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Yoga Holiday in Japan

Join Joey Paz and Om Shala in Nagano for 9 days of yoga immersion, deep healing rejuvenation, outdoor adventure, and Zen tranquility. For the retreat, Om Shala Yoga has reserved an entire Onsen Ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn with its own hot springs onsite) for the exclusive use of the guests. That's right! Guests of this retreat will have exclusive, unlimited, 24-hour use of the on-site mineral hot springs baths, mere steps away from their guestrooms.

Meet the instructors

Joey
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Highlights

  • Daily yoga classes
  • Mantra yoga/zen meditation sessions
  • A deep understanding and foundation for lifelong pranayama practice
  • Several guided nature and cultural excursions into the surrounding area
  • Download links for lifetime access to HD quality yoga philosophy lectures
  • Lunch and dinner each day of the retreat
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Memories to last a lifetime!

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Yoga styles


8 days with instruction
Group size: 5-15 participants
Airport transfer available:
Narita International Airport (US$500 per person)
Airport transfer available:
Haneda Airport (US$500 per person)
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
11:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

Facilities

  • Garden
  • Lobby

The retreat will be held at Kamesei Ryokan, a historic former Geisha house with 6 hot spring mineral baths on site. Just this year, an industry newspaper included our Ryokan in their annual list of Top 100 Hotels and Inns in Japan as decided by professionals! Kamesei Ryokan is truly a treasure, and you can read hundreds of stellar reviews on Airbnb if you search for “Kamesei Ryokan” in Nagano.

As you enter our spacious lobby, relax a moment to enjoy its fine woodwork and rustic charm. Take in the serene view of the 'naka-niwa' garden and koi pond. Then, follow the passageway through the garden to your guest room. Sit down on the tatami mat floor and let yourself unwind with a cup of tea as you enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the room. Open the shoji screens for views of your private garden.

Feel free to change into the comfortable yukata robe. (Be warned that you may never want to change back to your western-style clothes again!). Your experience here at our Ryokan will take you far away from the stress and hustle of the outside world, into a place of deep, soothing calm. The spacious lobby includes an antique irori hearth, a wood-burning stove and piano, and bookshelves with an extensive collection of brochures and travel information, as well as a lounging area with a rocking chair for or enjoying views of the central garden and koi pond. Wooden geta sandals are set out in the lobby and Om Shala Yoga encourages guests to wear them with their yukata robe and go for a stroll around town.

Guest rooms

The rooms are divided into 7 on the ground floor, all with private tsubo-niwa pocket gardens, and 5 on the floor upstairs. The ones on the 1st floor are each decorated with a different Nagano-based theme and are named accordingly. The 2nd-floor rooms are named after the mountains visible from each room. Comfortable tatami (futon) floor mattresses provided for sleeping, in the traditional Japanese style.

Please note that the guest rooms do not have their own private showers. The showering facilities are located in the onsen areas, the traditional Japanese-style setup. Soap and shampoo are provided in the showering areas.

Gardens

The gardens start with a Japanese pine tree at the entrance, which is in many ways the main symbol of the inn. The central garden and the many tsubo-niwa pocket gardens along the corridors and attached to the guest rooms feature a variety of plants and trees that provide a constant parade of colors from spring to fall, as well as often being a backdrop to snowy scenery in winter. Azaleas and hydrangeas are especially plentiful as well as many plants that are representative of Nagano Prefecture.

Onsen (volcanic mineral hot spring baths)

The Onsen baths are the heart and soul of the hotel where you will be staying and practicing. For the duration of the retreat, you will have full, exclusive use of 6 Onsen bathing areas of natural hot spring mineral water straight from the source, 100% free-flowing 24 hours a day. The region’s onsen water is richly high in sulfur content and is luxuriously alkaline, with a pH of around 8.6, the minerals have the effect of leaving your skin feeling silky-smooth. The 6 main baths are the men’s large indoor and hand-made river rock outdoor bath, women’s smaller indoor and its two outdoor baths, and the outdoor family bath.

Program

In this 9-day, all-inclusive retreat experience, you will divide your time evenly between in-depth immersive study and practice of yoga, pranayama, mudra, mantra, and philosophy; adventure and exploration; and deep, healing, rejuvenating relaxation in your sulfur mineral hot spring pools. This retreat will feature exclusive 24-hour use of their own private onsens (volcanic mineral hot springs) on-site, for the exclusive use of the retreat guests! You read that correctly - healing, mineral volcanic hot springs, mere steps away from your guest room, available at all times for guests of this retreat only.

When you're not practicing or rejuvenating body and spirit in the onsen springs, you'll go on adventures into the picturesque Japanese Alps that surround the town of Togura, and other historical sites in the surrounding region, explore the Chikuma River via bicycle, and enjoy the multitude of natural and historical sites throughout the area. There will be plenty of free time for you to explore the Temples, Theatres, and Tea Houses of Japan at your own pace!

