Island Yoga Special Retreats-Yoga & Culture in the Himalyas

The Yoga & Culture Himalayan Yoga Retreat is a true spiritual experience in “The Land of the High Passes”.

Ten days of yoga, meditation, pranayama, silence, mantra’s and Tibetan Buddhism practices in the beauty of the Himalayas. A pilgrimage to purify body and mind and re-align with your spirit, inner strength and wisdom.

Overview

Our retreat will be a colourful combination of yoga and the cultural heritage of Ladakh. The sacredness and pureness of the Himalayas is due to its remote location, ancient traditions, unbroken spiritual lineages and the compassionate and cheerful Ladakhi people. We will visit the moste unique monateries of the Yellow and Red Cap monks in Ladakh, join the monrning prayers in Thikse Compa and practice meditation in the ancient mansteries. Encounters with the local farming families and monks is an experience, that ften transforms people and changes their view on our Western fast paced society and individualistic perspectives.

Experience the Himalayas ancient name “The mysterious land of the Gods” and breath in the majesty and peace of the stunning snow-capped mountains. Wake up with the sun rising up over the snowcapped mountains, meditate within the extraordinary sights of the purple flower valley. Inhale the crisp mountain air and absorb the beauty of the mountain peaks at sunrise as you step on your yoga mat on the rooftop. Take time for yourself to reflect, to hike through the stunning valleys, enjoy silence or explore the local village. Get welcomed by the friendly Ladakhi’s and invited into their traditional houses, or take the opportunity to join them on the land to experience the traditional summer harvest of apricots, mustard and barley.

This Yoga Retreat includes the exploration of the traditional Buddhist cultural heritage of Ladakh and its ancient monasteries, authentic, high quality and ecological accommodation in a remote farmer’s village, daily morning yoga classes, meditation, pranayama, specialized workshops, yin and restorative yoga afternoon classes, kirtan and Tibetan mantra’s under the stars.

Itinerary

17th to 26th August 2019

Day 1: Welcoming in Leh and evening sunset visit of Shanti Stupa.

Day 2: Morning yoga at Shanti Stupa. Afternoon visit of Hemis monastery.

Day 3: Morning prayers & meditation at Thikse monastery. Visit Royal

Palace & monastery of Shey. Drive to Eco Hotel via Alchi monastery.

Day 4 to 9:* Retreat days at Hemishukpachan Eco Hotel:

7.30 -9.30 am: Morning meditation, pranayama and dynamic yoga.

9.30-10.30am: Breakfast buffet.

10.30-1pm: Free time to relax in the water garden, read, journal,

walk through the silent valley, trek the village peaks, explore the

village, visit the local families or volunteer in the harvest.

1-2pm: Lunch buffet.

2-4.30pm: Free time. (As above)

4.30-6.30: Afternoon mantra and yin/restorative yoga practice.

7pm: Dinner.

Day 5*: Hike over the village pass to Ridzong monastery. (3-5hrs)

Day 7*: Day excursion to Lamayuru monastery and meditation.

Day 10: Morning yoga practice, breakfast & closing ceremony. Afternoon

drive back to Leh via Likir monastery.

Accommodation

The retreat is based on a shared double room, including 3 vegetarian meals a day (buffet style with 4-6 options), herbal teas and real coffee, filtered Himalayan spring water, fruit and snacks. For special dietary requests, please contact us. Transport to and from the Togocheepa Eco Hotel to the capital of Leh is included in the price. A limited amount of single rooms is available for 35EUR/night.

Our Himalayan Yoga Studio is part of Togocheepa Eco Hotel, located in the village Hemischukpachan. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, our Yoga Retreat is the perfect place to rejuvenate, relax, energise, heal or restore, and expand your horizons and celebrate your mountain spirit! Togocheepa Eco Hotel offers luxurious Eco accommodation, organic and locally sourced meals and rooms with panoramic views. Togocheepa Eco Hotel is the first deluxe hotel in a village of Ladakh and is run by a local family with a strong environmental and communal commitment. They have on purpose chosen for a limited amount of rooms to offer their guests an authentic and first hand experience with the Ladakhi culture, nature, local community, village life, and farming. Togocheepa Eco Hotel firmly support environmental and social sustainability policies which focuses on energy efficiency, water and waste management, organic and local farming, social commitment, protecting the fragile ecosystem around the village and preserving tranquility and traditional culture. On the third floor of the hotel is our beautiful yoga studio, which opened only last year. The studio has incredible views on the mountains and is decorated in a traditional Tibetan Buddhist style.

Contact us with any questions regarding the accommodation

What to bring

• A water bottle/thermos
• Loose and comfortable yoga clothing
• A Journal/Notebook & pens
• Fleeze jumper/windjacket/ warm socks/shawl also to cover your body in evening classes and yoga nidra
• sleeping bag & torch (only for Yoga & Hiking Retreat)
• t-shirts and shorts, long sleeve shirt (different layers) Notice in monasteries shoulders and legs need to be covered.
• cap or hat to protect yourself from the sun
• Small backpack for walks
• High SPF 50 Sunscreen, lip balm, sun glasses, after sun
• Camera and enough batteries/memory cards
• Walking boots and sandals
• personal toiletries and medicines
* Note: The retreat takes place in a very remote area and there are no shops. Please bring any necessary Western items that you would like and need with you.

