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Experience a traditional yoga retreat in the spiritual heart of the world. Kerala is known as 'God's own country' and this is a beautiful opportunity to let your soul breathe as you step into a different culture and a different way of living. Joining The Heart of Yoga, you will get yoga, meditation, and pranayama classes each day plus a various kinds of excursions and an Ayurvedic massage treatment to soothe your body.
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Jicky’s Nest is just a few minutes from Varkala beach where you can swim, sunbathe, or relax with a book and a fresh coconut to drink. It is also close to Varkala cliff top which is filled with restaurants and local shops where you can purchase traditional sarongs, incense, and other handicrafts from Tibet and India.
Your accommodation is in a basic twin-shared room with hot water, mosquito nets, and balcony. All linen and towels provided. There are fans in the rooms but no air conditioning. There is Wi-Fi and free drinking water is also provided. The accommodation is just a few minutes from Varkala beach (where you can swim, sunbathe or relax with a book and a fresh coconut to drink) and the Varkala cliff top - filled with restaurants and local shops where you can purchase traditional sarongs, incense and other handicrafts from Tibet and India.
India is known as the spiritual heart of the world. As the birthplace of the yogic traditions, this is an opportunity to go beyond what is explored in a typical yoga class with experienced Western teachers.
You will be involved in a powerfully transformative full moon fire ceremony and experience a gentle introduction to the art of noble silence for some parts of the retreat. This retreat is open to everyone. Total beginners and experienced practitioners are welcome.
In the west, when people hear the word 'yoga' they most commonly think of the various poses and positions of the body (asanas). However, asana is only one small part of the practice of yoga. The majority of the practice of yoga occurs off your mat, not on it. The word 'asana' roughly translates as 'comfortable seated position'. The purpose of practicing asana is to create a strong and healthy body that is able to sit comfortably in meditation.
The classic yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradipika says that asana can 'create both physical and mental stability, health and feeling of lightness in the body'. Modern asana practice improves your coordination, flexibility, core strength and balance. During this retreat, you will experience a wide range of asana styles - from Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar and modified Ashtanga to Yin and Restorative. Learning about the benefits and differences of each.
Exposing yourself to the wide range of styles and disciplines means you may try a form of asana you have not previously experienced, perhaps even discovering the tradition that best suits your body and personality. During asana classes, the emphasis is always on presence, self-awareness, and self-acceptance. You are always encouraged to perform the exercises according to your own level of ability.
Pranayama is the practice of regulating the breath, which is the source of the prana, or vital life force. The breathing techniques The Heart of Yoga uses in yoga aim to establish a balance between the functions of the body and mind. The most important breathing techniques you will learn with The Heart of Yoga include Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing), which aims to revitalize and purify the energy channels, Bhastrika (bellows breath) which is a revitalizing practice and Bhramari (bumblebee breath) and Viloma (interrupted breath) which are both calming and stress-relieving. Pranayama, especially those practices that involve deep, slow breathing, can have a calming effect on the mind and therefore are an excellent preparation for meditation.
Yoga Nidra means "yogic sleep", that is, a fully conscious experience that the physical body is asleep. Its current form was drafted by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in the 1960's and is a technique of sensory withdrawal (pratyahara) that builds a sense of conscious peace within practitioners. Yoga Nidra is different from other relaxation techniques in that you are never instructed to consciously relax. Meditation is a process of turning inward with a sense of relaxed yet focused concentration.
There are many different types and techniques of meditation, but the purpose of each of them is the same: to complete acceptance of the present moment, exactly as it is and the creation of an opportunity to touch a space that exists within yourself, a space that is not governed by your mind, because it is not your mind. The most common technique is to sit still and relaxed with closed or half-open eyes and focus your attention and consciousness on a single idea or object. This can be a prayer or mantra, the energy centers of the body (chakras), a candle flame, an idea, a color or a shape. Alternatively, you can simply keep your mind calm and focus on a sense of inner peace or your own breathing.
Included in your retreat cost is a one-hour Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage treatment. This is a full-body warm oil massage that acts as a powerful recharger and rejuvenator of mind and body. Discounts are available for any extra treatments you might like to include during your stay with The Heart of Yoga.
You will explore the historic Sivananda Ashram where you will practice yoga and meditation and experience traditional ashram life for one day. Also, you will have a private tour of the stunning backwater, the inland river system of Kerala where you will witness the creation of traditional handcrafts, coconut oil, native wildlife, and eat lunch with the locals. As it is Easter, you will be lucky enough to witness a traditional elephant parade, music, dancing and elephants decorated with brightly colored flowers. You will follow the parade of elephants and dancers down to the ocean.
Lars Samatvam Borgudd
Mandala Yoga Ashram British Wheel of Yoga (Yoga)
Mandala Yoga Ashram (Meditation)
The Ayurvedic Institute (Ayurveda Practitioner)
Lars started practicing yoga in 1986 while studying engineering at the University of Lund. In 2005, he completed his first yoga teacher training at k-yoga in Sweden. He then studied for two years at the Mandala Ashram in Wales, completing an advanced yoga and meditation teacher qualification under the guidance of Swami Nishchalananda. He aims to give people tools to manage their busy lives and appreciate having the opportunity to pass on to others what his teachers have passed on to him.
Emma grew up in Australia and has spent the last ten years traveling the world as an acrobat and trapeze artist. A few years ago, she was struggling with stress and anxiety, managing multiple businesses and her travel or performing career and she became drawn to mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy as an antidote from her endless business. She loves how this practice has brought a small window of peace into her life. She loves Yin yoga, meditation, and silence. But she also loves handstands and Power yoga. Life is made rich by contrasts.
This retreat will be taking place in Varkala, Kerala, India. Kerala has been known as 'God's own country' and the Varkala cliff top is within easy walking distance to all local restaurants, shops, and the beach. There, you can swim in the warm waters of the Arabian sea or take in the breathtaking views from the sheer cliffs that surround the beach.
The Heart of Yoga provides a delicious vegetarian breakfast and lunch each day. This is a great opportunity to sample some of the delicacies of Kerala. You are responsible for your own dinner time meal each night which is a perfect opportunity to connect with other retreat participants and sample the different restaurants (a wide variety of cuisines are on offer).
During your free time in each afternoon you can explore the spectacular Varkala cliff top. There are plenty of shops and markets to collect some beautiful souvenirs of your time in India.
Please book your flight to arrive at Trivandrum International Airport (TRV). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request.
The closest airport is Trivandrum International Airport (TRV). The Heart of Yoga can help organize transfers to and from the accommodation. Flight costs vary from 300 EUR - 1000 EUR return, depending on where you are traveling from.
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