Himalayas – place where the Yoga come from

Himalayas – place where the Yoga come from

Krishnamacharya claimed to have received his training in Hatha yoga during seven years spent with his guru, Ramamohana Brahmacharya, who lived in a cave in a remote region of the Himalayas.

Having known that, me and Martin decided to go and check the Himalayas ourselves. 

Our friend told us, that the cave is somewhere behind this range (Annapurna       south)

We didn't find the cave of Ramamohana Brahmacharya, but instead we met 2 living yogis :) 

Trip to the Himalayas

This February we decided to go to Nepal, the rooftop of the world. It was an unexpected and unplanned trip but it turned out to be a beautiful experience.

After spending a few months during the winter season in Yoga Gurukula, where we come to study ashtanga yoga, we decided to go for a trip to Nepal. In January we found out that our visa is expiring in February and we have to leave India. That is how it works here for tourists. Even though you have a tourist visa for a year, you are obliged to leave the country every 3 months.


Many people who stay in Gurukula for a long period go for the Visa runs to Sri Lanka, this is the most cheapest and convenient option because the weather is similar and people are easy going.

We decided, though, that we will try Nepal this time, we heard something about Nepal, but it has always been a mystery – snowy Himalayas & Buddhist monasteries…

We said to ourselves, let’s go, we bought a flight ticket and decided to stay in Nepal for 2 weeks.

We arrived in busy Kathmandu on Friday afternoon. The Setup of the streets, shops, stalls and street vendors was very similar to India with the only difference, the noise of the streets was minimal compared to what we experienced in India. Somehow people could understand each other without shouting and honking. I have an impression that the mountains make the people calmer and humbler.


Kathmandu amazed us with its narrow historical streets, lasi stalls and tracker shops. Everybody who is going hiking will make a stop in Kathmandu and buy all the necessary equipment and gear to go to the mountains. We got very much inspired by mountaineers and decided that we will continue to the mountains as well. Kathmandu with its history and things to offer has endless possibilities but 3 days there were just enough for us at that time, we felt that we needed fresh Himalayan air. 

From Kathmandu to the mountains

As we were coming from tropical south India, we only had a pair of flip-flops and airy pants. We stopped in one of the tracking shops and bought a pair of shoes and trekking pants. Next day we were already heading to Pokhara, the second biggest city in Nepal, a gateway to the Himalayas.



Those two cities are very well connected with day or night buses. Despite the fact that the entire road is under construction, we would not smoothly continue our journey, not even a kilometer without bumps. So instead of the promised 5 - 6 hours it took us 9 hours to reach Pokhara. When we asked the driver how long the journey will be, with a smile on his face he replied: 8 hours minimum, let’s see :) 

At 16.30 we are in Pokhara and Annapurna range view is waiting for us in its full beauty. It was all worthed!

Meating yogis in Nepal

Swara - yoga retreat centre close to Pokhara, Nepal
      Photo by: IiLing from Swara yoga retreat


At the time when we were leaving Gurukula I asked our teacher if he knows any spiritual places or has anybody there who we can visit, who can show us local places. We got one contact with Guruji's friend, they haven’t seen each other for 10 years, but he thought he might be a nice person to meet. He didn't tell us any details nor where in Nepal he lived. 

 After reaching Pokhara we contacted the guy and he said he is only 20 km from the city, what a coincidence! 

And so the friend, his name is Ganesh, sent his brother to pick us up in the city. 20 km took us one and half hours and instead of a car or bus we were put into the back of the jeep with another 10 people, chicken, few liters of gas, few kilos of flour and rice on the roof. The Jeep's cover at the bag had to be closed so the police could not see us so it was hard to breath and move. It was an experience worth remembering.

After 90 minutes of riding, the jeep stopped and we were sent out, the driver pointed at the house, there you should go. We arrived at the small village called Astam.  Ganesh with his family were waiting for us. What a pleasure to meet them.

Ganesh and his wife liLing are both yoga practitioners, for many years they studied in Mysore under the guidance of Pathabi Jois. Ganesh has been practicing for over 30 years and has studied yoga at the Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore, Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, Bihar School of Yoga in Munger and KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore. He holds an M.A. in Sanskrit and Vedic Philosophy from Banaras Hindu University.

IiLing practised architecture in London before turning to yoga. Enthralled by John Scott and Annie Pace in the early days, she took to daily mysore practice and assisted Hamish Hendry at Astanga Yoga London, and eventually at the source at the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India. She met Ganesh there and they returned  regularly for a decade to practice with Sri K.Pathabhi Jois and Sharath Jois.

Not only their background and experience, but their way of living can tell that they are true yogis. For many years they already knew they didn't want to live a city life and now their dream came true. They managed to find a piece of land, where they established Yoga Shala and accommodation units for the students. 

They have consciously chosen to build with earth, using a method that mixes raw materials of clay, gravel, sand and water, then rammed manually in formwork. The results are ecological, sustainable and aesthetically unique. Naturally load bearing, the thick but breathable rammed earth walls have thermal mass properties adopting the ability to absorb, store and release heat slowly in the winter whilst keeping cool in the summer.

They are almost finishing the constructions of their yoga Shala and 2 more buildings to accommodate the students. It is going to be a magical experience to practice there under their guidance being surrounded and protected by magnificent Himalayas.

Here I am attaching a link for their place, if you ever feel like practicing Ashtanga yoga in Nepal, or would like to organize your own retreat – this is definitely a place to be!

Doorway to Himalayan heaven

Being welcomed at their place they explained to us about surroundings and places to go. Basically we found out that very close to their village there is a gateway to many famous base camps: Australian base camp, Annapurna & Mardi base camp. It usually takes 6-10 days to finish one. We only had 3 days' time so we did half of the Mardi track - we stopped at Forest Base camp with an altitude of 2 500 m.


Already after 1 day in the mountains you can feel how they make you quieter, humbler and your mind is entering a natural state of silence.

3rd day, both of us, me and Martin, were silent most of the day. Observing the surroundings and listening to the silence itself is a great practice. 

If we could, we would have loved to stay a few more days and continue all the way up to the final base camp (4 500 m), but hopefully next time.

It was time to come back down, on the way back we again stopped in Astam, spend a night there, experienced the storm – we are glad that we survived, we literally felt the electricity passing close to us – basically you are on that mountains, so you feel everything is happening in the storm

Next morning, we walked down to Pokhara, had some homemade Tibetan thukpa and momos and jumped into the bus back to Kathmandu & flew back to India.

The connection with the place, mountains, people and food was excellent! It was our first, but surely not our last visit! 

If you feel you would like to join us traveling and exploring Nepal, we are organizing a trip in October 2023. We will be a small group of up to 10 members. To know more about the trip visit this page: www.nagatravels.com

The page is in Slovak at the moment, but hopefully you can use the Translator if needed. On the bottom of the page is a link where you can drop your email. We will get back to you.  

Hope to hear from you!  :) 

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