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Pack your bags, roll up your yoga mat, and join Peace Through Yoga to savor the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Holy Land. This culinary and yoga tour to Israel is an off-the-beaten path exploration of the cultural and spiritual, contemporary and ancient, and active and restorative aspects of this mystical land. You will discover some of Israel’s most dramatic landscapes in the Galilee, Mediterranean coast, Tzfat, and among the archaeological ruins of sites from the time of Jesus and even earlier. This colorful trip will be woven together by yoga, Middle Eastern cuisine, and spirituality.
You will be staying at a villa in Galilee, a boutique villa in Jerusalem, and a boutique hotel in Tel Aviv.
Once you arrive at your villa in the rolling hills of the Western Galilee where you will spend the next 3 nights, there will be time to acclimate to your surroundings and refresh from your travels. Rest in the comfort of your room or in a quiet place on the property and settle into the tranquil pace of being on a yoga retreat far from home, work, and responsibilities. Peace Through Yoga will offer a late afternoon gentle yoga class for those ready to stretch and open their hearts to this ancient and sacred land. Spa services are available, as you wish, for additional fees. Please note that plans for this day are subject to change as they are dependent on arrival times for all of the guests.
Rise and greet the day with sun salutations and a yoga balanced practice of opening stretches and an invigorating flow. If weather permits, you will hold as many, if not all, of your classes outdoors. The mid-to-late afternoon is free time. Enjoy a siesta, discover a private place for meditation, or perhaps find a comfortable seat on the grounds for reading or journaling. Join then for sunset yoga, a Vinyasa class of flowing poses in the cool breezes of the Galilee. This night is dedicated to a cooking lesson and boldly flavored meal. You will prepare your own dinner with Chef Nir Margalith of Margolis Catering to learn how to make savory dishes characteristic of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Rise and greet the day with a morning flow yoga class. Once again, early risers will find hot coffee and tea prepared and a light bite to enjoy before class. After your yoga class, you will gather in the villa for a traditional Israeli breakfast. The itinerary this day also includes a spiritual workshop with a Kabalistic scholar. Kabalah, an ancient Jewish system of how to achieve lasting fulfillment, teaches principles and values that are universal among all faiths and spiritual practices. For more than 5,000 years, Jewish mysticism has illuminated a path to love and unity. You will learn more about this mystical tradition that is believed to reveal all of the secrets of the Universe. Once back to your van, you will visit Dir El Assad, a small Muslim village and home to the popular Arab gourmand, Chef Camla. You will join the chef for a workshop on the preparation of foods characteristic of the Galilean region. You can look forward to a lively, robust dinner with all the flavors of the region.
You will want to dress comfortably because you will hold your morning meditation and yoga session at your first stop for the day, a holy site with a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee. The itinerary includes a visit to Magdala, a once bustling town in the first century Common Era (CE) known to be the birth place of Mary Magdalene and a place where Jews gathered to hear the teachings of Jesus. They have arranged a workshop with Chef Julie Auerbach, known nationally as Chef “Raw-Raw.” She is originally from Denver where her family has a long history in the meat distribution bussiness. Julie demystifies the raw food diet. Your next stop is the Old City of Nazareth in the lower Galilee, the childhood home of Jesus. Your tour will include a visit to the Church of the Annunciation, one of Christianity’s holiest sites, built above the cave that is recognized as Joseph and Mary’s home. You will also visit the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, constructed over the underground spring where Mary drew water and that still flows today.
You will need to pack a shirt or shawl and a skirt because the historic Old City of Jerusalem located within the ancient stone walls is your first destination. You will head to Gan Sacher, the “Central Park” of Jerusalem. Here you will hold your outdoor yoga session, just as many Israelis do each day. Be sure to save room for lunch because this day feature is a gastronomic feast for the eyes and stomach. Together you will venture to Mahane Yehudah, one of Israel’s most vibrant outdoor markets. They have allotted time for you in the afternoon for reflection in any number of the city’s temples and churches.
On this day, you leave the Holy City and board your van for your next destination, Tel Aviv. Before heading to this contemporary city that never sleeps, you will visit Neot Kedumim, a lush nature reserve that recreates the biology and environment of the biblical era. This setting is ideal for your yoga class and a short hike on any of the many trails winding through the park. In Tel Aviv, you will check into a boutique hotel close to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and Dizengoff Street, the city’s fashionable shopping district. You will enjoy a traditional multi-course Shabbat dinner that they will prepare together at Jaffa Beach.
