Travelers should be physically fit and mentally prepared for multiple hours (2-4) of activity hiking almost daily.
Alex & Sisse d’Artois, founders of Himalayan Hermitage, will guide this journey together.
All this to say that simply adding a daily walk, with stairs and/or hills, will be sufficient physical preparation. If you enjoy training then increasing the amount that you walk until maintaining 40km (25 miles) per week, along with some stairs/hills to get your heart rate up, will create a physical condition where the journey's itinerary will be comfortable for you.
Altitude: we will not be venturing higher than 3,050 meters (10,000 feet). 3,000 meters is the point at which one may notice a difference in the air and experience some effects of high altitude - if you stop to acclimatize at this elevation before going further, then there shouldn't be any problem, but we will not go further than this point, so altitude sickness is not a concern during this itinerary.
The best way to prepare yourself mentally for this journey is to start contemplating the reasons why you would like to go. Becoming clear about your motivation for going on a potentially meaningful trip, such as an immersive journey (like this one!), will not only help you to keep an open mind while on the trip, but it will aid in taking home with you your experiences & discoveries, and integrating them into your life back home. We can not emphasize how powerful this point can be and strongly recommend journaling & reflecting about your why. If you aren't clear on wether this journey is for you or not, exploring your why may also be helpful in your decision making process.
Culture shock: The east is quite different than the west in its; sights, sounds, smells, psychology, social customs, etc. In developing countries like Nepal, it is always best to expect the unexpected, especially while traveling en route. Although Nepal is much less intense than India, in terms of sensory-stimulation, it is still good to prepare for a vastly different atmosphere. There is less infrastructure and therefore more of a perceived chaos (there is sanity to this chaos, it just takes a while to adapt before you can recognize it!). The best antidote here is openness, curiosity, and a sense of humour!
Namo Buddha Resort in Namo Buddha, Nepal.
This beautifully located Newari, organic resort Namo Buddha Resort is nestled in the Kathmandu Valley.
As we prepare to welcome back travellers onto our journeys throughout the Himalayas, please review our new Covid-19 Travel Protocol carefully before your departure to help us ensure safety for all travellers.
* Please note that in the event that there is no other solo traveller of the same gender with whom to share a double room, participants will be liable to cover 50% of the single room.
What is included
What is not included
Throughout the journey, we will practice meditation together as a group, as well as have discussions on Buddhist philosophy. There is no prerequisite for joining a journey, nor is it required to have any knowledge or experience with yoga, the practice of meditation, or of Buddhism. Simply to have the wish to go deeper with one’s mind, and to have curiosity regarding its qualities, is enough.
Note: yoga, meditation, and philosophy sessions will not always be possible on days of extensive travel.
Here we are referring to group asana practice which will be led daily by a qualified and well experienced yoga teacher. Most sessions will be done in the morning before breakfast, and if the group wants, we may do some winding down sessions before turning in for the night.
There is nothing religious about the practice of meditation or in visiting sacred places. In fact, there is nothing even Buddhist about it! The idea of pilgrimage here, means that while we are exploring sacred sites, we are also investigating ourselves with a ‘tried, tested, and true’ introspective process called meditation. 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 and environment.
It is simply a technique with which to uncover all the layers of hope, fear, grasping, and judgement that are all such strong habits which cloud the mind. With the practice of meditation, we can learn to come back to ourselves, to become familiar with the groundless, unfabricated, and raw quality of reality. The daily schedule in this itinerary comprises of meditating together every morning and evening – this may be for 20-60 minutes (several sessions of sitting and walking meditation) depending on what the group wants and where we are in our itinerary. We will not meditate for longer than 15-20 minutes in a single sit and making adjustments so that you are comfortable is encouraged.
Buddhist philosophy sessions are roughly 1-hour per day, combining a short presentation with group discussion.
Throughout the journey we slowly walk through all 3 yanas (vehicles) of the Tibetan Buddhist path. We explore how & why shamatha/mindfulness (one-pointed calm-abiding meditation) + vipassana (insight) are used as tools from the beginning through to the end of the path. The foundational path of the Shravakayana is comprised of: The 4 Turnings of the Mind, Refuge, The 3 Marks of Existence, and The Four Noble Truths. There is an emphasis on exploring the middle yana – the Mahayana (the great vehicle of the Bodhisattvas) which entails: Bodhicitta (awakened heart/mind), The 6 Paramitas (perfect actions), Shunyayta (emptiness), and Lojong (mind-training).
We explore Lojong slogans as brought forth in an accessible way by great Tibetan/Western hybrid teachers Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Pema Chodron. We touch upon the final yana, the Vajrayana of Tibetan Buddhism, by exploring its many expressions and intricate symbolism. At face value Tibetan Buddhism may look esoteric, but with investigation we may see first-hand how it is simply a system for training one’s mind by utilizing various methods which combine mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom cultivation practices.
We start the day with yoga by exploring the inner experience of awakening in ourselves while we ground our awareness into the body. In the afternoon we becoming pilgrims by exploring the outer element of sacredness, visiting, and paying homage to the many sacred sites in the Kathmandu valley such as; temples, shrines, monasteries, and caves. Evening meditation after dinner.