This retreat is all-inclusive and you will have fresh, seasonal, local cuisine prepared daily by an award-winning chef on-site at the retreat, 2 meals a day. You'll even visit the world-famous hot springs snow monkeys!

As if all that weren’t enough, your retreat will conclude with a full moon lunar eclipse, which you'll view from Chorakuji Temple - a famous heritage site designated as “the best moon-viewing site in Japan”- due to the surreal effect of the moon reflecting from the dozens of rice paddy pools in the valley below. Even Basho, Japan’s most beloved poet, visited the temple for this reason in 1688 and wrote a very famous haiku about the moon from the exact spot where you'll be viewing the eclipse.

The yoga curriculum of this retreat will focus on the 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga as taught by Sri BNS Iyengar of Mysore, India. For more about this lineage and methodology of practice, see Joey’s website (linked below in bio). Daily morning practice sessions will include Therapeutic/Somatic movement, kriya (preparation), asana (postural practice), pranayama (yogic breathing techniques), mudra (bodily energy seals), mantra (yogic chanting), and a deep dive into yoga philosophy.

Beginners, as well as experienced yoga practitioners, are encouraged! This retreat is also suitable for yoga teachers.

November is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Nagano- the autumn leaves are blazing across the countryside, and the beginning of the annual harvest heralds a season of festivities, abundance, and gratitude. You are extra fortunate to be able to witness a full moon lunar eclipse on the last day of your retreat!

Onsen (volcanic mineral hot spring baths)

The Onsen baths are the heart and soul of the hotel where you will be staying and practicing. For the duration of the retreat, you will have full, exclusive use of 6 Onsen bathing areas of natural hot spring mineral water straight from the source, 100% free-flowing 24 hours a day. The region’s onsen water is richly high in sulfur content and is luxuriously alkaline, with a pH of around 8.6, the minerals have the effect of leaving your skin feeling silky-smooth. The 6 main baths are the men’s large indoor and hand-made river rock outdoor bath, women’s smaller indoor and its two outdoor baths, and the outdoor family bath.

Balneology is the practice of treating and preventing disease through the use of natural mineral hot springs water. This practice has been used since the bronze age by many different civilizations including the Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks.

Soaking in mineral hot springs waters have numerous benefits such as:

  • Improve circulation—They are thought to help with blood circulation, hypertension, nervous imbalances, and atherosclerosis.
  • Treat skin infections—Sulfur is a mineral present in every cell of your body and is used to make collagen, which keeps your skin smooth and healthy. Hot springs are a rich source of sulfur and their healing benefits include treating skin irritations and infections such as rashes and eczema. Sulfur-rich hot springs are also thought to help treat dry scalp, arthritic pain, and internal problems such as menopausal symptoms and digestive disorders.
  • Reduce stress—Hot springs help your body relax, which benefits many aspects of your health, including sleeping patterns and nutrient assimilation. The relaxation promoted by the heat and buoyancy of hot springs also helps increase the range of motion of your muscles and joints, making the soaking beneficial for individuals recovering from trauma or suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Detoxify—Bathing repeatedly in hot springs can help tone your autonomic nervous system and normalize your endocrine system, as well as release toxins in your body through sweating.
  • Boost immune system—Some proponents believe that iron content in hot springs, along with other trace minerals, might help build your body’s immune system, making it stronger and more able to fight infections.

Retreat itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrive at Togura Train station. Our driver will be waiting to take you directly to the retreat.
  • 11:00 - 16:00 Arrive, relax, unwind, soak in the mineral hot spring baths
  • 16:00 - 18:00 Opening circle, introductions, retreat itinerary, first practice
  • 18:00 - 19:00 Dinner
  • 19:00 - 20:30 Philosophy lecture from the "Mysore yoga traditions" scholarly archive (topic TBA)

Day 2

  • 08:00 - 11:00 Morning practice (all morning practice sessions will include yoga philosophy talks, therapeutic/somatic movement, asana, mudra, and pranayama practice
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 13:00 Sencha tea brewing lesson with a tea Sensei
  • 13:00 - 17:00 Free time
  • 17:00 - 18:00 Mantra yoga/zen meditation
  • 18:00 - 19:00 Dinner
  • 19:00 - 20:30 Philosophy lecture from the “Mysore yoga traditions” scholarly archive (topic TBA)

Day 3

  • 08:00 - 11:00 Yoga practice
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 18:00 Free time/Trip to Togurajuku Kitty Park, home to one of the biggest Tengu statues in Japan and superb views over the city and Chikuma River
  • 18:00 - 19:00 Mantra yoga/zen meditation
  • 19:00 Dinner
  • 19:00 - 20:30 Philosophy lecture from the “Mysore yoga traditions” scholarly archive (topic TBA)

