Exploration of Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism in the Land of High Passes Ladakh, India

Duration: 14 Days

Availability: 11th June 2018 – 24th July 2018 – 1st September 2018 ( Fixed Departure )

New Delhi to Ladakh

Maximum Attendance: 30

Have you always dreamt of exploring the Himalayas? Have you practiced yoga and meditation, hoping to one day visit the places where it all started? Are you brand new to these philosophies and just curious to learn more? Does the idea of diving deeper into your practice in a setting dense with spirituality draw you? Or does the thought of traveling alone to the highest mountains in the world unnerve you?

Our welcoming and knowledgeable team of teachers and guides is here to make that crazy dream trip a reality! With loads of experience under our belt, an in depth knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism and Yoga, an insider’s scoop of Ladakh’s most beautiful spots, and a love for meeting new folks and traveling together, we invite you to join us on this epic exploration of yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, and the High Himalayas of Ladakh!

Our Yoga Teacher

Kristine

After training in Dharamshala, Kristine realized she could take her love for yoga everywhere. She’s taught students of many backgrounds in many places, including Canada, Nepal, Denmark and the United States. However, during all these adventures, yogahas also taken Kristine on all kinds of journeys! From using it as a tool to de-stress, to meditate, to be alone, to reflect, to deal with frustrations, or just to move her body, the ever-changing qualities of yoga is what she loves about it. For her, the practice is a means of being kind to oneself, by opening the body and allowing the mind to relax and enjoy. This compassionate approach to yoga is one that Kristine hopes to bring to her students on this tour in Ladakh, aiding all participants in finding time to be with their minds, allow themselves to open, and make space for an incredible experience that will stay with them for years to come.
When not teaching yoga, Kristine works as a travel guide for university study abroad programs and has spent time working in the non-profit sector while living in Nepal. She has extensive travel and organizational experience and a big love for the untouched beauty of Ladakh!

Trip Overview:

  • Local Ladakhi guides will open you to the awe inspiring landscape and culture of Ladakh
  • Experienced yoga and meditation teachers lead you on a holistic tour of discovery, both within the self and in your physical surroundings
  • A beautifully non-traditional combination of daily yoga and Buddhist meditation practice will help you unwind, reflect, be present, and slow down to better experience the beauty of Ladakh
  • Your practice, combined with a whole load of new experiences, friends, and challenges (a mini trek!), will be something unforgettable you can carry with you for years
  • Through yoga asana practice, you’ll prepare your body and mind to receive a genuine introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
  • You’ll come to a deeper understanding of the similarities and overlaps between a traditional Indian yoga practice and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy
  • You’ll enjoy our many sweet daily routines, including waking up to a steaming cup of Tibetan medicinal tea, starting the day with asana practice and meditation, evening discussion and reflection of our daily pilgrimages, and group prayers and intention setting
  • The tour will guide us on a pilgrimage to the sacred Buddhist monasteries of Alchi, Thiksey, Hemis, Liker, Shey and many more
  • At these sites, we’ll be introduced to the foundations of Tibetan Buddhism and integrate these philosophies into our daily lives
  • We’ll meet and interact with great Tibetan yogis at Lamayuru retreat center and other monasteries

Included in the Tour:

  • Daily yoga and meditation practice with experienced instructors
  • Daily excursions to pilgrimage sites
  • Travel to the beautiful regions of Nubra and Tsomoriri
  • A mini 2-day trek to challenge the body physically
  • Participation in Chod Prayer with a local lama
  • Participation in a special healing session with a Tibetan female Shaman (Oracle)
  • Private consultation with a Tibetan traditional doctor in Amchi
  • Air transfer to and from Delhi to Leh
  • Return airport and round trip transfers along with all sightseeing tours by Deluxe AC Bus
  • Transportation to/from all sites in Ladakh

Price Includes

  • Assistance upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation on Twin/ Double sharing basis as per listed above
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Breakfast in Delhi
  • Air ticket from Delhi to Leh
  • Air ticket from Leh to Delhi
  • Return airport and round trip transfers by Deluxe AC Bus vehicle/Ac car
  • Environment fee / Entry fee to all sites
  • All applicable present government taxes
  • Tour guides, yoga teacher, meditation instructor at full availability
  • Program coordinator
  • Inner line permit for Nubra Valley & Tsomoriri Lake entrance

Price Excludes

  • Single room supplement ($650 USD)
  • *Medical and Travel Insurance (Compulsory)*
  • International flight ticket (although we can and will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
  • Indian visa fee (e-Tourist visa is about $60USD; we can advise on other types on visas)
  • Drinks (Alcoholic)
  • Lunch and Dinner in Delhi
  • Any Kind of Personal Expenses, Optional Tours
  • Tips
  • Anything not specified under the head “Prices included”
  • Laundry, Telephone Charges
  • Any fees incurred due to natural crises, road blockage, political upheaval, other unforeseen circumstances

Complementary

  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • T-Shirt
  • Entrance Fees

What to Expect

Every journey through Ladakh is unique. There’s no knowing what to expect but we can guarantee an eye opening experience that could change the way you interact with your surroundings. You’ll take the time to explore parts of your mind and parts of the world that you may never have come face to face with previously.

