Travelers should be physically fit and mentally prepared for multiple hours (2-4) of activity hiking almost daily.
Superior Journeys are led by an experienced Himalayan Hermitage facilitator accompanied by our top local expedition team who draw from an in-depth wealth of knowledge and local experience which allows for a deeper and more immersive accessibility to sacred sites and Himalayan culture. Itineraries are carefully designed to visit the most beautiful locations and sacred sites with a good balance of free time. Accommodation has been carefully selected with comfort appreciation for beauty in mind – only high-end or the best available. Ground transportation, healthy meals, and activities are included in the journey price.
The first week we settle in beautiful locations surrounding the Kathmandu Valley and visit some of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. The second week we hike in the foothills of the Himalayas, walking in the footsteps of fully realised yogis and yoginis, as we visit monasteries and nunneries that are nestled inside a ‘pure-land’.
The yoga and meditation theme will be weaved into our days, both in the Kathmandu Valley and in the Himalayan foothills, as we embark on an inner and outer journey through Nepal.
This yoga & meditation journey will be jointly facilitated by yoga instructor Jeffrey Lester, and an experienced Himalayan Hermitage facilitator. The groups will hold the maximum amount of 15 people.
Originally from Atlanta in the USA, in 2014 Jeffrey unwittingly embarked on a spiritual journey when he decided to leave a career in academia to follow his interest of sharing nutrition and fitness with others. Soon after he quickly discovered his true purpose and the wonderful gifts that yoga has to offer. Grateful to be in the position to share his living wisdom and his infectious childlike energy, he travels around the world teaching workshops and master classes to embrace and uplift communities of all types. He leads workshops and courses internationally and facilitates yoga teacher trainings for Happy Jack Yoga, an international yoga school based in Canada.
– We are very excited to be facilitating this yoga & meditation journey together for the first time!
We start the day by exploring the inner experience of awakening in ourselves, as well as grounding our awareness into the body through yoga 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. Evening meditation after dinner.
7:45 – 9:00 Yoga
9:00 – 10:00 Breakfast
10:30 – 12:00 Morning session on Tibetan Buddhism & Meditation Practice
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
2:00 – 3:30 Free time
3:30 – 5:30 Visiting sacred places
7:00 – 8:00 Dinner
8:15 – 8:45 Evening meditation
Having trained and taught all over the world in disciplines ranging from vinyasa and yin yoga to shamanic ceremonial traditions, Jeff has assimilated a catalogue of beautiful practices and techniques that bring people together with high vibes and harmony. It is his pleasure and joy to share with you the practices that light up our world! Expect to work on all aspects of your life with Jeff. Deep inner work is often complemented by connecting as a community through sharing and expressing our experiences as a group. Jeff loves to arranged group circles, where all are equal, connected, and whole. Jeff teaches pranayama, mantra, meditation, and asana in addition to connecting with shamanic ceremonial practices, nature, and Ayurvedic wisdom.
There is no prerequisite for joining a pilgrimage, nor is it required to have any 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 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 & true’ internal/contemplative 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 14-day itinerary comprises of meditating together every morning and evening – this can be for 30-60 minutes (several sessions of sitting and walking meditation) depending on what the group wants and where we are in our itinerary. Buddhist philosophy sessions are roughly 1 hour/day combining a short presentation with group discussion. Throughout the 14 days 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’, ‘The 6 Paramitas (perfect actions)’, ‘Shunyata (emptiness)’, ‘Relative and Ultimate Truth’, and ‘Lojong (mind-training)’. We contemplate 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 of the Vajrayana (Tantric 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.
A Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Pharping
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL & STAY AT A TIBETAN BUDDHIST MONESTARY IN PHARPING, KATHMANDU VALLEY
Arrival and pick up at Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. We drive straight to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Pharping, the South Western corner of the Kathmandu Valley. There may be time to rest from the journey, go for a walk or enjoy the spectacular views over Kathmandu Valley. In the afternoon there will be an introduction to the journey by the facilitators.
DAY 2 – PHARPING
Morning yoga followed by breakfast. We have our introduction session to Buddhist philosophy before lunch. After lunch and a rest, we hike through rice fields to visit and pay homage to the Asura cave and the self-arisen Tara in Pharping. Dinner and meditation session. We spend the night at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery guesthouse.
DAY 3 – SWAYAMBHU
Morning yoga followed by breakfast. We have our introduction session to Buddhist philosophy before lunch. After lunch and a rest, we pilgrimage to the sacred Stupa of Swayambhu and watch the sunset overlooking the Kathmandu Valley from the Stupa. Dinner and meditation session. We spend the night at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery guesthouse.
DAY 4 – NAMO BUDDHA
After morning yoga and breakfast we continue our journey to the lovely area of Namo Buddha, where we spend the next two nights. We will have lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the resort we will stay in, followed by a free afternoon. After dinner we will have a meditation session.
DAY 5 – NAMO BUDDHA PILGRIMAGE
Morning yoga followed by breakfast at our resort in Namo Buddha. 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 resort in Namo Buddha.
DAY 6 – JEEP RIDE TO PHABLU
After breakfast we depart for Phablu and venture into the foothills of Lower Everest region of Nepal. We go on a beautiful and bumpy jeep ride up through Central West Nepal where we drive along the Trisuli river and lush landscapes of Central Nepal. The roads are a lot better now compared to in past years but we can prepare ourselves for an adventurous journey. Dinner and overnight at a charming mountain lodge in Phablu.
