A month of yoga in Nepal – where locals and yogis meet

I would have never believed it if someone had told me I’d go to live in rural Nepal to study how to be a yoga teacher. But as this exact thing happened to me, it feels so natural now. I’m so happy that I had the chance to live with locals and start my experience with the country in an authentic way. I’m so grateful that my first serious relationship with yoga was established in Nepal.

Some people say it is the right place to do yoga in Nepal. They call the country the “homeland” of yoga. It might be true, it might be a dream, but there’s something with the vibes of Nepal that just resonates with yoga. So I’m so glad I started my yoga teacher journey in Nepal.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet

The Nepali lifestyle

Waking up with mantras and religious songs from the nearby villages was a blessing and an irritation at the same time. Some mornings they were refreshing and motivating, some mornings I just wanted to sleep until the alarm took off. The misty valleys and the rising sun would leave me to wonder if I’m still dreaming or I’m awake.

Nepali people are so kind and smiling and literally, everyone in our “neighborhood” greeted us with “Namaste”, accompanied by Namaskar gesture and a true smile. It’s so hard to get lost because people will just take you to your house. Or chase the stray dogs away (and they have tons of stay dogs on Nepali streets). Or drive you down the muddy non-existing road long after dark.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet

Nepalis are used to their way of things happening. If you diverge from the expected/happy scenario, you might feel misunderstood. It’s better to go with the flow and don’t resist the normal way things go. This is Nepal and following the locals and their customs and way of thinking will help you be more zen than expected. And remember, you will most probably have enough lives to finish all the tasks you started, so why hurry (or be on time for that matter)?

My favorite part of the day was when the valley was dark and you could see all the lights shimmering. The whole valley is as magical as a starry sky and only an occasional mosquito in the garden or the trucks that work during the night might ruin the bliss. There’s always some construction work going on, but those roads are still not in any acceptable condition…

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet

The yogic lifestyle in rural Nepal

Together with all the yogis willing to learn how to teach yoga in Nepal, we were having a very strict daily routine. There’s a sample day of our training schedule. Did you spot the tons of tea we were having – masala chai, ginger, lemongrass, mint, milk tea, black, green – most of the herbs were of course collected from the garden.

  • neti cleansing + tea
  • pranayama (yogic breathing) session + tea
  • asana session
  • breakfast + tea
  • walk down to Bamboo house (where the other half of the future yoga teachers were)
  • yoga philosophy class + tea
  • lunch + tea
  • free time
  • workshop + tea
  • hike back up to White House
  • asana session
  • dinner + tea
  • free time/self-study time
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet

We were strengthening our bodies and minds with all the yogic practicing while diving deep into the history and philosophy of yoga. We realized the ultimate aim of life is to reach the higher state of meditation called samadhi and we struggled with that as we are still living in a materialistic world and some of us still want to be happy.

As long as we progressed with our learning of Patanjali’s hatha and ashtanga yoga, we were also trying to make sense of teachings as old as 5 or 10 thousand years and find our yog in the world as it is now.

Something else I was considering doing was going for a silent meditation retreat. It’s another life of realization and it’s probably going to be too challenging to stay silent for long, but it’s something worth trying. Here are some of the best meditation retreats on different continents.

Travel locally in Kathmandu valley

I didn’t spend much time wondering what it is like to travel independently in Nepal. During off days, I was tempted to leave the White House and explore. The general rule is to never be in a hurry, get ready for a long time on the road, and enjoy things as they are, let them be.

The nearby road junction and bus stop – Telkot, with few shops for basic necessities became just not enough for people with the passion to explore.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Telkot
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Telkot

Changu Narayan temple

A hike over the valley, under the shade of green forest or on the dusty village roads. Goats, ducks, dogs and dusty smiles. We passed view after view, hill after hill and then here it was – the oldest temple in the history of Nepal. We met a lovely local – called Narayani, she has nice clothes and souvenir shop. As a true Nepali, she invited us for a tea, we chatted a while, quickly became friends. Exchanging stories and making friends when you least expect it – that’s what we’re traveling for.

The temple was partially being reconstructed (earthquake didn’t care it was the oldest Hindu temple in Nepal). Still, you can sense the ancient vibes, you can imagine what life was like centuries ago. We couldn’t help ourselves and took seats in a restaurant for a portion of momo and some thukpa soup. After that, we were ready to get lost (literally) on the way back to Telkot and White House.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Changu Narayan temple
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Changu Narayan temple

Massage in the garden

One of the most secluded and joyful moments for me. Manju approached me with her red sari, big smile, and long black hair. She tried to tie it in a bun and took a nail clipper to get her hands ready for the massage. The garden was so green, so full of life, sounds coming from everywhere. We entered the tiny massage room together. The rice terraces were trying not to look at us. The distant neighbors were having another celebration. Manju spotted a mole on my back and told me this meant “money”, then asked me if I was 17 years old. I could feel the massage oil and the firm pressing of her hard-working hands. I was traveling to another state of mind and body. Maybe to the times when I was seventeen, indeed.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet

A day in Bhaktapur

Yogi science says in order to realize ourselves and reach samadhi we should be tapas (discipline, hard-working, persistent). After a day trip to nearby Bhaktapur, I think I saw so many examples of hard work and persistence. Like the people who are still working hard to rebuild houses and temples after the devastating earthquake in 2015. The people who give blessings in shrines and temples and rely on donations. The people who beg money in ragged clothes and with disabilities.