Our aim is to create a welcoming, comfortable group environment that will guide us all on an adventurous journey through the Himalayas, venturing into hidden corners of Ladakh while coming face to face with age old Buddhist philosophy and unknown parts of our mind. We hope you’ll find something new in Ladakh!

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Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Group will arrive in Delhi throughout the day, being greeted at the airport by a driver and program leader and escorted to the hotel. Group can rest and enjoy a relaxing dinner at the hotel or nearby, preparing for our first full day in India! Take a hot shower, indulge in a steaming cup of chai, or wander around the eclectic neighborhood our hotel is in. Just allow yourself to relax and settle in!
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Day 2: Delhi

Waking up in colorful and bustling Delhi, we’ll refresh over a delicious breakfast, followed by our first group meeting and introduction session with the trip leaders. The meeting will include a brief orientation, a review of our itinerary, and some friendly conversation over a delicious hot cup of chai!

Group breaks for lunch on our own. Time to try some hot Indian curries or spicy chaat!

Following lunch, we’ll travel as a group to The National Museum in New Delhi, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the street vendors, the honking vintage motorcycles, and the unique colors of the city as we travel.

Also known as the National Museum of India, this is one of the largest museums in India and is filled with stunning historical artifacts! Established in 1949, it is home to a variety of articles ranging from pre-historic era to modern works of art. You’ll find relics of Buddha, which were discovered by Kapilavastu, which have been preserved for decades and are some of the museum’s most viewed attractions today.

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Day 3: Delhi - Leh

After an early breakfast, we transfer to the domestic airport for our flight to Ladakh. This isgaraunteed one of the most sensational flights you have ever been on! On a clear day, you can see the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum and the Nun Kun massif! It is absolutely breathtaking and unforgettable.

We arrive in Leh, travel to our hotel, and all take a little time to settle in and acclimate. Leh is at an elevation of 11,483 feet so special care needs to be taken when arriving at such an altitude. Group members should feel free to take a walk, explore the beautiful city, and take in the stunning surroundings- but go easy on yourself!

In the late afternoon, we’ll have our first introduction to our yoga practice. Since we just arrived in a new environment, some gentle stretching and breathing techniques will allow us to better settle in and acclimate.

We’ll meet for dinner in the evening and meet additional group leaders and guides.

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Day 4: Leh - Hemis - Thiksey - Leh

Today begins an exciting journey into Tibetan Buddhism and historical Leh, with visits to some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the world!

We’ll kick today off with a steaming cup of cleansing medicinal Tibetan tea in the early morning, followed by yoga asana practice and a meditation sessions. Yoga usually runs from 6:30-7:30, followed by 30 minutes of meditation practice.

At 8:00am, we enjoy a traditional hot Ladakhi breakfast- a real treat after a morning of dedicated practice. As breakfast finishes up and the group gets ready, we head off for our first visit to traditional Ladakhi monasteries.

This drive winds through the Leh valley and leads us to a Stupa lined road, at the top of which rests the stunning Hemis Monastery. Nestled deep in a gorge, the monastery is renowned for its festival celebrating the birth of Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche, the second Buddha. Beneath an imposing statue, your teacher will teach you the mantra of Guru Padmasambava, celebrated for its attributes of peace, stability, protection, transformation and healing. Here, we’ll take time for a lesson on the ‘Wheel of Life,’ as depicted within the monastery.

In the afternoon, we’ll drive to Thiksey Monastery, a palace that is perched on a rock-strewn hill and unmistakably resembles the Potala Palace of Lhasa, Tibet. This monastery houses a big statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the purity of whose gaze invites reflection and silent meditation. We’ll again pause for a few moments, practicing our mindfulness meditation.

After an inspiring day of philosophy lessons, we return to our hotel in Leh to put it into practice! An hour of asana practice gives us the chance to release the body and mind in preparation for a guided meditation practice to reflect on today’s lessons. We’ll review today’s teachings and pilgrimage experience.

Dinner as a group in Leh.

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Day 5: Leh - Alchi - Rizong - Ulley

Our morning starts as usual, with a warm glass of Tibetan herbal tea, followed by asana practice and meditation. Asana practice dives a little deeper today, as we have acclimated to the altitude, and challenges us in a few new areas. You’ll find as the trip progresses that each class builds on the previous, moving at a pace that suits everyone and providing modifications as we go.

