Join Sydney based KPJAYI authorised Ashtanga Yoga teachers Nadia and Gabriel Stinga Rihani for a 7 night Yoga Retreat, in the mountains North of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, India. The location we have chosen is very special, set in 2 square kilometres of cedar, oak and rhododendron forest in the splendid Himalayan foothills (6,808ft / 2,042m), overlooking the Kangra and Kullu Valleys and the temple of the Dalai Lama amidst his community in exile from Tibet.
This unusual and beautiful corner of India has the snow capped Dhauladhar mountain range as its spectacular backdrop. McLeod Ganj where His Holiness the Dalai Lama resides is a 45 minutes walk down the mountain. Here you will find several Buddhist Monasteries, regular philosophy teaching and many other Tibetan cultural activities such as arts and music.
The surrounding nature is stunning with several waterfalls, natural rock pools and a river at walking distance. Lots of wildlife and hundreds of birds live in the surroundings as there are no other hotels, shops or roads nearby to disturb the peace. Gabriel claims this area to be his favourite place in the world and if someone would be interested in staying in the area after the retreat there is plenty of things to do or just simply enjoy peace of the mountains.
Our retreat will be held in a stunning eco-guest house, located a 30 minute walk to Dharmkot a local village or a 45 minute walk to Mcleod Ganj, yet the hotel is secluded and peacefully surrounded by nature. There isn’t a road leading to the hotel so no cars are on site, all staff are from local villages, and they use traditional, locally hand-woven blankets, hand-made soaps and hand-carved wood products. The hotel is sustainably run, All water is harvested from rainfall, and there is a Spring for pure drinking water. Hot water is solar powered. They grow herbs and salad, milk is from staff families’ cows and buffalo and they make curd, cheese, jams, marmalade, relishes, chutneys, and cook local organic produce.
All waste is separated for compost, animal feed, paper & wood for modern fire stoves in the guest rooms, glass, etc., for re-cycling.
The owners are involved with the Dharamsala Animal Rescue and encourage guests to be involved where possible.
Rooms are tastefully decorated and comfortable. There is the option for a shared room (maximum tow guests in single beds) or limited single rooms. There is a library on site, many stunning walks from the hotel and a waterfall for swimming in.
The closest airport is Dharmsala/ Gagga or alternatively Amritsar. We recommend flying to Dharmsala. If flying from Sydney, Air India flies direct from Sydney with one stop in Delhi. Transfers will be provided from the airport. Guests must arrive in daylight, as the hotel is a 15/20 minute walk from the road (as it is secluded), porters will carry your luggage to the hotel from the road.
Nadia Stinga Rihani is honoured to be a Level 2 Authorised Ashtanga teacher, and was given her blessing to teach this method by Sharath Jois in 2014 after practicing yoga since 1999 and the Ashtanga method for ten years. Yoga has had a profound impact of Nadia's life and has carried her through the extreme highs and lows over the years, providing a sense of stability and grounding, including through pregnancy the the birth of her and Gabriels daughter, Indhira. Now practicing Advanced A from the Ashtanga Series, Nadia shares her experience in the traditional Mysore Style classes as taught to her through her teacher, Sharath Jois.
Nadia first found the yoga mat whilst studying at university and really felt changed by the practice when she began daily practice in her first job after completing her studies.
After living in the USA, Italy and Portugal Nadia returned home and discovered the Ashtanga method which she found life changing. She completed her teacher training and apprenticeship in 2009 and after many years of study Nadia left her corporate career to focus on teaching. In 2011 founded Yoga Village with the intention of creating an authentic and traditional space in which students could practice and teachers could facilitate their learnings.
Since 2010 Nadia has travelled to India each year for intensive self study and practice, from which she sources inspiration for her teaching and life.
Nadia is extremely grateful to be walking on this path and to be able to share the joy and pain of a sincere yoga practice with her students.
Gabriel Stinga Rihani began practicing yoga in its various forms in 2003 and in 2008 he began a dedicated Ashtanga Yoga practice. He has a background in Buddhist meditation that together with Ashtanga yoga, forms part of his sadhana.
Since his first trip to India in 2007, Gabriel has spent a large portion of time in India learning directly from his teachers. In 2009 Gabriel began studying under the guidance of Sharath Jois at KPJAYI in Mysore and after four extended study trips he has been authorised to teach the traditional method. Gabriel also spent extended periods of study over several years learning from certified teachers Rolf Naujokat and Louise Ellis. He was first introduced to the art of adjusting by Anand Zorzo when assisting him in his native Las Palmas, Spain and later assisting under guidance of Natalia Paisano in Stockholm, Sweden.
Teaching Ashtanga Yoga has previously taken Gabriel to Sweden, Portugal, Spain, France and Germany. He is now teaching the Mysore program at Yoga Village together with his wife Nadia.
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