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Retreat yourself into this yoga pilgrimage in Nepal! This yoga pilgrimage will be jointly facilitated by yoga, meditation, and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy instructor, Parijata Charbonneau, as well as a guide in Nepal, Alex d’Artois. Here, you will explore the Buddhist culture of the Himalayas with the countless blessings of the many yogis and yoginis who have practiced the path of awakening here for centuries, seeping out of every temple and shrine in the Kathmandu Valley. Get your name listed on this enjoyable yoga pilgrimage!
During this retreat, you will stay at various accommodations provided by Himalayan Hermitage, including Vajra Hotel, Neydo Tashi Choling Monastery, Haatiban Resort, Namo Buddha Resort, Chiwong Monastery, Hotel Everest View, and Thupten Chöling Monastery.
This yoga pilgrimage to Nepal will begin at the Vajra Hotel in the area called Swayambhu, a ten-minute walk from the Swayambhu stupa in Kathmandu. In this beautiful oasis surrounded by trees and with big views overlooking the Kathmandu Valley is where your sessions of meditation and yoga will take place. After having settled into Kathmandu for the first few days, you continue your yoga pilgrimage into the foothills of the Himalayas.
You will fly to the town of Phaplu in the lower Everest region, which is your starting point. From here, you begin your hike through the upper valleys of Chiwang and Ringmo until you reach the nunnery of Thupten Choling on a hill, nestled into pine tree forests and prayer flags. Here, you spend a full day, taking part in the lives of the nuns, before making a loop back to Phaplu during your 5-day hike.
If weather permits, you will get a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas from Phaplu. The following day, you travel back to Kathmandu Valley by jeep and stop by the beautiful Namo Buddha Resort and spend a night there. 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.
In the daily meditation sessions, you will explore the inner capacity of the mind to fully rest and familiarise yourselves with the experience of being free from the constant and very subtle dichotomy of hope and fear. You start the day by exploring the inner experience of awakening in yourselves as well as grounding your awareness into the body through yoga. In the afternoon sessions, you enhance the experience by becoming pilgrims and yogis. You 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 salute the day by unwinding evening yoga.
Please note that the schedule will vary day-to-day during travel into the mountains and it cannot always be guaranteed as a set schedule for yoga and meditation.
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 and to a place of basic space with yourself. In fact, it is simply a technique 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 yourselves and to become familiar with the groundless and raw quality of reality.
The yoga sessions will combine carefully sequences including a different theme each day. Classes will range from a vigorous morning practice including pranayama and meditation to a more gentle restorative practice in the afternoon. Detailed alignment, exploration of anatomy, sensory awareness, and mindfulness are 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 are new to yoga and modifications of poses and props will be used as needed.
You will arrive and be picked up at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. You drive straight to Vajra Hotel 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, Parijata Charbonneau and Alex d’Artois.
You will enjoy a morning yoga session followed by breakfast. Then, you will pack up for a drive on a jeep or bus before walking to Swayambhu stupa. The jeep will pick you up after your pilgrimage to Swayambhu and drive you to Neydo Monastery for Pharping for lunch. Later, you will have a free time after lunch. You will have an evening introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Meditation session will be after dinner. You spend the next coming nights at Neydo Tashi Choling Monastery in Pharping.
You will enjoy a morning yoga practice and breakfast. Later, you hike through rice fields to visit the Asura Cave and the self-arisen Tara in Pharping. You hike back for lunch at Neydo Tashi Choling Monastery and enjoy your free afternoon. In the evening, you will enjoy the dinner and meditation session. You spend the night at Neydo Tashi Choling Monastery.
After morning yoga or meditation and breakfast, you 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 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 spend the night at Haatiban Resort.
After your morning mediation / yoga session, you can, again, use the spa facilities before you ride out to Namo Buddha Resort where you 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.
You will enjoy your morning meditation / yoga session and breakfast at Namo Buddha Resort. After lunch, you hike to pilgrimage in Namo Buddha Resort where it is said that the previous incarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha sacrificed his body to feed a starving tigress and her cubs. You visit the stunning monastery of Thrangu Rinpoche and the sacred Namo Buddha Stupa. You stay overnight again at the beautiful Namo Buddha Resort.
You will enjoy your morning meditation / yoga session before breakfast. After breakfast, you depart for Kathmandu to meet the ‘week 2’ arrivals at 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.
Today is the departure day for those who are not joining ‘week 2’. Those who are continuing on from ‘week 1’ or joining ‘week 2’ will fly, weather permitting, from domestic terminal of Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) to Phaplu. Weather permitting means that if there is low visibility, you will, then, travel by jeep to Phaplu, which is approximately eight hours.
Phaplu is located in the lower Everest region known as Solukhombu, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. If you are flying, you will arrive in Phaplu, have lunch, and then hike up the hillside to Phaplu (2-3 hours) and spend the night at Chiwong Monastery Solukhumbu which overlooks the valley below. If you are traveling by jeep, you will stay overnight in Phaplu and hike to Chiwong Monastery Solukhumbu on the following day.
After breakfast, you 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 Hotel Everest View.
After breakfast, you hike from Hotel Everest View over the mountain ridge to Thupten Choling Monastery, a nunnery located up in the lower Everest region. At Thupten Choling, you 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 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 take a few days off hiking and spend the day at Thupten 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 your own adventures. According to Tibetan terminology, Thupten 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.
You spend your last full day at Thupten Choling, three nights in total, and are able to join the nuns for meditation practice, do yoga, meditation, rest, or go for short hikes in the area around the nunnery.
After breakfast, you hike from Thupten Choling down through the valley below, descending to Phaplu.
If the weather permits, you will fly (or take the jeep) back to Kathmandu, enjoy a free afternoon, and have your farewell dinner at Kathmandu’s best pizza joint. You will stay overnight at Vajra Hotel.
For a geographically small country, Nepal has an incredible diversity that is ranging from the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayas, at its Northern border to Tibet, as well as hot, lush jungle and flat plains in the lowland at its southern border to India. In the eastern part of the country, bordering Darjeeling and India, soft and green hills of tea plantations form the scenery. Few travelers that leave Nepal travel on untouched by its magic and spiritual heritage.
Tribhuvan International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). Transfer from the airport is included. Himalayan Hermitage will pick you up from the airport.
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