Our meditation session this morning will be a continued practice of what we have working with and we’ll have the unique chance we see how our mind approaches this practice as we become accustomed to it.

After another group breakfast, we drive to sham valley to visit Alchi Monastery in the village of Alchi. This picturesque village is famous for the existence of one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh (a national heritage).Alchi temple is mainly known for its magnificent, and well-preserved 11th-12thcentury wall paintings, all done in an Indo-Himalayan stylethat is incomparable to most art we know in the West. Our guides will explain various points of interest on the paintings and we’ll see how this ties into the practices we’ve been working with.

In the afternoon, we head to our next accommodations! The group checks into the Ule Ethnic Resort, a really unique and wonderful resort camp, situated just on the banks of the wild Indus River. Together we refuel over a hot lunch and then head out for the extraordinary Rizong Monastery and Nunnery.

Rizong Monastery, established in 1831 by Lama TsultrimNyima under the Gelukpa order, is also known as “The Paradise for Meditation” and is noted for its extremely strict rules and standards. We’ll take the time to explore this sort of environment for meditation.

The nunnery, which is located about 2 km from the monastery, is called the “Chulichan (Chomoling)” and is still in use by the 30 nuns that live there today. In the nunnery, we’ll get the unforgettable experience of participating in a puja, or ceremony, dedicated to Tara. Tara is usually represented as a female Bodhisattva who is also known as the “Mother of Liberation” and teaches us about path to realizing emptiness and compassion.

In the evening we’ll reflect on the day’s pilgrimage and puja through our asana and meditation practice. Depending on the weather, we’ll hopefully get the chance to practice on the banks of the Indus.

We’ll all unwind and enjoy a lovely dinner together at our new hotel.

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Day 6: Ule - Lamayuru - Ule

Again a fresh start to the morning with a warm cup of Tibetan herbal tea, followed by yoga and meditation. Building off of yesterday’s experience with Tara Puja, we’ll dive into a meditation practice on compassion today and discuss Chod, which we’ll get to see in action later today. The practice is one that opens up some uncovered parts of the mind for some and we can hopefully share some of our experiences over breakfast.

Our excursion today is to the Lamayuru Monastery.Lamayuruis still very much in use today and is the driving Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Ladakh and also the largest monastic institution of Drikung Kagyu in Ladakh! After touring the palace,we’ll climb to LamayuruMeditation Center. The center is in a beautiful valley where a small community of yogis live and practice a kind of tantric meditation that was practiced in ancient Tibet by great yogis like Milarepa, Naropa. Here we have the unforgettable opportunity to meet and interact with these amazing yogis and participate in their Chod practice.

We’ll enjoy lunch at the center before returning to Ule Ethnic Resort.

Our afternoon and evening is a review of our pilgrimage a continuation of teaching on Eight Verses of Mind Training. (B+ L+ D)

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Day 7: Ule - Basgo - Leh

A fresh start to a new day with a warm glass of Tibetan herbal tea, followed by asana practice and meditation. Our yoga practice today will work on opening the heart area to further prepare ourselves for deeper exploring our compassion meditation.

After breakfast, we all pack up our belongings and head back to Leh, stopping to view Basgo Castle on the way.

The rest of the afternoon is open and free for shopping, reading, resting, or exploring!

This evening’s yoga practice is a little longer than usual. Since we have the time, we can allow ourselves to fully dive into a deeper practice and explore any changes that may be resulting within us as a result of the week’s pilgrimages. Our meditation practice will continue reviewing the Eight Verses of Mind Training. (B+ L+ D)

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Day 8: Leh - Nubra valley

Today kicks off a new leg of our journey! Following yoga, meditation, and healthy breakfast, we’re off on a real adventure!

Our journey today takes us on a winding and bumpy ride on one of the highest roads in the world! After making our way over the Khardunglha Pass at 18380 feet, from where we can enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding mountain ranges, we arrive in the unmistakable and well knownNubra valley.

En-route, we stop for lunch at Disket monastery and to visit the grand statue of Maitreya Buddha (or the future Buddha). On arrival in Hundar, there will be an hour of free time. Followed by gentle walk around the village or to the sand dune. If the weather permits, we can enjoy our evening practices amongst the sand dunes.Tonight’s teaching begins an exploration of the Heart Sutra and our yoga practice reflects this.

We dine together at our hotel in Hundar.

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Day 9: Nubra Valley

After morning tea, our asana and meditation practice today reflects on the Heart Sutra. Breathing techniques and movement will go hand in hand with focus on the heart sutra and morning meditation will follow.

