Which Yoga Retreat in Nepal is the Best?
Yoga and well being go hand in hand. It is all about harmonizing your body, mind, soul, and heart. Starting yoga for the physical practice is great, but it isn’t the best part. The best part of yoga is the lifestyle, and the comfort that comes from being the best version of yourself. Becoming physically fit is a welcomed side effect. Gaining muscle tone and becoming limber are part of the life style. It also involves eating right and detoxing your body with healthy eating practices. The Yoga Retreat in Nepal is available to get you out of your daily routine and reform your neuro-connections to favor your best version of you.
Nepal Yoga Retreat
The Nepal Yoga Retreat can be many things to many people. This is why it is completely customizable. If what you need is a yoga trek to the most beautiful mountains in Nepal, then that is what you will receive. If you need an old fashioned retreat in a lodge where you can detox and be pampered, then that is what you will receive. The best yoga retreat is the one that is right for you. You can request a special yoga practice in a private lesson with a private teacher. For those of us who want something special, but don’t quite know what it looks like, we can try the Yoga Studio Tour, or the Phewa Lake yoga retreat.
Phewa Lake Yoga Retreat
In my humble opinion Pokhara is the best city for retreats. It is centrally located with access to comfortable facilities. In one day, you can visit the foothills to watch the sunrise over the Annapurna Mountains, walk along the beach, go kayaking, meditate in a Buddhist monastery, and practice yoga. It is a little impacted with people during the busy season (September through November). The sparsely populated area just north of Pokhara is Sarankot. It is an excellent alternative with all the same luxuries.
My second choice for a yoga lake retreat is Rara Lake. It has a few hotels and is not frequently visited. If you want to get away from modern life and practice yoga in an isolated and pristine environment, this is for you. Full disclosure, I have not been to Rara Lake, but some of our guides have. This is their translated account: It is difficult with many hardships, but it is beautiful and clean.
Kathmandu Valley Yoga Retreats
The Kathmandu valley has an extraordinary history worthy of a Hollywood movie production. In fact a few movies have been filmed in Hollywood. Dr. Strange and Everest are the two most recent productions. Watching these movies you catch a glimpse of the cultural context of the yoga retreats in Nepal. You can stay in an ashram and practice yoga. You can even live in one of the temples like Pashupatinath with sadhus. The architecture is amazing and definitely worth a visit.
Lalitpur Nepal is one of the best places to take yoga classes in the Kathmandu valley. It is historically named Patan and is the 3rd largest city in Nepal. It has multiple yoga studios and yoga lessons are offered in Patan Durbar Square. The Krishna mandir is one of the most famous shrines in Nepal.
Yoga in Nepal
The exact history of yoga is unknown. The first written mention of it is in the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda is one of four books of Hindu scripture. It was written around 1500 BCE in India. In the book it identifies yoga, “yogam” as a spiritual yoking. It does not relate to the physical exercise we know it as today. In this way yoga was brought to Nepal in scripture and religious practice. As of 2020, about 81% of Nepali people practice Hinduism.
Yoga became a physical practice around 1100 CE. Initially it was a type of seated hatha yoga and meditation for spiritual wellness. It had few standing poses.
Current yoga practice in Nepal is limited to a couple dozen studios in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The yoga philosophy of joining ones self with Hinduism is practiced by most people. You can find saddhus and yogi at Pashupatinath and at centers in Kathmandu and Pokhara. If you book a yoga retreat you can have a private retreat center anywhere in Nepal.
Yoga and Meditation
The physical process of yoga is a pathway for your body to rid itself of emotional and physical tension. The exercise prepares the body for stillness and the mind for concentration. This duality, concentration and relaxation, is important for achieving meditation. Once the union of mind and body is made, they become grounded (advaita). This grounding strengthens the balance of the body, mind, and senses.
Yoga meditation classes are available during a yoga retreat. Make sure you find the right studio and teacher. If you do not Know where to start, please contact us. You want to feel comfortable during your meditation and yoga sessions. The stronger the bond you have with your teacher and classmates, the more you will get out of your yoga class.
Best Yoga to Practice in Nepal
I recommend combining traditional asanas with hatha poses during your yoga retreat. This this style of yoga is most common in Nepal, and you are likely to find an excellent yoga teacher and studio for your practice. It will be a little bit more tricky but you can find a yoga teacher for most types of yoga at a yoga center. Be sure to call ahead to request the type of practice you would like to do. The following is a list of “basic” asanas I found on Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_asanas)
downward dog, half lotus, bound angle, two-legged Kaundinya, one-legged headstand, reverse triangle, wide stance forward bend, supported headstand, reclining hero, wide-angle seated forward bend, upwards bow, extended side angle, inverted staff
When picking your wellness retreats, you should keep a few things in mind. In general, you want to know what yoga style or yoga styles and techniques they offer. It is good to know how long each yoga session is. If you are interested in teacher training, ask to see about qualifications and accreditation.
Here is a list of some questions to ask and actions to take before you decide on a retreat:
Review their rankings on third party sites like google reviews and trip advisor
Make sure you have a few backups in case they overbook and you are left out.
Schedule your retreat through a tour operator. Studios are less likely to overbook you if your reservation is made through a tour operator like Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures.
Ask if they offer any special diets or detoxes like juice cleanses
Ask if they offer any spa treatments like massage
Ask if they mix their beginner classes with their advanced classes
Ask if they have what you are looking for, even if its not advertised. Be careful if it is a highly specialized training or item and they say “yes” without thinking about it.
Contact the retreat centers and inquire about their classes and facilities.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and well being. It can include yoga practices, breathing exercises, chanting mantras, meditation, body cleansing, natural herbal medicine, massages, and others. It originated in India and has spread around the world. You must pre-book a ayurvedic consultation at most studios. The high end studios and spas will have an ayurvedic healer on staff. He or she will be able to consult you on appropriate diets, cleanses, natural remedies, and treatments for many health issues.
Please note: ayurvedic treatment may not be an appropriate alternative to some illnesses. Please consult your doctor before pursuing ayurvedic treatment.
Incorporating ayurveda in a yogic lifestyle can have compounding health benefits. It is an excellent way to “yoke” healthy mutually beneficial behaviors together.
Thank you for reading. Please contact me if you have any questions about any of the content.