Don’t miss the opportunity to go for a day trip to Bhaktapur, it’s just a magical place. We suggest that you take your time to get lost in the city and explore at your own pace, you can get inspiration on what to do and see in Bhaktapur here.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Bhaktapur
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Bhaktapur

We saw guards staying in the sun to protect a Hindu temple. There were tour guides unhappy with us having a local person (they thought she steals their job!). There were people cooking tasty Newar food in the basement of their houses. Teachers surrounded their students with love and knowledge at the public school. Bus drivers (at least 40 minutes for less than 10 kilometers) never gave up on those impossible and non-existing roads.

Goats were wandering in search for food, even smelly socks teased them. A boy with a pile of pink cotton candy tried to find clients. Stray dogs outnumbered people. Flags were swinging under the sun. Singing bowls were chanting all day long. We collected so much dust and so many Nepalese smiles along the day in Bhaktapur…

Nagarkot

There’s nothing better than this not good poem to describe the day in a few words. We went to search for views and fresh air, we got back with various experiences and mixed emotions.

A cloudy sky.
Foggy valley.
Misty mountains.
Where are you, Himalayas?

Chicks giggling in a cozy café. A sunny terrace or soft seats? How many teas can you drink in three hours? A Western store. Curly cucumbers. The mouse is gone. Nagarkot.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Nagarkot
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Nagarkot

Manicure in Bhaktapur and detour to Nagarkot

It was exam time in the yoga teacher training so one afternoon I decided I needed some time away. My nails needed some proper care so together with my friend Usha we hit the road to Bhaktapur. We had a nice tea time with a friend of hers, then started searching for nail parlor. It turned out not to be so easy. Eventually, we found one. It took them only 2 hours to do the manicure, but that was the most unusual (even crazy) manicure I’ve had.

After full arm massage, the most thorough cuticle cutting, and sitting in the most uncomfortable chair for 2 hours, we finally hit the road. We left two girls in training for some hair removing facial procedures. Usha got me on a bus to Telkot, and I relaxed watching the rain and the mess outside the window. And it started raining so hard, windows blurred. I missed my stop and I was traveling to Nagarkot. Arrived just before dark, so I had to bargain a taxi for the way back. Two brothers drove me back home in that rainy muddy cold evening.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Bhaktapur

Chill in festive Nagarkot

The next day we had an official free day so I headed to Nagarkot. Met with the most amazing roommate Federica, chilled together, had some non-Nepali food, absorbed the views. On our way back it was getting rainy and cold, but that didn’t ruin the festival that was going on. A big stage, MC on the microphone, colorfully-dressed people, the fiesta was just starting. I can say Nepali people just have a lot of joy and celebration in themselves. I admire that!

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet, Nagarkot

The yoga teacher training

After passing examinations of different yoga sessions, we were about to finalize our physical graduation with 108 sun salutations. Early in the morning, we hiked up to the local Hindu temple called Jalapadevi Temple. After the tremendous exercise of both body and mind, we enjoyed the sunny morning overlooking the rice fields. People were coming to make offerings to gods, to ring the bells and pray.

I’m so happy I choose the yoga training in Nepal, a.k.a. the birthplace of yoga. Here’s a guide on how to choose the right yoga teacher training for you.

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet

The academical graduation we did dressed up in saris, with blessings from our gurujis, and receiving the certificates. Then we continued with the spiritual graduation – with a fire ceremony, singing mantras and sending positive thoughts to all being on Earth. We let go of what we don’t need, we give what we have, we become richer and richer.

Yoga is not just unity. Teaching yoga can start from just teaching yourself to be a better person and share that with all people around you. And who can’t study in the homeland of yoga, and who can’t learn from the locals? All you need is Nepal, yoga and to be good to yourself and the others!

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet
A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet
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One Response

  1. […] The Annapurna Basecamp trek is a 7-9 days trek that will get you close to the Annapurna mountains within a few days after you leave the tourist hub & Pokhara the second biggest city in Nepal. Click here to read this post the ultimate budget guide to Kathmandu. If you want to relax in Nepal after you are done hiking, and want to do some Yoga, check out this post. […]

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