablu is located in the lower Everest region known as Solukhombu, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Flying arrival: You will arrive in Phablu, have lunch, and then hike up the hillside to Phablu (2-3 hours) and spend the night at Chiwang monastery which overlooks the valley below. Jeep arrival: You will spend overnight in Phablu and hike to Chiwang monastery the following day.
After breakfast, you will continue your hike as pilgrims up through to the next village of Ringmo where you have lunch before continuing on to spend the night at Everest View Guesthouse.
After breakfast, you will hike from Everest View Guesthouse over the mountain ridge to Thubten Choling, a nunnery located up in the lower Everest region. At Thubten Choling you will experience the living tradition of a sacred heritage, passed down from the historical Buddha Shakyamuni to the present day, in an unbroken lineage of masters whose teachings have been passed on to their students, seeking the qualities and realization of awakening.
You will join the nuns in their daily practices in the main gompa (place of meditation), and otherwise, there is the chance to go for short hikes in the astounding surroundings of hillsides, dotted with prayer flags and retreat caves.
You will take a few days off hiking and spend the day at Thubten Choling, where you are able to sit in at the nunnery gompa with the nuns practicing. It is possible to go for short hikes in the area around the nunnery. The day is partly guided, partly free for own adventures. According to Tibetan terminology, Thubten Choling is seen as a pure realm; a Buddha field.
This signifies a place where many prayers and mantras have been whispered throughout the years, of the many nuns living there; mantras and prayers of compassion and loving kindness for the wellbeing of all sentient beings, and very naturally one senses the result of this accumulation of merit.
After breakfast, you will hike from Thubten Choling down through the valley below, descending to Phablu, where you will spend the night.
Weather permitting, you will fly (or take the Jeep) back to Kathmandu, enjoy a free afternoon, and have our farewell dinner at Kathmandu’s best pizza joint. You will spend the overnight at Vajra Hotel.
Day of departure. Himalayan Hermitage will help organize transportation to the airport.
This yoga pilgrimage will be started and be finished at Hotel Vajra located in Swayambhu, Nepal.
You will only be served vegetarian meals during this yoga pilgrimage.
Tribhuvan International Airport
You will be picked up at the airport by Himalayan Hermitage's local partners in Kathmandu and brought straight to the Vajra Hotel located in Swayambhu, Western Kathmandu.