Sadhana Yoga Retreat

Just finished a challenging, painful, frustrating yet rewarding week at Sadhana Yoga Retreat or as Zane coined it, Meditation Boot camp.  The center is situated outside the city of Pokhara on the hillside above Phewa Lake.  A loving Nepali family who greeted us with open hearts operates the center and gave us the best room in the house with windows facing the lake.  Asanga (principle Yoga Master) and his wife, Durga, are the owners.  Bipin, our team leader, had a contagious smile and took great care of us.  Hatha Yoga, based on ancient Yogic science, is practiced here and includes meditation, chanting of mantras, breathing exercises and then lastly the physical body.   Our hope was for more physical, dynamic Yoga practice and was disappointed in this aspect.   As we are not interested in perfecting our meditation practice these portions of the week tested us but it was remarkable to learn so much about another culture and set of beliefs first hand.

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This was our intense daily schedule for 6 days.  More personal time and breaks would have made the week more enjoyable but the last couple days we skipped afternoon meditation to get a massage, do a trail run and paraglide.  Every activity was signaled with a loud bell ring so we felt like school children at times!

5:30 – Wake up
5:45 – Morning Pre-Meditation Exercises/Meditation
7:00 – Tea Break
7:15 – Nasal Cleansing (using a Neti pot)
7:30 – Morning Yoga
8:45 – Nature Walk
9:45 – Khaja (Breakfast)
10:30 – Mud/Steam Bath (sit in a steam box or rub healing mud over you body)
12:00 – Afternoon Pre-Meditation Exercises/Meditation
1:00 – Bhojan (Lunch)
3:30 – Karma Yoga
4:00 – Popcorn and milk tea break
4:30 – Chanting (Bhakti Yoga)
5:30 – Evening Yoga (reflexology exercises to start)
7:00 – Evening Meal
7:45 – Breathing exercises/candle gazing meditation (Trataka)
8:45 – Retire in silence to bed

The daily food was prepared each day by chef Devi and was so delicious.  The pure food, pure mind mantra was recited before every meal to purify our meals.  Karma Yoga was a self-less act to help out the center.  Zane helped in the kitchen most of the time and I edited text for their website updates.

Pokhara is known as the main entrance and exit of the Annapurna trek and an adventure sports play ground.  Durga’s brother Balu runs one of the many paragliding companies, which looked like too much fun for Katie and I to pass up.  Walking to the main road for our pick up we were accosted by school children asking for chocolates and money.  Since we had nothing on us to give them we graced them with a quick English and drawing lesson, which was fun and humbling.


Once the paragliding company showed up we were instantly thrown into another world.  A jeep/truck pulled up filled with five adrenalin junky pilots and wide-eyed wind blown customers.  They had just landed their third flight for the day and were picking us up for their fourth.  We were promptly told to jump into the bed of the vehicle that was filled with paragliding packs and crazy pilots and then bounced down the pot-holed road for 15 minutes to get to the launch site.


We did not sign any wavers or get any detailed instructions but our safety warning consisted the phrase “were not responsible for anything falling out of our pockets or anything like that” which was said in passing.  In less than 5 minutes from arriving to the launch site we had a helmet on, were strapped in a harness attached to the pilot and were told, “just run when I tell you to run and I’ll do the rest”.  Then boom!  We were flying.  The views of the lake, forest, terraced crops, mountains, and other paragliders was unreal and wonderful beyond my description.  There were about 10 or more paragliders around us as we circled the up drafts and gained as much altitude as possible for about 10 minutes.  The flight was finished with some acrobatic turns and spiral dives.  Once safely on the ground the whole experience slowly sunk in and I was left with a permagrin that returns every time I think about the experience.

Our last morning at the retreat we hiked Sarangkot Mountain for practice for the trek but unfortunately had no view of the Himalayas as it is still monsoon season.  Preparation for the 18-day trek on the Annapurna Circuit has occupied our last 2 days.  Gear is crazy cheap here and has been fun purchasing knock-off North face jackets, daypacks and more.   In the morning we catch a local bus for a 5-hour ride to Besisahar where we start the trek.   This is our final sign off as we will be off the grid for 3 weeks.

Enjoy the pics of the retreat and our first few days in Kathmandu.

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3 Responses to Sadhana Yoga Retreat

  1. bpntrp says:

    It is an interesting insight into your experience. I am happy for all the positive experiences you have had. Wishing you both a wonderful time in Nepal. Smiles.. 🙂

  2. Bipin, nice to hear from you. We really did enjoy our time at the yoga retreat and have told many people about it. Our 5 weeks in Nepal were unforgettable. Big Hugs to you 🙂

  3. Caryl Anne says:

    Looks like you had a great time! Retreats are such a great way to relax, reflect, and connect with those around you, especially those with similar beliefs and interests. Thanks for sharing your post!

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