Indian Visa
An Indian visa is necessary to enter the country. Nowadays Indian e-visas are available and are the most easiest option. Please check for application: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html Please tick the option “sightseeing & recreation” instead of “Yoga” to avoid questions at the airport. Make sure your international pasport is valid minimum 6 months after your returning flight.

Pricing

Your price for this amazing ten days Himalayan Yoga Retreat is €1250 for a shared twin room or €1500 for single occupancy room.

This price includes three organic & locally sourced meals a day, water, herbal teas & coffee, accommodation, daily activities and yoga plus transportation in & around Leh.

Not included are flights, transfers and visa applications and any other spending money.

Getting there

First and easiest option:

Flight to New Delhi Airport. From New Delhi flight to Leh, capital of Ladakh. If you want connecting flights Jet Airways is a good option, they do international flights and domestic flights to Leh. But be aware that you ALWAYS have to identify your bags in New Delhi and check them in again for the flight to Leh. Bags NEVER go straight to Leh, even though you fly with the same airline.

There are a couple of Indian airlines who offer flights from Delhi to Leh, and are often a bit cheaper then Jet Airways. This are the flight operators you can book with:
Air India
Go Air
Vistara

Search for flights from New Delhi (DEL) to Leh (IXL) If you book in advance the domestic flights cost around 70-100EUR. The flight is a morning flight, is absolutely stunning and takes about 1hr.

Second option:

Flight to New Delhi. From New Delhi flight to Srinagar, capital of Kashmir. This is an option if you want to visit Srinagar and parts of Kashmir. From Srinagar you can take a taxi to Leh, takes about 12hrs, or you can gradually make your way in a couple of days with private taxi.

Third option:

Flight to New Delhi. Bus to Manali, stay overnight. Take a shared taxi or government bus from Manali to Leh over the scenic highest passes of the world. Private taxis do the journey in 20-24hrs. Prices depend on how many people share the taxi, so between 30-50EUR. The government bus, which is comfortable does it in 2 days and takes an extra night, which is pretty nice and a bit more slow to enjoy the journey. The government bus is less then 50EUR, and you can find budget accommodation overnight.

HIGH ALTITUDE PRECAUTIONS:

As Leh is located at 3500m altitude above sea level, your body needs a couple of days to acclimatise to the height. We recommend you to arrive in Leh minimum 1, but better 2-3 days before the retreat, so your body will be more adjusted to the altitude. The 1st day in Leh should be a day of absolute rest with minimum walking. For the Yoga & Hiking Retreat we strongly recommend you to arrive at least 2-3 days before the retreat starts. Once we gather in Leh, we slowly make our way to the actual village where our Eco Hotel is located in called Hemis Shukpachan. (1hr45min from Leh)

Then we make our way down to the village, while visiting one of the most unique monasteries on the way. The village where our retreat is located lays at the altitude of 3200m, so after spending a couple of days in Leh, your body is fully adjusted to start the retreat.
We arrange the transport to the village and back to Leh on the last day.

Please connect with us in case you have more questions or need any travel assistance. Also if you have more time to play with and you consider extending your stay in Ladakh for a trekking, feel free to connect with us. Our local partner is travel operator with over 15 years of experience in organising trekkings in Ladakh, so we can help you planning a route and logistics.

About The Facilitators

René Solari

René is a Certified Yoga Teacher E-RYT 200 RYT, specialized in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, Vinyasa flow, Yin yoga and has a profound knowledge of pranayama and the power of conscious breathing. He also loves the playful aspect of yoga through his inversion and arm balances whilst utilising the power of the breath and mind. René has been practicing Vipassana meditation for more than 12 years and has extensively travelled in India and the Himalayas. René can offer his students a calm, grounding and strong practice, whereas his main emphasis is on the mind, inner harmony and the power of meditation.

Veerle Geuens

Veerle is a Certified Yoga Teacher E-RYT 200 RYT 500 level in vinyasa flow, pranayama, yin and restorative yoga. With 10 years of yoga practice and many international yoga trainings, Veerle has developed a profound knowledge in teaching yoga, assisting students and tailoring classes to the students specific needs. With a background as a western psychologist, Veerle always had a strong fascination for the mind. Discovering the Yoga Sutra’s and philosophy was a turning point in her career and she shifted to the more holistic perspective of Yoga on the mind, body, and soul. Together with the Tibetan Buddhist teachings about the nature of the mind and cultivation of compassion, the Himalayan Yoga Tradition, the Taoist Five Elements and Traditional Chinese Meridian theory, these philosophies are the main sources of inspiration in Veerles teachings.