Monique Janssen Amsterdam
It is truly amazing how welcoming this monastery is and how you can just sit next to the monks listening to their mantras. This in combination with the fine yoga and food was a fantastic experience!
Christine Abril France
The retreat was amazing. We learnt so much in just a few days (yoga philosophy, Buddhism, meditation, and Ayurveda). It was very complete and the teachers were very professional. The hotel location and the food were great too.
Stephanie Idrac France
I booked the retreat because my friend planned it, I had no expectations. I went back from this fabulous and unique experience full of positive energy and a lot of knowledge. It was an unexpected journey of self-exploration and intimate sharing with wonderful people. Thanks to Annie and Nata for their devotion, their generosity, their huge heart, their patience, their love of the human being, and the wonderful baggage that they gave me for life. Thank you to Annie and my fellow students Ina, Aaliyah, Anne, Christine, Houda, Sohaila, and Oliver for making this experience so unique. I wish you an enlightened future!
Liz McEwan New Zealand
Great yoga retreat at Pharping Monastery. Awesome location, great accommodation, and fantastic food. The yoga teachers were very knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely helpful. They constantly tried to meet individual needs and balance different levels of yoga experience. Additional lectures on Buddhism and yoga philosophy were very informative. Overall a great experience!
Maria Sousa Columbia
It was an outstanding experience, combining yoga sessions, introduction to meditation, talks about Buddhist monastic life and Buddhist paintings, a walk to two beautiful temples, and exchanges with a khenpo, or Buddhist teacher. The only complaint of the participants was that it should have lasted longer! The people who organized the weekend, were both highly knowledgeable and very pleasant. Attending morning prayer in the monastery at 5.30 a.m. was a remarkable experience. The rooms were new and extremely comfortable, and the vegetarian food was delicious.
Bharat Rosenthal United States
As for the experience - although I was a first timer, this was not a problem at all. Each day started with yoga practice where we were carefully guided through the poses. Annie is an excellent teacher who guided us through the postures with patience. Even for the people that had been doing yoga for several years had good things to say about their experience. There was also discussion on yogic philosophy - which really helped balance out the days. The discussions truly lead to clarity of mind and thought and self reflection. The space that we practiced in was a very nice space - hardwood floors with yoga mats and pillows and a great view of the mountains. I really feel like I learned a lot on this retreat and it was good to see that there was no judgement and that it was an open place for all levels. It was a diverse group of people (everything was taught in English) and I think we all bonded quite well. Discussions truly lead to clarity of mind and thought and self reflection. The space that we practiced in was a very nice space - hardwood floors with yoga mats and pillows and a great view of the mountains.
Peggy Moss Australia
The week-long retreat to Pharping monastery to practice yoga, meditation, and learn about Buddhism with Sam and Rupesh was the highlight of my month long trip to Nepal and India. The setting, the food, and the discussion with the people that joined us, was truly food for the soul. I am a beginner at yoga, and was concerned about my lack of skills, but did not have to worry about this at all. I was put at ease, gently touched to correct the posture, and constantly reminded to listen to how my body and mind felt. I will forever remember breathing in and breathing out to the sounds of the monks chanting. The retreat was incredibly well-organized. Thank you Sam and Rupesh!
Thank you for organizing this training and bringing together so many inspiring and knowledgeable teachers. Your openness and honesty really contributed to inspire such qualities in all of us in the group and to bring us together. I'm usually a very reserved and shy person and I've never felt as open to a group as in this training. Your emphasis on integrating the philosophy into the teaching, even into an asana class has changed my way of teaching and I try to integrate something from beyond the asana into each class and I often get questions about it! Emil's philosophy classes gave me a better insight into what Hatha yoga is and why pranayama is so important.
Here are some insights. Pranayama and meditation: the mornings up in the Buddha shala were magical. I think it is imperative that people realize that this is the entire point of their asana practice to be able to sit in stillness. To learn from a master like Emil was fantastic. This was what I came for. Philosophy: completely outstanding. Such wisdom, and more importantly, imparted with clarity and precision. With any kind of philosophy there is the danger of confusion and this was never the case with the people who taught us. Whats more, the manner was encouraging and gentle and we felt completely as ease asking even inane questions. I've read lots of books on all kinds of yoga philosophy and concepts had begun to sink in but there was cloudiness. Learning with people like Emil and John, was a different ball game entirely. Listening to them was a real treat for me. I was very grateful for the opportunity. I can't say that the clouds have lifted entirely but there is a bit more sunshine. Anatomy: time flew in these three and a half hour workshops. It's fascinating our bodies. I read whatever I can get my hands on, but just as with the above, the knowledge from books is half knowledge. I learnt lots and it was fun and he is a delightful person. Thoroughly enjoyed myself and found many ways to incorporate his teachings in the morning asana sessions. Yoga asana: I wasn't sure how my body, with so many past injuries mostly from many years of riding neurotic racehorses and then more recently my wrist would handle daily Ashtanga Vinyasa but it did pretty well, which has not been the case in the past and I began to really enjoy myself. Maybe this was because my body is in better shape than before or maybe the wisdom that comes with age didn't allow my ego to take over this time out but definitely it was also because the teachers, all of them, armed us with knowledge. I learnt in the first few days how to protect myself from injury and this was to a large part because of Heather. I felt immediately that I could trust her judgment and it was obvious that our safety was important. She was quick to pounce on our weaknesses and constantly be at us to improve bad habits, which was exactly what I was looking for and I appreciated it. I learnt tons in our sessions together asana or otherwise and am grateful for that. The adjustment sessions were amazing. I had no idea that one could learn so much from just adjusting another. On the whole, the entire program was excellent. Quite frankly, I don't know how Heather does it. I think I speak for us all when I voice my admiration for the way she managed everything. I enjoyed the different teacher format. In fact, this was one of the attractions for me when I read up on the course initially. It was lovely meeting all these inspiring and intelligent people. I loved our talking circles and the yoga quotes we read daily. Small but wonderful touches. I think these had a huge impact on everyone and got us all much closer to each other. Tomorrow I am going away for the long Easter weekend to meet my parents. My favorite one from your quotes comes to mind: "If you think you are enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents Ram Dass." That one made me smile for a long while.
