Back to Essence by Kshama Yoga

BACK TO ESSENCE BY KSHAMA YOGA

On this eight-day Hatha and Yin Yoga retreat, follow Teresa, a nomadic yogi, to the mystical and ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, where tradition is fiercely honoured and happiness is measured.

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Thimphu Valley (2300m/7300ft)

Highlights:

  • Arrival, pick up at the airport by Samsara Asia team.
  • Visit Tamchoe or Tachog temple and iron-bridge one of the 108 chain link bridges built in the 14th century to reconnect with the spirits of Bhutan on a symbolic walk across this iron chain bridge from where you were to where you are going.
  • Head toward Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan at the cusp of modernity and tradition.
  • Welcome lunch and orientationn to the yoga retreat.
  • Visit the Bhutan Postal museum, an introduction to Bhutan’s evolution through the communication and postal systems conveyed through anecdotes, artifacts and a rich assortment of stamps.
  • Visit the Royal Textile Academy/Musuem exhibiting Bhutan’s living national art of thagzo (weaving) as one of the 13 arts and crafts. Of interest are exquisite weaves, weaving techniques, styles and live weaving by artisans.
  • Evening Yoga Nidra

Day 2: Thimphu Valley (2300m/7300ft)

Highlights:

  • Morning yoga session at the hotel
  • The Folk Heritage Musuem is dedicated to connecting people to the traditional rural lifestyle via exhibition of artifacts collected from rural Bhutan capturing the rustic ambience of a traditional Bhutanese household. Lunch at the Folk Heritage Restaurant is an introduction to Bhutanese cuisine served in traditional style.
  • The Jungshi Paper Factory is an introduction to the traditional art of traditional paper making. The process of paper-making involves using the barks of indigenous plant species such as 5 species of Daphne and Edgeworthia and involves no use of chemicals. The paper was originally used by monasteries for printing ancient manuscripts from woodblocks
  • NITM: Learn about the art of healing through the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. Based on indigenous Tibetan herbal therapeutic, the institute has a research centre on natural medicines, training centre and medical service section.
  • Time permitting, browse through the craft bazaar for authentic Bhutanese handcrafted souvenirs and artifacts.
  • Evening Yin Yoga

Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha Valley (1200m/3,900ft)

Highlights:

Punkha valley is the ancient capital of Bhutan and the seat of the first secular and religious head of Bhutan, the Zhabdrung. It now serves as the winter residence of the religious head of the state, the Je Khenpo (approximately 3 hours driving time).

  • Dochula: A very dramatic drive over the mountain pass of DochuLa Pass (3050m/10,000 ft) encompassing the victory monument of 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens (stupa) and meditation caves. Weather permitting, the view of the Himalayan ranges is spectacular from this vantage point.
  • Lamperi: Take a short detour of the Rhododendron garden at Lamperi Botanical Park, home to some of the rarest rhododendron species, ferns, birds and wildlife.
  • Yoga session at the park
  • Visit Chime Lhakhang, a temple honouring the Divine Mad Man, a Tibetan Yogi who visited Bhutan in the 11th Century (see http://keithdowman.net/books/divinemadman.html). Among the unique characteristics of Bhutan, none seems more peculiar than the legends of the outrageous but crazy wisdom of a yogi using the phallus to subvert hypocrisies and ills of the society.
  • Evening Yin Yoga

Day 4: Sacred Punakha Valley(1200m/3,900ft)

  • Morning Yoga session
  • Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten: Hike (45 minutes) through a quaint and bucolic villages adoned with rice terraces and mustard fields to arrive at the chorten. Khumsum Yuelley namgyal is a beautiful, one of a kind Bhutanese architectural rendition, whose details were drawn from ancient Buddhist scriptures and is the only kind in the world.
  • Visit the Punakha Dzong built in 1637 sitting on an island between two glacial fed rivers. The most beautiful monastery fortress in Bhutan is noted for its architectural designs, sacred Buddhist relics, and the famous spiritual festivals. It served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907.
  • Evening Yin Yoga

Day 5: Punakha to Paro (2200m/7200ft)

Morning yoga session and drive to Paro Valley

Evening Yin Yoga

Day 6: Sacred Paro Valley (2200m/7200ft)

Highlights:

  • Morning yoga session at the hotel
  • Visit the National Museum, housed in the Tadzong (a watchtower) to observe a large collection of artifacts providing an introduction to the rich culture and heritage of Bhutan.
  • Rinpung Dzong: A short walk down the hill is Paro Rinpung Dzong, with its architectural splendour. Interact with monk students and a glimpse into the life of a monastic school. Walk an ancient path used by local chieftains during wars toward a cantilever bridge (Neymey Zam) toward Tshongdue town.
  • Stoll through Paro town before dinner.
  • Evening Yin Yoga

Day 7: Tiger’s Nest Hike(3120m/10,240ft)

Highlights:

  • Tiger’s Nest Hike: Overlooking the picturesque Paro valley and perched high on a cliff is Bhutan’s iconic landmark, the Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most iconic landmark. First built in 1692 at the site of a meditation cave, legend has it that Guru Rinpoche (the lotus born) flew on the back of a tigress and meditated in the same cave to subdue a demon-ess.
  • Lunch at the cafeteria and visit the Drugyal Dzong
  • Hot-stone bath to soothe muscles after the hike if you choose.
  • Evening Yin Yoga
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Farewell dinner and wrap up.

Day 8: Homebound

Drop off at the airport and homebound

About Kshama Yoga

Teresa is a nomadic yogi, living and teaching “wherever she lays her mat” She is a 500h YA certified teacher in Hatha and Yin Yoga, and Ashtanga practitioner. Originally from Spain, her commitment to yoga happened by chance and changed her life. She is also a Personal Trainer and blends and integrates in her practice and teaching every technique and approach she learns. She breaks down techniques with grace and a down-to-earth sense of humour making them accessible and useful, allowing the practitioners to enjoy and understand the practices so that they can become part of their daily lives. Trained in Yin Yoga by Jo Phee and Joe Barnett, she assisted Jo in her Spine, Fascia and MFR TTC module in Auckland in November 2017 and Berlin in July 2018.

 For more info on Kshama Yoga go here

About Samsara Asia

Samsara Asia in Bhutan is a boutique retreat organizer led by Tshering Lhamtshok, a Bhutanese yoga enthusiast, a practicing student of Tibetan Buddhism meditation and a keen environmentalist. All retreats with Saṃsāra Asia are a part of Tshering’s vision for compassionate living journeys, a process to unplug and disconnect from our ‘more and more, faster and faster’ world to slow down, breathe, and re-connect with the places, the people and with our own inner stillness while walking the old growth rhododendron forests or hovering among the clouds in one of the happiest places on earth.