Yoga-Pilgrimage to Nepal

14TH – 27TH MARCH 2018

With Joan Hyman & Sisse Budolfsen

This yoga pilgrimage journey to Nepal will begin at the Vajra Hotel in the area called Swayambhu, ten minutes walk from the Swayambhu stupa in Kathmandu. In this beautiful oasis, surrounded by trees and with big views overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, is where our sessions of mediation and Buddhist philosophy will take place. After having settled into Kathmandu for the first few days, we spend the following week in the hills of the Kathmandu Valley. We spend three nights at Neydo Monastery in the sacred valley of Pharping. After our stay there, we journey onward to Namo Buddha where we stay three nights at the beautiful Namo Buddha Resort. On our way back to Kathmandu, we pay homage to the majestic Boudha Stupa. We spend the last night at Vajra Hotel before we travel into the foothills of the Himalayas on the next day. We fly into the town of Phablu, in the lower Everest region, which is our starting point. From here, we begin our hike through the upper valleys of Chiwang and Ringmo until we reach the nunnery of Thubten Choling on a hill, nestled into pine tree forests and prayer flags. Here we spend a full day, taking part in the lives of the nuns, before making a loop back to Phablu during our 5-day hike. If weather permits, we will get a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas from Phablu. We return to Kathmandu by flight or jeep the following day, where we will have our last night of the pilgrimage journey back at Vajra Hotel. The yoga, Buddhist philosophy and meditation theme will be weaved into our days, both in Kathmandu and in the mountains, as we embark on an inner and outer journey through Nepal.

Introducing the Facilitators

This yoga pilgrimage will be jointly facilitated by yoga instructor Joan Hyman, and instructor in meditation and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, as well as the guide in Nepal, Sisse Budolfsen.  The groups will hold the maximum amount of 15 people.

Joan is based in Los Angeles, California, in the USA and works as the director of Teacher Trainings at the yoga studio Wanderlust in Los Angeles. With over twenty years of experience leading retreats, trainings, and workshops worldwide,  fifteen of which as a distinguished YogaWorks senior teacher, Joan travels the world teaching yoga teacher trainings. Joan’s teachings come from an organic and intuitive place, as she draws upon the combination studies of Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga as well as Ayurveda, and meditation. An authentic modern day yogi, Joan’s love and devotion show up in her practice and through her style of teaching. To learn more about Joan visit: http://www.joanhyman.com/yoga/

Sisse Budolfsen has been based in Nepal on and off for nearly 12 years and has a wealth of experience in Nepal, Tibet and in the Himalayan region. Sisse has studied and practiced Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice throughout her time in Nepal, and Sisse guides and facilitates the meditation and philosophy sessions during this Yoga Pilgrimage. For more information on Sisse Budolfsen, please go here.

– We are very excited to be facilitating this yoga pilgrimage together for the first time!

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, seep out of every temple and shrine in the Kathmandu Valley. In the daily meditation sessions, we will explore the inner capacity for the mind to fully rest, and familiarise ourselves with the experience of being free from the constant, and very subtle dichotomy of hope and fear.

We start the day by exploring the inner experience of awakening in ourselves, as well as grounding our awareness into the body through yoga, and in the afternoon sessions we enhance the experience by becoming pilgrims and yogis. We 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, we salute the day through unwinding evening yoga.

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Sample Daily Schedule (note. schedule will vary day-to-day during travel into the mountains and we cannot always guarantee a set schedule for yoga and meditation)

  • 8:00 – 9:00 Yoga
  • 9:15 – 10:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00 – 12:00 Morning session
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00 – 4:30 Visiting sacred places
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Yoga
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Dinner

Info on 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, to a place of basic space with yourself. In fact, it is simply put a technique with which 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 we can learn to come back to ourselves, and to become familiar with the groundless and raw quality of reality.

Info on Yoga

The yoga sessions will combine carefully sequenced including a different theme each day.  Classes will range from a vigorous morning practice including pranayama and meditation and a more gentle restorative practice in the afternoon. Detailed alignment, exploration of anatomy, sensory awareness and mindfulness is 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 those new to yoga, and modifications of poses and props will be used as needed.

Itinerary

Vajra Hotel, an oasis in Swayambhu

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU

Arrival and pick up at Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. We drive straight to Hotel Vajra 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 Joan Hyman & Sisse Budolfsen

The majestic Swayambhu stupa

DAY 2 - SWAYAMBHU

Morning yoga session followed by breakfast. We pack up Jeep or Bus before walking to Swayambhu Stupa. The Jeep will pick us up after our pilgrimage to Swayambhu and drive to Neydo Monastery, Pharping for lunch. Free time after lunch. We will have an evening introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Meditation session after dinner. We spend the next coming nights at Neydo Monastery in Pharping.

