In recent years, Nepal has gained popularity among yoga enthusiasts seeking some quick fix R&R or a more intense month-long escape. Combined with other recreational activities, here are the best yoga retreats to enjoy around the country.
Photography and Yoga Retreat in Mustang
Mahalaya is running a photography and yoga retreat in the spectacular Mustang region of Nepal from October 13-18, 2018. ‘Light’ will be the unifying theme that flows through both the activities, which will be taught by expert teachers. It’s not necessary to have a professional camera – even a phone will do. The aim is to create inspiring images that can be used as a focal point for meditation, much like a mandala. While this retreat is being offered once in 2018, Mahalaya hosts similar activities around Nepal at various times of the year.
The Sun Kosi River is one of Nepal’s top rafting and kayaking destinations, attracting adventure seekers from all over the world. From October 1-9, 2018, GRG’s Adventure Kayaking will offer a yoga and rafting retreat to give people the best of the area. Mornings will begin with yoga on the beach, an ideal warm-up for the action on the river later on. Evenings will be spent around campfires on the white-sand beaches of the Sun Kosi River, which flows from near the border with Tibet down to the flat plains bordering India. The trip will also be offered in spring 2019.
Located on a hillside in Pokhara, Purna Yoga Retreat offers numerous packages, from classic yoga retreats lasting one to 21 days to three-day juice cleanses and six-day yoga and Ayurvedic massage programmes. They also have drop-in yoga classes, cooking workshops, massages and much more. Participants particularly appreciate the homely atmosphere and the delicious food.
This retreat is the oldest in Pokhara and has been operating for 20 years. Book stays from anywhere between one to 32 days and choose from a range of packages: yoga and the Poon Hill trek, yoga and Chitwan National Park or a yoga and work exchange program. Guests praise Sadhana’s peaceful and relaxed atmosphere and rave about their massages.
Certified by the Yoga Alliance International, Nepal Yoga Home is located on a hill on the western edge of the Kathmandu Valley, at the foot of the jungle of the Nagarjun National Park. Visitors can enjoy its close proximity to the capital city while being far enough to be tranquil on the grounds themselves. It’s a family-run establishment and guests rate it highly for its warmth and hospitality. Adding to their wide array of retreat packages, Nepal Yoga Home also offers several yoga teacher training and Ayurveda-related courses.
Tushita’s packages range from four-day retreats for beginners to 30-day teacher training courses. Guests rave about the views of the Annapurna Himalaya, Pokhara and the Peace Pagoda, including the spiritual focus of the retreat, which places an emphasis on Vedic philosophies and rituals. There are only nine rooms up for grabs and instruction is also available in Japanese.
The Neydo Monastery in Pharping, on the southern edge of the Kathmandu Valley, is a working monastery with an attached guesthouse. While the monastery itself doesn’t offer any R&R, Kathmandu-based yoga studio Pranamaya runs weekend yoga retreats here a few times a year. While some travellers do attend (and are certainly welcome), most participants tend to be foreigners living in Kathmandu. Two or three-day yoga retreats here include practices taking place in a beautiful room overlooking the farmland and rice paddies below, lessons on Tibetan Buddhism from the monks and walks into Pharping village, which is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site home to an important meditation cave.
High above the Pokhara Valley, with spectacular views of the Annapurna Himalaya, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is a luxury boutique establishment that runs yoga and meditation lessons on-site. It doesn’t run dedicated yoga retreats in the same way that many other places around Pokhara do, but if you’re looking to combine luxury accommodation with a spot of yoga, Tiger Mountain Lodge is an excellent choice. They are at the forefront of responsible tourism practices in Nepal and make an effort to support local community development.
As well as one and two-week yoga retreats, The Begnas Lake Resort & Villas hold group yoga sessions in their outdoor pavilion twice a day and offer Ayurveda treatment packages. Individual classes and consultations can also be arranged. The nearby Lake Begnas, which is about a 40-minute drive from Pokhara, is a major draw. While it’s much less developed than Pokhara’s Phewa Lake, it is every bit as beautiful.