Post breakfast, we’re in for an incredible natural excursion and experience! Today we visit Yarab Tso, or Vision Lake, where, according to local legend, the fine movements of the waves inspire visions in visiting pilgrims. We’ll reflect and have time to hang Tibetan prayer flags before participating in special smoke prayer(Sangsol) under the guidance of our tour teacher. The prayer allows us to dedicate our flags to peace, harmony, and the happiness of all sentient beings. We’ll have a moment of silent meditation to reflect on why we hang these flags.

AfterYarab Tso,we visit Ensa Monastery, an ancient retreat center, where we’ll conduct tonight’s asana and meditation sessions. Together we’ll move and recite the Heart Sutra in the ancient prayer hall.

We return to our hotel for dinner together and reflect on our visit in the Nubra Valley.

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Day 10: Nubra Valley – Leh

After our usual morning ritual, we pack up and enjoy the adventurous ride back to Leh. Tonight we just rest and meet to go over our itinerary for our mini trek. A gentle restorative yoga practice is followed by a lesson on walking meditation, preparing us for three days of physical exertion.

After group dinner, don’t forget to pack for our trek! Don’t take more than you’ll want to care and leave all extra belongings at our Leh hotel.

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Day 11: Leh – Trek (To be determined)

We begin our morning at our hotel in Leh with a rejuvenating yoga and meditation practice. Today’s practice is all about invigorating and energizing the body and mind in preparation for our mini trek.

After a hearty and filling breakfast, we’re off to our starting point from where there’s nothing more to do than walk! The day is spent walking through the breathtaking landscape of insert location , enjoying one another’s company but allowing ample time for reflection and walking meditation.

Upon arrival at our accommodations for the night, we’ll dig into a tasty and filling dinner. Our evening yoga today will be after dinner and will be simple and sweet, restoring some energy to our walking muscles and lots of stretching! Meditation practice as usual.

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Day 12: Trek

An early morning start over a hot cup of tea and some gentle stretching. We’ll see how our muscles are feeling today and adapt  Morning meditation is seated today but will build on similar ideas used in walking meditation.

Again we challenge ourselves as we walk through the mountains, following ravines, and exploring tiny Ladakhi villages. Our evening will finish in the beautiful village of insert village, where we’ll have the totally wonderful and unique experience of staying with a local Ladakhi family in a traditional home. Together we learn to prepare a traditional meal and get a wonderful night’s sleep after evening restorative yoga and meditation.

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Day 13: Village – Leh

This morning we’ll skip our morning practice and instead work together with our local hosts to prepare a traditional Ladakhi breakfast. We’ll eat with our hosts and learn about village life in Ladakh. Our hosts will take us on a walk through the village and we’ll participate in daily chores, giving us insight into a typical day in a Ladakhi village. This is a unique experience that really takes us off the beaten path, providing us with an experience not many tourists get to have.

After packing up and saying goodbye to our wonderful hosts, we head back to Leh for a final evening practice. We’ve now spent nearly two weeks exploring unknown corners of the Himalayas and challenging ourselves physically so tonight’s asana practice will playfully culminate in postures we haven’t yet tried! We’ll play around with challenging ourselves in totally new ways and brave attempts at something different! Evening meditation will center on reflection and letting go. Reflecting on the experiences we’ve enjoyed and letting them go, with the realization that the trip is coming to an end.

Our dinner tonight will be a celebration and a goodbye. We’ll share our favorite moments and photos over drinks, hot food, and lots of toasts! An evening that will be a cozy and heartwarming end to an incredible journey.

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Day 14: Leh- Home

Packing up and heading home! Some group members may travel on together and others will fly from Leh to Delhi to home.

Tour Ends.

This 14 day/13 night all-inclusive journey is $2750 per person (double occupancy) before one month. After that the price is $2890.

If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $650 and will be added to your last payment. 

What is a single supplement and why do I have to pay it?

Our trip prices are based on double-occupancy rooms; that is, two people (spouses, partners, friends, etc) sharing a room and essentially splitting the cost of each hotel room.

If you choose to have your own room OR you do not have a roommate, you are responsible for paying the entirety of the cost of your hotel rooms, hence the additional fee (or “single supplement”).  If you traveling alone but desire a roommate, we can put you in touch with other single guests looking for a roommate; however, we can never guarantee a roommate and if you do end up with a private room, you will be responsible for the single supplement.

Please don’t think you’re ever being punished for traveling by yourself (we are big fans of traveling solo!), but we cannot absorb the extra cost of your hotel room if you cannot find a roommate.  We do not profit from your single supplement, it is simply to cover your private accommodation.

Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.

A $800 deposit holds your space.  The second installment of $1000 is due by (30 days before start of trip) and the balance is due by (10 days before start of trip).  Single supplement ($650) is due along with the last installment.

NOTE:

  • There is a minimum of 16 guests that must sign up in order for this trip to take place. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up.  Please do not purchase any airfare until you get the go-ahead from us that we’ve reached our minimum number of participants.
  • If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 1 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.

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