Yoga Journeys reach new heights

There has been a huge growth in the range of yoga retreats and holidays available to keen yoga students. There is now such a market for yoga trips that you could take your pick of destinations: Bali, Spain, Guatemala, Tuscany and now of course Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal with Beyond The Clouds.

 

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Beyond The Clouds ran its first Yoga journey in 2012 with the lovely Maureen McKain from Nelson. We took Maureen and her yoga students to our project village where they spent a week helping at the project before exploring Pokhara and Chitwan National Park. Soon the number of groups increased and in more recent years, we have been offering Yoga Journeys in Bhutan. 

We have two yoga journeys scheduled in September/ October this year and our March 2018 Yoga Journey is already fully booked. So what is the attraction of a yoga holiday? It is a perfect way to combine travel with like minded people whilst furthering your yoga practice, relaxing and unwinding from the stresses of everyday life. Men are now joining their wives on these trips or a group of ladies head off together on an unforgettable yoga holiday.

Now Beyond The Clouds is starting Tibet Yoga Journeys staying in a stunning chain of Tibet owned and managed boutique lodges. Founding Director, Fionna Heiton says " Yoga journeys are our best selling trips. Someone books and suddenly their friends want to join them. They feel safe in our hands and can relax knowing that we will be with them every step of the way."

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Beyond The Clouds is always on the look out for qualified yoga teachers interested in leading Yoga Journeys with them! 

Bhutan On Sale!

We are thrilled to be able to offer some last minute discounts on our Bhutan Festivals Journey and our Bhutan Walking Holiday in October. These fabulous trips offer all the same excellent hotels with free upgrades to a luxury hotel in Paro, our highly experience guides and carefully planned itinerary. We are also able to guarantee Bhutan visas and flights into Paro. The bonus in these small group tours is that we can offer a discount for anyone booking in July and August. For more information, contact us!

The road to Shangri-La

{Part 7 - Our Founding Director Fionna Heiton is currently travelling in Tibet with her teenage twins}

We have almost reached the end of our Tibetan Journey and finally, after driving right across the Tibetan plateau, over high passes inhabited only by passing nomads and yaks, we have arrived at our final destination, Shangri-La! Nervous that it wouldn’t live up to its reputation, we stop first at Napa Lake. No need to worry, there are yaks and horses grazing by the grassy lakeside surrounded by mountains shimmering in the midday sun. It reminds me of Phewa Lake in Pokhara, Nepal in the 1980s before the hotels sprung up along the lakeside.

We stroll through the old town, which despite much of it being destroyed by a devastating fire in 2014, it has been rebuilt and is perfectly charming! We explore handicraft shops and have a wonderful Indian style meal at The Three Brothers Cafe. After dinner, we join around hundred local Tibetans at the nightly community dance. Tibetan circle dancing is not as easy as it looks. I felt like a contestant on the amazing race, trying to learn the steps before getting my next clue! It didn’t really seem to matter and they seemed delighted that we had joined in! Each dance was different, always in a circle and all quite exhausting in the thin 3,300 metre air.

Our gorgeous Tibetan owned boutique hotel is set in a small village overlooking the Songzanlin Monastery, Yunnan’s largest monastery. Modelled on the Potala Palace, construction began in 1679. Filled with treasures, it once housed 3,000 monks.

The head lama has just died and thousands of locals come to pay their respects, wearing their colourful regional dress. We watch monks praying and debating and chat to an elderly monk about his life. Back at the hotel, we learn that by staying there we are not only helping to employ local Tibetans but that the hotel also supports anyone from the village wishing to go to a higher education institute. The hotel group is opening in Lhasa soon and we meet young Tibetans aspiring to be chefs and restaurant managers. This is a wonderful way of supporting over 300 Tibetans. I join morning meditation class looking out on the monastery before feasting on a wonderful buffet breakfast. We save some bread and cheese for a picnic lunch overlooking the monastery.

The next morning, we join pilgrims pushing the worlds largest prayer wheel which was so heavy it took at least 10 people tugging on ropes to make it move. Our journey in Kham has been a wonderful and highly authentic cultural experience.

We wish we could stay on or continue across the Tibetan plateau but sadly it is time to return to New Zealand, cherishing memories of this very special place. We visit one last monastery, turning prayer wheels for one last Om Mani Hum.

View all our Tibet journeys here