Yoga-Pilgrimage to Nepal

14th – 27th October 2019

With visiting yoga teacher Sybil Foster

This yoga pilgrimage to Nepal will begin at the Neydo Monastery in the area called Pharping, in the South Western corner of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. In this beautiful monastery, surrounded by rice fields and pine tree forest and with big views overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, is where our sessions of mediation and yoga will take place. After having settled in for the first few days, we continue our journey to Namo Buddha, another sacred site in the Kathmandu Valley. We stay at the lovely Namo Buddha Resort where we can enjoy fresh vegetables from their organic farm. After spending a few days here, the yoga pilgrimage continues to Phablu in the foothills of the Himalayas. We spend the first few days in Phablu, doing a one day hike up to the beautiful Chiwang Monastery, tugged into the cliffside outside of Phablu.

After this, 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 three days, taking part in the lives of the nuns, before making a loop back to Phablu during our 6-day hike. If weather permits, we will get a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas from Phablu. The following day, we travel back toward Kathmandu Valley by flight if the weather permits. We spend the last days of the yoga pilgrimage in Boudha where we have a free day to do the last shopping and watch the people around the Boudha Stupa.

The yoga 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

A practitioner for over 15 years Sybil joined the Yoga Alliance Teacher Training affiliated to various yoga studios and has accomplished more than 200 hrs of yoga practice. She is now following her dream of sharing her experience with others through teaching yoga in Geneve, Switzerland where she is based, while still active in the corporate world. Sybil is an avid world traveler and adventurer, humbled by the forces of nature and always curious to discover new cultures. Sybil joined a Yoga Pilgrimage to Nepal in the Spring 2018 with Himalayan Hermitage and was after this eager to return with her students to share with them the sacred places of Nepal. The values close to her heart are humanity, love, nature and healing. Her life goal and purpose are to help people reach their highest potential by sharing her knowledge and passion of yoga, meditation, nutrition and wellbeing including the great significance of self-love.

– 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 Trine Krogstad & 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.

The pine tree forest of Haatiban hill

DAY 4 - HAATIBAN RESORT

After morning yoga/meditation and breakfast we venture up the Haatiban hill to find Haatiban Resort which is tucked away in pine tree forests. After lunch and a little rest in the beautiful surroundings we have an afternoon meditation session in the resort’s yoga shala space. There is the option of enjoying the sauna and steam facilities before or after dinner. We spend the night at Haatiban Resort.

View of the Kathmandu Valley

DAY 5 - NAMO BUDDHA RESORT

After our morning mediation/yoga session we can again use the spa facilities before we ride out to Namo Buddha Resort, where we spend the next two 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 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 – October 14th – October 27th 2018

PRICE  – EARLY BIRD OFFER UP UNTIL AUGUST 15ST  – 2900 USD   

Twin room to share: 3160 USD / Single room supplement: 350 USD

Please wait with transferring the full amount to us, as well as the booking of your flight ticket before we have confirmed that we have the minimum of pilgrims to run the Pilgrimage Journey.

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 – Trine Krogstad & 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