Day 4

  • 08:00 - 11:00 Yoga practice
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 18:00 Free time
  • 18:00 - 19:00 Mantra yoga/zen meditation
  • 19:00 Dinner
  • 19:00 - 20:30 Philosophy lecture from the “Mysore yoga traditions” scholarly archive (topic TBA)

Day 5

  • 08:00 - 11:00 Morning asana, mudra, pranayama practice
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 18:00 Day trip to Matsumoto Black castle and Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park, home of the world-famous “snow monkeys!”
  • 18:00 - 19:00 Dinner
  • 19:00 - 20:30 Philosophy lecture from the “Mysore yoga traditions” scholarly archive (topic TBA)

Day 6

  • 08:00 - 11:00 Morning asana, mudra, pranayama practice
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 18:00 Free time/hike to Arato Castle on the legendary Mt. Kamuriki
  • 18:00 - 19:00 Dinner
  • 19:00 - 20:30 Philosophy lecture from a senior scholar of Mysore, India (topic TBA)

Day 7

  • 08:00 - 11:00 Morning asana, mudra, pranayama practice
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 17:00 Free time
  • 17:00 - 18:00 Mantra Yoga/Zen meditation
  • 18:00 - 19:00 Dinner
  • 19:00 - 20:30 Documentary film: “Mysore yoga traditions”

Day 8: Full moon eclipse in Taurus

  • 08:00 - 11:00 Morning asana, mudra, pranayama practice
  • 11:00 - 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 17:00 Free time
  • 17:00 - 19:00 Full Moon meditation/eclipse viewing from Chorakuji temple, a historically designated Japan Heritage Site famous for moon viewing
  • 19:00 Dinner

Day 9

  • 08:00 - 10:00 Farewell practice
  • 10:00 Breakfast
  • 11:00 Checkout, transportation to Togura Train Station

Included excursions

Several guided nature and cultural excursions into the surrounding area, including Matsumoto Black Castle, Mt. Kamikuri, Jigokudani Monkey Park, and more (see retreat itinerary below for specifics)

Instructors

Joey Paz

Retreat location

Located near the Chikuma River at the foothills of the Japanese alps, Togura is a spa town and a nature lover's paradise.

This Yoga Retreat is vegetarian-friendly

Click to see more vegetarian-friendly Yoga Retreats

Food

Lunch and dinner each day of the retreat (fresh Japanese vegetarian cuisine prepared on-site by the in-house chef. Please note that tea and light snacks will be provided rather than a full breakfast prior to morning practice sessions, as it is recommended to practice yoga on a very light or empty stomach-if you require a full breakfast before practice, it is available at the inn, but you will be responsible for it.

Fresh, local, delicious vegetarian cuisine prepared daily on-site for the retreat guests. Gluten-free diets and any food allergies can be accommodated.

The following meals are included:

  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Spa treatments

The 6 on-site mineral hot springs baths are available for guests 24 hours a day at no extra cost for the duration of the retreat.

What's included

  • All yoga classes, lectures, and curriculum, including an extensive PDF study guide of all material covered for continued study
  • Lunch and dinner each day of the retreat
  • Snacks and tea
  • 8 nights accommodation in a private room
  • 24 hour, exclusive use of the 6 onsens (mineral hot spring baths) on-site at the accommodation
  • Taxi to and from Togura train station upon arrival and departure, directly to and from the retreat
  • A download of Joey’s HD-quality primary series instructional video for self-practice
  • Free access to all of Joey’s online classes and workshop offerings from the time you enroll up until the retreat
  • Several guided nature and cultural excursions into the surrounding area
  • Download links for lifetime access to HD quality yoga philosophy lectures from senior scholars and yogis of Mysore, India
  • A deep understanding and foundation for lifelong pranayama practice, one of the most powerful yogic tools for maintaining resilient health and well-being
  • An international crew of new friends and global connections
  • Memories to last a lifetime!

What's not included

  • Airfare to/from Japan
  • Full breakfast (light snacks and tea will be provided in the morning before practice, and lunch will be served as soon as we finish practice each day)
  • Transportation to Nagano
  • Any activities not explicitly mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals taken outside of the retreat

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Narita International Airport Airport transfer available: Narita International Airport (US$500 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Haneda Airport Airport transfer available: Haneda Airport (US$500 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 12 days before arrival.
9 days / 8 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 5 participants

Availability

Arrival: Monday April 18, 2022
Departure: Tuesday April 26, 2022

Early bird discount

The prices below include an early bird discount of 500 USD per person. To benefit, book or reserve before January 1, 2022.

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