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Your Guide to Yoga Retreats in Nepal

by Alberto G. Güitrón

The go-to resource for planning your yoga retreats & holidays. Find all you need to know about destinations and take your practice to the next level.
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Nepal, the place where every step you take leads you to a state of mindfulness. It doesn’t matter if you are visiting a mighty temple, walking in a rural village or climbing Mount Everest, Nepal is well-known for its magical spiritual feel. 

No to mention that a yoga retreat in Nepal is one of the best experiences you can have in your life. From its humid wooded plains to the icy mountain peaks, this land is full of jungle wildlife, golden temples, fascinating rituals and heritage sites that make it the perfect place for a yoga vacation.  

Since it borders China in the north and India in the south, Nepal might look small on the map in-between these two giants. But it’s actually quite big, maybe as big as the Nepali yoga spirit!

What makes Nepal special for yoga?

yoga in nepal

Image credit: Gone Far Beyond

Just so you can get a sense of the spiritual vibes around here, remember that Gautama Buddha–the founder of Buddhism–was born in Lumbini, in southern Nepal. Indeed, along with India, it is considered the cradle of yoga and a place with a vast Hindu tradition that has enriched the yoga philosophy since its beginnings.

Plus, Nepali people are famous for their friendly spirit; they’re excellent hosts, they’re always wearing a smile and embrace life as it comes with optimism and joy. Certainly, an approach that any yogi could benefit from on and off the mat.

That said, this multicultural country doesn’t constraint to its spiritual vibes only. Being home to several of the highest peaks on Earth, there are tons of complimentary things to do while on a yoga holiday. From adventurous activities like trekking, climbing, sky diving, bungee jumping or rafting, to more tranquil ones like culinary tours to taste the delicious Nepali food or a nice walk around its quaint villages, just to mention a few.

Keep in mind that eight of the world's ten tallest mountains are here. Which means fabulous landscapes to do your asanas, fresh air for your Pranayama, and plenty of hiking and yoga retreats that will bring another dimension to your practice.

In short, there’s so much you can do before, after and during your stay in Nepal. But before you pack your bags, there are few things you want to know first.

Want to know why Nepal is considered to be the ultimate yoga destination? Read this interview with Yogi Panchavedi.

Where to go for a yoga retreat in Nepal?

There are two main cities you don’t want to miss, Kathmandu (the capital) and Pokhara (in central Nepal). But depending on the length of your stay, you’ll probably have to choose only one. So, below you’ll find enough information to decide which of them is the best choice for you.


yoga in kathmandu

Image credit: Gone Far Beyond

As soon as you arrive, you’ll quickly notice that Kathmandu is a living museum where ancient Hindu and Buddhist religious sites merge with Newari architecture and tourist places. This city is the result of a long history of faith and beliefs coexisting with the latest technology.

And if that’s not enough to make you feel like you have stepped into another world, meet the Living Goddess Kumari, a young Newar girl that is worshipped as such by local people. Head to the top of Swayambhu, also called the Monkey Temple, to get a full sight of the amazing Kathmandu Valley.

Want more? Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur. Wander around Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest stupas (mound-like structure containing relics) in all of Nepal. Or, if you prefer some quiet time, go to the Garden of Dreams, a charming place where you can get some coffee and relax.

Lastly, make sure you try Momo, a mouth-watering typical dumpling filled with vegetables or chicken, as you prefer.


yoga in pokhara

Image credit: Salamba Yoga

Nepal's number one adventure and leisure destination, Pokhara is a good place to combine yoga with boating, hiking or pony rides. Or if you prefer something more relaxing, head to Phewa Lake for a meditation session and enjoy the stunning views of the Himalayan peaks’ reflections in the water.

This metropolitan city has something for all kinds of travelers. For instance, if you consider yourself to be more of a mellow person, bird and butterfly watching might be right for you. Or if you prefer adrenaline, sky diving, rafting, paragliding or even climbing the Himalayas, there are lots of options for you as well. Speaking of which, Pokhara is the starting point for various trekking expeditions in the Annapurna. So, if you love heights, you’re definitely in the right place.

On the other hand, if you are a type of person that likes to immerse in the culture of a place, take a walk through the village, discover the unique life of rural Nepal and see the beautiful handicrafts that are produced here.

What kind of yoga retreats are most popular in Nepal?

So, with all this in mind, you probably already have a good idea of what it’s like to go on a yoga vacation in Nepal. However, thanks to its spirituality and stunning scenery, there are three kinds of retreats you should consider: hiking, meditation and yoga teacher training.


yoga and hiking in nepal

If you love yoga as much as you love nature, grab your trekking gear and get ready to practice your best asanas surrounded by the Himalayan ranges, beautiful landscapes and world heritage sites.

The Nepal Himalaya is the most formidable mountain range in the world and a mountaineer's paradise. At the same time, yoga is practiced in almost every village and city in the country, therefore, it’s impossible to think of a better place for going on a yoga and hiking vacation.

Due to its enchanting trails, trekking through the Himalaya is a spiritual experience that all yogi must have at least once in a lifetime. And if you’re not ready for the ultimate glory of reaching the summit of Mt. Everest yet, don’t be discouraged, there are 326 other mountains within Nepal which are open for hiking and several of them are suitable for beginners. 


yoga and meditation in Nepal

Image credit: Himalayan Yoga Academy

If you want to explore within yourself, choose a meditation retreat. Nepal is a phenomenal place to do it. Indeed, according to sacred texts, gods and rishis have come here to meditate in the skirts of the Himalayas for thousands of years.

Nature, impressive mountains, birds chirping, a joyous atmosphere… you just can’t recreate a better place to meditate. Moreover, there are lots of qualified meditation centers offering different types of courses from all traditions and styles.

Teacher training

yoga teacher training in Nepal

Image credit: Himalayan Yoga Academy

What better place to bring your practice to the next level and become a professional yoga teacher than where it was born? Although there’s some debate between India and Nepal, being such an ancient tradition, we can agree that it was around that region.  

You can get a globally recognized certification with a training program that will cover all the fundamental principles of yoga, with an authentic teaching methodology and multiple styles imparted by professional and experienced instructors. In a few words, you can be certain that a yoga teacher training in Nepal will take your practice to a whole new level. 

One last piece of advice

Now that you have a better picture of what to expect from your trip to Nepal, it’s time to pack your bags and book your flight. And when you do so, make sure you choose a window seat. Before landing on Tribhuvan International Airport, you’ll want to take a look outside while you fly past the Everest

Are you a first-timer? Don’t worry, there are several yoga retreats in Nepal for beginners!

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