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 pilgrimage will be jointly facilitated by yoga instructor Alix Northup, and an experienced Himalayan Hermitage facilitator. The groups will hold the maximum amount of 15 people.
Alix is based in Portland, Oregon, in the USA and offers group classes, private classes and workshops, specializing in yoga therapeutics and back care, both locally and internationally. A student over 20 years, Alix has been teaching yoga since 2007. She is registered with the yoga alliance at 500 hour level, and is also a licensed massage therapist. Her yoga classes combine elements of meditative practice from various traditions of yoga and conscious movement, with the intention of bringing mindfulness into the yoga experience, on and off the mat. Alix first visited Nepal a few years ago, and fell in love with the friendliness and the resilience of the Nepali people, and the beauty of the Himalayas.
– We are very excited to be facilitating this yoga pilgrimage again!
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
The yoga sessions will combine themes from the meditation practices along with carefully sequenced active and restorative poses, gentle unwinding movements, vinyasa, and breath work. Detailed alignment, experiential 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 on and off the mat. Classes are suitable for all levels and modifications of will be given as needed.
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!