14-Day Yoga Pilgrimage to Nepal

6th – 19th October 2019

With visiting yoga teacher Sean Gray

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 pilgrimage will be jointly facilitated by yoga instructor Sean Gray, and an experienced Himalayan Hermitage facilitator. The groups will hold the maximum amount of 15 people.

Sean Gray’s teaching draws from various characteristics of yoga including the eight limbs, chakra awareness, and meditation among many others. He was reluctantly introduced to yoga in 2001, but after a humbling experience was quickly hooked, and since then has committed himself to his practice, and is dedicated to sharing what he has learned along his path. In his class you can expect to be pleasantly challenged in a safe and approachable way, gently guiding yourself deeper into your practice. Today Sean teaches Vinyasa Flow & Ashtanga for YogaWorks and Patagonia in Los Angeles. He also leads workshops and retreats worldwide.

– We are very excited to be facilitating this yoga pilgrimage 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, 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. Evening meditation after dinner.

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  • 7:45 – 8:45 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
The yoga will be suitable for all levels of practitioners, both experienced and beginners. I do suggest you do a little yoga, once a week in a month before traveling, if yoga is not a part of everyday life. We will practice hatha yoga. In the morning a gentle warm up followed by flow where we move with the breath. Standing warrior postures will be a part of the daily morning practice to build up strength and every session will end with relaxing
sitting and savasana.

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.


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 pilgrimage by the instructors.

 

At the Pharping Guru Rinpoche cave

DAY 2 – PHARPING

 

Morning meditation session 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 the Asura cave and the self-arisen Tara in Pharping. Dinner and Meditation session. We spend the night at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery guesthouse.

 

The majestic Swayambhu Stupa

DAY 3 – SWAYAMBHU

 

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 pilgrimage by the instructors.

 

View of the Kathmandu Valley from Namo Buddha

 

DAY 4 – NAMO BUDDHA

 

After 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.

 

View of Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery

 

DAY 5 – NAMO BUDDHA PILGRIMAGE

Morning meditation session and 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.

 

Crossing a bridge over a creek

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 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 in Phablu.

 

Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Solo Khumbu

 

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.

 

The Buddhist nunnery in Solo Khumbu

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.

 

Nuns at the nunnery

 

DAY 9 – STAY 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 <em>gompa</em> (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.

 

Interactions with the nuns

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 <em>gompa</em> 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.

Hiking through pine tree forests

DAY 11 – PHABLU

 

After breakfast we make our descend to Phablu. Lunch in dinner. We spend the night in Phablu.

 

House in Phablu

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.

The ‘wish-fulfilling’ Boudha Stupa

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.

 

 

‘Early Bird Special’: 2900 USD (see individual journey for deadline date)

Normal price: 3160 USD

Single Supplement: 350 USD

INCLUSIONS

  • 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

EXCLUSIONS

  • 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

$3,160.00 $2,900.00 Early Bird Price Untill 6 May 2019

When: 6th - 19th October 2019

Instructor: Sean Gray

Pay a deposit of $500.00 per item