Nepal Yoga Trek
Trekking in Nepal for 11 days gave me just what I anticipated – space to breathe, feel and be with nature.
I recently completed the ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) trek in Nepal with Purna Yoga, a yoga retreat centre based in the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara. With our yoga teacher Karnesh and a porter and a guide, we trekked for about 5-6 hours each day, staying at guest houses each night, and practising yoga every morning and afternoon. Before dinner Karnesh gave us a Yoga Nidra session – one of my favourite parts of yoga!
I never considered myself very fit in terms of trekking up and down steep hills, but my muscles showed me I could do it – and the daily yoga definitely helped in easing any muscle or joint pain. By day 6 we arrived at our peak destination – the Annapurna Base Camp (altitude 4100m), where the serious expeditions to climb the mountains begin. From here you have a 360 degree view of many of Nepal’s highest mountains, including the distinctive Machapuchare ‘Fishtail’ mountain. We had slowly walked through light rain on our ascent and when we reached our guest house it began to pour. The rain turned to snow – it was absolutely freezing!
We were woken at 5am to see the sun rise over the mountains. Karnesh gave us Tibetan prayer flags to hang, and first we prayed together, before joining them to a bundle of flags already flying in the wind. The descent from Annapurna Base Camp gave just as many spectacular views.
For me, the Himalayan mountains are a reminder to be still and present within. Trekking the ABC on all kinds of paths – jagged, flat, rocky and muddy – required 100 per cent mindfulness to prevent slips and falls. This mindful state in combination with being in nature with so few humans gave way to an inner stillness in me that allowed for deeper processing. My fellow trekkers agreed, we were all having vivid dreams – our days were so simple that our mind did not have anything to process, so it went deeper and dug out what needed to be healed.
I had two lessons that sunk deep into my bones:
- Non-attachment – As the weather quickly changed from sunny to rainy to being in a cloud (literally) to sunny again, we learned to not become fixated on each state – instead we were prepared and open for all possibilities and had no expectations. On contemplation I understood that approaching any change like this could be the most peaceful path.
- Trust yourself – As I walked with mindfulness, I carefully chose each step. Sometimes the path was flat and easy, sometimes it was steep or muddy. On the last day of the trek, as I carefully hopped from one rock to another to avoid the mud, I realised it was much like advancing toward your goals – trusting that each step I chose would provide a stable base for my next move. Be aware and you will choose the right next step.
I am hugely grateful to have had this trekking experience – to encounter such wild beauty, smiling locals and the awe-inspiring expanse of the Himalayan mountains. I encourage everyone to visit Nepal – it needs you the most right now.
Molly Furzer has been practising yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2007. She teaches Kids & Family Yoga, Laughter Wellness and Mindfulness for schools.