I have always wanted to go to Nepal, the country known for the Himalayas, the living yogic traditions, sacred temples/stupas, stunning landscapes and the beautiful people. I started searching on Yoga Trade for a teaching opportunity and within a week I had secured my spot to be a guest teacher at the Vedic Arogya Ashram.
Once arriving in Kathmandu I was greeted by one of the family members from the ashram who patiently waited in the arrivals hall for 2 hours due to my backpack being 'misplaced' on the wrong conveyer belt. We hopped into a little taxi to the ashram, located 45 mins out of Kathmandu in a little village called Godavari.
My first impression of the ashram was a feeling that I had arrived at a very sacred and peaceful place tucked into the hills and surrounded by natural beauty in all directions. The ashram is built into a hill and consists of 5 levels, the main yoga hall and reception, the shared dorms and smaller yoga studio, the private rooms and dining area/kitchen, the communal showers and laundry area and the artist space/library which looks out on to the organic vegetable garden.
There is a set program here that the guests follow which starts with a 6 am wake up bell followed by Jala Neti (nasal cleansing) and then a 2-hour yoga and meditation class. We then get to enjoy a hearty, warm breakfast followed by Karma Yoga to make the place more beautiful and to give back in a small way.
By mid-morning it's time for a Pranayama session to connect with the breath and the fresh mountain air. Lunch is a big plate of dhal bhat and then we have 2 hours to relax and enjoy the sunshine. After lunch, there is a workshop followed by an afternoon snack and then a hike to the nearby village, a temple, monastery or the local botanical gardens. Another yoga class before dinner and then a silent meditation to end the day.
This was how I spent my month at the ashram, following the yogic lifestyle and embracing the program that we followed on a daily basis.
The guests would change on a weekly basis as they came for a 7-day yoga or detox program, people from all corners of the world came here, from all ages and yoga backgrounds, ranging from beginners to intermediate students.
I was constantly meeting new people and learning just as much from them as they were from me. Apart from teaching yoga and meditation classes, I was able to offer alternative healing sessions to the guests with Reiki, Chakra Balancing, Past Life Regression, Thai Massage, and Astrology Chart readings to those who wanted a little something extra for themselves.
The ashram is owned by a lovely Nepalis family and they really do make you feel apart of their family as they welcomed me into their home and lives. Anything that I needed help with was always warmly given and nothing was too much for them. It was humbling to see a family with so little giving back so much with a smile on their face. My heart was warmed by their generous spirit, genuine kindness, and patience.
This has been one of my most memorable teaching experiences to date, it was so rewarding to connect with a like-minded community and be able to share my classes, workshops and alternative therapies with them. It was such a pleasure to teach, guide and inspire such a diverse group of people who were all their on their own journey and all had story to tell.
*This post is dedicated to Nadine, a beautiful soul and yoga teacher that I had the privilege of meeting at the ashram. Her gentle presence, warmth, and light radiated from her being and I was lucky enough to know her for a brief moment in time. Nadine was in a trekking accident shortly after leaving the ashram and sadly passed away.