Just as many Israelis do, you will head to the beach in the morning for yoga beside the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you will pack your belongings and store your luggage with the concierge so you will be unencumbered on this, your last day in Israel. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is world-renowned for its extensive contemporary art collections. For those interested in regional archaeology, the Eretz Israel Museum should be at top of the list. Bicycles are available for rent if you would like to pedal along the Yarkon River and on Tel Aviv’s many cycling trails. They have chosen the ancient port city of Jaffa as the location for your farewell dinner.
Mindi is a yogi, former resident of Israel, and current owner of the three Peace Through Yoga studios in the greater metropolitan area of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. She fulfilled her lifelong dream of being an archaeologist by working for the Israel.
She was also an Antiquities Authority for 6 years. It began when she volunteered to assist at the Tel Dor excavations, the location of one of King Herod’s port cities north of Tel Aviv. What was intended to be a 2-month escape from the rigors of a professional life turned into a year of intensive studies in Hebrew and Biblical Archaeology at the internationally recognized Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Always one to make the most of each moment, she supplemented her studies by working for the Tel Dor research team and volunteering for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in their Department of Archaeological Conservation.
Bicycling, running, and ultimately, yoga became her means for finding the tranquility she had experienced on archaeological excavations. While her regular yoga practice complemented her aerobic activities, she discovered that it provided balance in her stressful professional life. The equanimity between the physical and spiritual worlds and within herself inspired Mindi to share with others the riches of the yoga tradition she has come to embrace.
For the first 3 nights, you will be staying at a villa in Galilee. Galilee is the first place you are going to visit. In Galilee, there is a small farming community called Moshav Liman that supplies most of the produce for the Italian-style, farm-to-table restaurant known throughout Israel.
Tzfat is a home to a thriving artist community. Renowned artists from all over the world have established beautiful galleries and studios featuring oil paintings, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, textiles, photography, and many displaying Middle Eastern influences as interpreted by the artist.
Your next accommodation is a boutique villa in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is called City of Gold. In Jerusalem, there is an international restaurant called Notra Dame Wine and Cheese Bar. It is located in the Notre Dame Pontifical Institute of Jerusalem Center. It serves imported cheeses and private-label and imported wines and has a breathtaking view of the holy city.
Your last accommodation will be a boutique hotel in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is Israel’s cosmopolitan center where East meets West. It is known as the White City with its apartment-lined streets, towering office buildings, international boutiques, and open boulevards.
Your epicurean adventure begins on your first night with a fresh, artfully prepared meal at Bistro Michael located in Moshav Liman.
You will gather in the villa for a traditional Israeli breakfast, which is always a favorite among visitors. Fresh vegetables, farm-fresh eggs, and a variety of yogurts and cheeses, including “Labane,” a popular yogurt-like cheese spread thought to be one of the earliest cheeses made, are featured on your daily breakfast buffet.
Early risers will find hot coffee and tea prepared and a light bite to enjoy before class. After your yoga class, you will gather in the villa for a traditional Israeli breakfast.
In Jerusalem, you will regroup to dine at Notre Dame Wine and Cheese Bar, an international restaurant in the Notre Dame Pontifical Institute of Jerusalem Center featuring imported cheeses, private-label and imported wines, and a breathtaking view of the holy city. The next breakfast will be a healthy Israeli breakfast in the hotel.
You will decide which place to have your lunch today. With restaurants of every kind, from tables set up in a stall, falafel stands, to boutique wine and cheese bars, the most difficult part of your day will be deciding where to savor the local fare that makes the region so unique.
The dinner will be a celebration of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, when the city settles down to a whisper as families come together for a traditional meal. The flavors of your dinner represent the influence of the many cultures in modern-day Israel. Tea or strong Middle Eastern coffee and a tasty sweet wrap up this relaxing meal.
Peace Through Yoga has chosen the ancient port city of Jaffa as the location for your farewell dinner. The restaurants dotting the coast are famous for their fresh seafood. These lively restaurants feature al fresco dining with a stunning view of the Tel Aviv skyline. The menu includes a bounty of Middle Eastern salads, a wide selection of fresh-caught seafood, and side dishes to complement your main course. Frequently, diners can watch fishermen hauling their day’s catch while the waves lap at the coastline. This relaxed dinner is one of camaraderie and fellowship after your journey together through modern and ancient Israel.
Spa treatments are available but they are not included in the price. For more information, please send Peace Through Yoga an inquiry.
Please book a flight and arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV). Peace Through Yoga’s representative from their Israeli tour operator, Puzzle Israel, will pick you up at the airport. The transfer is included in the price.