DAY 7 – HIKE TO A NEARBY TIBETAN BUDDHIST MONESTARY
After breakfast, we hike up for 3-4 hours up to a nearby Buddhist monastery for a day’s visit. We can sit in on practice of the monks and pay homage to the monastery shrine room. Afternoon meditation.
We spend the night in Phablu.
DAY 8 – HIKE TO THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST NUNNERY IN THE HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS
After breakfast, we begin our 5-6 hour hike up to the Tibetan Buddhist nunnery located up in the lower Everest region. We stop for lunch in Junbesi and climb the last bit after lunch. Afternoon tea and dinner.
DAY 9 – STAY AT A TIBETAN BUDDHIST NUNNERY IN THE HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS
Morning practice with the nuns. At the nunnery 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 other than that there is the chance to go for stunning hike in the astounding surroundings of hillsides, dotted with prayer flags and retreat caves where we – if the weather is on our side- will be able to get a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas.
DAY 10 – A TIBETAN BUDDHIST NUNNERY IN THE HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS
We take a few days off hiking and spend the day at nunnery, 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, this Tibetan Buddhist nunnery 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.
DAY 11 – PHABLU
After breakfast we make our descend to Phablu. We have lunch and dinner and spend the night at the same charming mountain lodge in Phablu as on our way up.
DAY 12 – RETURN TO KATHMANDU
After breakfast, due to the unpredictability of the weather in the mountains, if weather permitting, we fly back to Kathmandu. If weather does not permit we will take the jeep back to Kathmandu. We overnight in Boudha.
DAY 13 – BOUDHA FREE DAY
Last day of the programme is free to do shopping, visit sights in Ktm etc. We meet for a farewell dinner at the pizza joint Fire an Ice. We overnight in Boudha.
DAY 14 – DEPARTURE
Day of departure. We provide transportation to the airport.
We will be staying in nice accommodation with good amenities during our first week and last days of the Journey while we are in the Kathmandu Valley. During our days in Phablu, starting point to the Himalayan foothills we will stay in a charming mountain lodge. During our three nights up at the beautifully located Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in the Everest region accommodation will be more simple, yet comfortable with access to hot water and comfortable rooms.
‘Early Bird Special’: 2900 USD (expires 6 months prior to the starting date of the journey)
Normal price: 3160 USD
Single room supplement: 350 USD
Deposit: 500 USD
All accommodation, meals & transport in Nepal
Experienced guides & instructors
Jeep ride from Kathmandu to Phablu and flight from Phablu to Kathmandu
Healthy, vegetarian meals
Daily Dharma talks & introduction to meditation
Notebook for journaling during the pilgrimage
International flight ticket to Nepal
Personal insurance during the pilgrimage
Personal visa to Nepal (25 USD for 15 days / 30 USD for 30 days to be purchased upon arrival)
Any alcoholic beverage during the pilgrimage
Tip to local guide and porters
To secure your place in this journey please visit the ‘Book a Journey‘ page and follow through the 3 steps explained.
We wholeheartedly look forward to having you on one of our journeys!
What People Say
"Sisse, Alex and Alix (yoga teacher) are superb guides in yoga, meditation and in the Buddhist practice and tradition. The treks were amazing, and practicing with the monks and nuns was priceless. I have many tools to bring back with me and apply to my life at home. I thoroughly enjoyed the Nepal experience with Himalayan Hermitage!"
Sarah Helt, pilgrim from Los Angeles, USA
"My experience with Himalayan Hermitage has been life-changing. The friendly, knowledgeable and charming guides lead you through some of the most challenging situations with grace and compassion. Whenever I thought I hit my limit physically or mentally I was able to fall back into the practices they taught me; or simply open my eyes to the beautiful of Nepal to be reinvigorated on the journey. I am so grateful"
Sarah Helt, pilgrim from Los Angeles, USA
"I have learnt so much. I have learnt to trust. Trust in people, in situations, and in myself. And to have courage. To dig deep and to trust that everything will be ok. I have also learned about the true nature of peoples, their kindness, generosity and their unconditional love. Additionally, the introduction to Buddhist philosophy has been so complimentary and interesting. Nepal is an amazing and interestingly diverse country with very peaceful and loving people. Finally, I have learned how complimentary the yoga and meditation practices are in daily life and how this consistency is so important for progress"
Sybil Foster, pilgrim from Geneve, Switzerland
"What seems to be very complicated back home is kind of presented in a simple framework to build upon. I feel even more curious now after being presented to the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. I feel happy that it is so accessible for me as a Western person. I really feel welcomed here, in Nepal. And being with the monks up early in the morning, meditating. And just to be part of this culture in a very natural way.... read more"
Anna Cecilie Skovgaard, pilgrim from Copenhagen, Denmark
Free Meditation Package PDF Sign up for our monthly Newsletter and receive your free Meditation Package from Himalayan Hermitage now!
In these newsletters we look forward to sharing with you about the science & psychology of meditation & cultivation practices such as compassion & wisdom, Buddhist philosophy, our most recently published blog articles, what is new in our world - presentations/workshops around the globe, upcoming pilgrimage journeys, plus special promotional & discount offers :)