At the Pharping Guru Rinpoche cave

DAY 3 - PHARPING

Morning yoga and breakfast. We hike through rice fields to visit the Asura cave and the self-arisen Tara in Pharping. We hike back for lunch at Neydo Monastery. Free afternoon. Dinner and Meditation session. We spend the night at Neydo Monastery.

Rice field in Namo Buddha

DAY 4 - NAMO BUDDHA

After our morning mediation/yoga session we journey to Namo Buddha – one of the three most sacred spots of the Kathmandu Valley  where we spend the next three nights. We will have lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the Namo Buddha Resort followed by a free afternoon. After dinner we will have a meditation session.

View of the Kathmandu Valley

DAY 5 - NAMO BUDDHA

After our morning mediation/yoga session we will have a free day to rest, restore and/or hike around in the beautiful surroundings of Namo Buddha Resort. After dinner we will have a meditation session.

View of Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery

DAY 6 - NAMO BUDDHA PILGRIMAGE

Morning meditation/yoga session and breakfast at Namo Buddha Resort. After lunch we hike to pilgrimage in Namo Buddha where it is said that the previous incarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha sacrificed his body to feed a starving Tigress and her cubs. We visit the stunning monastery of Thrangu Rinpoche and the sacred Namo Buddha Stupa. We overnight again at the beautiful Namo Buddha Resort.

The majestic Boudha stupa

DAY 7 - BOUDHANATH

Morning meditation/yoga session before breakfast. After breakfast we depart for Kathmandu to Boudhanath (Sanskrit name) Stupa. Here we 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 we will have dinner and spend the night at Vajra Hotel.

Walking pilgrims

DAY 8 - HIKE TO CHIWANG MONASTERY FROM PHABLU

Early morning we travel to the domestic airport of Kathmandu, and weather permitting*, we fly to Phablu. (*Weather permitting:  if there is low visibility we will then travel by Jeep to Phablu, aprox. 8hrs)

Phablu is located in the lower Everest region known as Solukhombu, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Flying arrival: We will arrive in Phablu, have lunch, and then hike up the hillside to Phablu (2-3 hrs) and spend the night at Chiwang monastery which overlooks the valley below.

Jeep arrival: We will overnight in Phablu and hike to Chiwang monastery the following day.

Hiking through lush forests in the Everest region

DAY 9 - HIKE FROM CHIWANG TO EVEREST VIEW GUESTHOUSE

After breakfast, we continue our hike as pilgrims up through to the next village of Ringmo where we have lunch before continuing on to spend the night at Everest View Guesthouse.

 

Nun climbing the stairs at Thubten Choling

DAY 10 - HIKE FROM EVEREST VIEW GUESTHOUSE TO THUBTEN CHOLING

After breakfast, we hike from Everest View Guesthouse over the mountain ridge to Thubten Choling, a nunnery located up in the lower Everest region. At Thubten Choling we 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 realisation of awakening. We 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.

Thubten Choling nuns

DAY 11 - THUBTEN CHOLING NUNNERY

We take a few days off hiking and spend the day at Thubten Choling, where we 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 own adventures.

According to Tibetan terminology, Thubten 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.

 

Crossing a bridge in Solo Khumbu

DAY 12 - WE HIKE FROM THUBTEN CHOLING TO PHABLU

After breakfast we hike from Thubten Choling down through the valley below, descending to Phablu, where we spend the night.

Folklore in Boudha

DAY 13 - TRAVEL BACK TO KATHMANDU & FAREWELL DINNER

Weather permitting, we fly (or take the Jeep) back to Kathmandu, enjoy a free afternoon, and have our farewell dinner at Kathmandu’s best pizza joint. We overnight at Vajra Hotel.

Nuns from Thubten Choling

DAY 14 - DAY OF DEPARTURE

Day of departure. We help organize transportation to the airport.

WHERE – NEPAL –  Kathmandu Valley & Thubten Choling in Solo Khumbu, Mt. Everest Region, see Nepal map

WHEN – March 14th – March 27th 2018

PRICE  – EARLY BIRD OFFER UP UNTIL JANUARY 1ST  – 3160 USD   

 –  Twin room to share: 3360 USD / Single room supplement: 355 USD

BOOKINGS – Please refer to our booking procedures via this link and our cancellation policy via this link.

INCLUSIONS

  • All accommodation, meals and transport in Nepal
  • Experienced guide and instructor – Joan Hyman & Sisse Budolfsen
  • Return flight to and from Phablu, or in case of cancellation of flight, return jeep ride one or both ways

EXCLUSIONS

  • International flight ticket to Nepal
  • Personal insurance during the yoga pilgrimage
  • Any alcoholic beverage during the yoga pilgrimage
  • Tip to local guide and porters

For bookings and more information himalayanhermitage108@gmail.com