My life has changed drastically since I followed the teacher training. You really inspired me to follow the yogic path and to be honest and true to myself and the world around me. I am changing from a copy-paste teacher into a yoga teacher that dares to teach from the heart, honest, just like you.
Mahalaya Retreats Nepal website
Truly amazing. A life-changing experience with wonderful new friends. It was as much as I expected and more. We were looked after from the minute we met and nothing was overlooked. The accommodation at Neydo was fantastic - so much better than I expected. Loved the talking stick and the Mouna. The food was good, I loved the yoga shala in the monastery, and just the experience to be in the monastery was so amazing and perfect for the teacher training course. It gave me some much needed time out from reality with no distractions. I loved it!
Mahalaya Retreats Nepal website
This was a ground breaking experience for me that I will always remember. It was a full immersion; classes went from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. six days a week and were often followed with movies or discussions after dinner. We covered pranayama, meditation, asana, yoga philosophy, anatomy and physiology, Buddhism, and so much more. Neydo Monastery is an inspiring and safe environment that enabled me to be fully present and surrender to my journey. I learned so much because our teachers were openhearted, truly cared, and tremendously knowledgeable, lived what they taught and gave so much. Although at times I felt tired, my muscles ached, I was emotionally drained and had no dark chocolate, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I endeavor to take these experiences and teachings forward to progress on my spiritual path, to be vitalized and to share this with others. I found the course challenging and it really opened my mind to new perspectives. I believe I discovered an internal awakening. Needless to say I always felt supported throughout this course.
Mahalaya Retreats Nepal website
I had not really considered the importance of doing a yoga teacher training that is non-dogmatic before I applied, but having completed this training I see that having the opportunity to absorb history and information about the many paths of yoga without the inference that there is a wrong or right one to choose, or that one is better than the other, is fundamental to the process of self-exploration that true yoga offers. The setting is beautiful. The teachers are deeply knowledgeable and so wonderfully willing to share their passion for the subject and their decades of experience. My own practice transformed as a result of the experience, as a hard-core Ashtangi who often pushed my body beyond its limits, I am now softer and more compassionate towards myself and as a result towards others. Some of the other students who came with soft gentle practices have discovered strength and endurance they didn't know was inside them. I have emerged from this experience with a deeper understanding of yoga, myself, others, and some friends I will treasure for many years to come.
Josta Van der Kolk
Mahalaya Retreats Nepal website
The teacher training with Heather Elton and Emil Wendell surpassed my expectations. And I tend to expect a lot. The quality of all the classes and teachers was of a very high standard and I just kept learning during each and every class for four weeks day in and day out. Heather has created a beautiful and well-structured program for a full yoga experience and I feel well equipped for the job of being a teacher now. For me personally it was an amazing journey. The meditation, pranayama and philosophy in the mornings with Emil were beautiful and I can still hear his words. The asana practice in the mornings was filled with joy and strength. And then we still had the anatomy classes with Chris Kummer, the adjustments, satsang with John Weddepohl, kirtan with Rachel and John. The experiences never ended and it was wonderful to share it in the group that we were in. Thank you Heather for creating this platform and bringing all these wonderful teachers and yogis together.
Mahalaya Retreats Nepal website
I stumbled, in my dizzying yoga teacher training research last November, upon a website unlike any of the others I'd seen so far. Many other websites which advertise credited trainings in India are, in my opinion, laced with fluffy images and descriptions that left me feeling less than satisfied with an ultimate choice. Her website really latched onto me, and I found myself revisiting the detailed description of the training, over and over again. Heather's strong, defined, and masterful practice is the groundwork needed in something as intimate and personal as a teacher training. While some would find her nature of honesty and directness to be harsh, I found it to be sincere and appropriate. As a yoga teacher she holds the space with integrity, leaving behind what we California yogis know as the mindless-banter-purple-light-seeking-yada-yada that comforts without fostering growth. Her unwavering guidance helped us to shed the layers into the raw and honest beings we came to see within ourselves. Her conviction to living yogically is honorable, and took my practice to the next level both on and off the mat. To me she was the teacher I had paid to be trained under, and that I had intended to find in the first place. Emil, the teaching counterpart to Heather, brings us into light with a fluid and delicate meditation and pranayama practice each day. He lays the ground work for the shift in your own awareness. A vessel of knowledge in theory, history, and psychology. He shines a light onto realms of living, understanding, breathing, and being a true yogi. Gentile in soul and speech, he is delicate with his words, yet convicted in his teachings. A truly special man of this time.
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