A wonderful friend Vani Shukla gave me the opportunity recently to join her and a small group as a part of a Yoga retreat in her beautiful motherland India. We spent two amazing weeks, one in Uttarkashi deep in the Himalayas, and one at a blissful Ashram in Rishikesh where we were honoured and blessed with the yoga teachings passed down by the Himalayan masters, teachings that will be forever embraced, remembered and practised.
I felt we experienced real India: man and beasts of all walks shared the same roads, the cacophony of horns bleating constantly, a roading system working flawlessly.
There was the privilege of seeing beautiful temples, attending gorgeous ceremonies and feeling this rich beautiful culture first hand – what an absolute blessing.
What also came with “real India” was trekking up into breath-taking mountains, real leeches, bathing under natural waterfalls and feeling the cleansing icy waters of Mother Ganga herself, truly exhilarating.
To meet and see locals, be it at the markets, in the fields or even in a class room environment holds a special place in my heart always.
I’m forever grateful for travelling to India and I look forward to returning.
Going to India was a great decision. Why do a guided tourist trip when the best way to see, feel and experience this beautiful spiritual country is through a yoga retreat?
An arranged retreat to India for yoga and meditation recently has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of my year.
From the very start to the very end, organiser Vani Shukla had everything covered: we met as a group to chat and ask questions, then if you wanted you could join a FB group to ask any questions of the trip ahead. In our first week we stayed at a small yoga centre run by a lovely Indian couple. A beautiful spot with magnificent scenery out your front door, mountains, fields… just stunning. Each day started with a gentle introduction to yoga and meditation and it was modified and catered for all ages, and levels of fitness.
We had a few excursions in that week – one was to the most magnificent temples in Uttarkashi to really witness first-hand the beautiful culture and spirituality of the land; a trek to sit and absorb the Himalayas in all its glory and beauty (the trek up was absolutely breath-taking), and a trip to the local school to meet the children being supported by the villagers with extra tuition. The highlight for me was an optional dip in the cool waters of the Ganges – this was just on another level of awesomeness!
Our second week we arrived at Himalayan Tradition Yoga in Rishikesh, a very traditional yoga and meditation centre. Gentle yoga and meditation was offered in this centre with interesting lectures and talks and with a real insight into a yogic lifestyle here. We had as few trips here to the local markets in Rishikesh. This place is the yoga mecca of India with all the hustle and bustle of the market place, trendy eateries, clothing and jewellery shops and stalls, yoga schools and yoga and meditation classes everywhere. It’s a hub for the young and old alike. What can I say but fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.
I recommend this retreat experience to anyone wishing to learn or deepen there knowledge or commitment to yoga and meditation. Vani’s attention to detail on this trip was outstanding with luxury air con coaches to transport us from one centre to the other, excellent accommodation, and delicious food.