South India Pilgrimage
Tiruvannamalai ~ Kerala ~Auroville
December 17 - February 4, 2020
In November 2019 commit to yourself and your practice by joining me on a unique traveling retreat through South India. We will start on the peaceful beaches of Kerala, followed by the hidden, spiritual epicenter of Tiruvannamalai and end in the fascinating intentional community of Auroville. Daily asana, pranayama and meditation practice combined with yoga mythology and philosophy will form the thread that draws us in as we journey through these three vastly different places. There will be opportunities to swim in the ocean, surf, experience Ayurveda treatments, hike Mount Arunachala, enjoy South Indian cuisine, and visit sacred places as well as plenty of time and support for self-reflection and introspection. Through it all, we will tastefully the experiences that are presented to us and learn, in and through the body, what it means to be guided by the teachings of yoga!
Located in the unspoiled part of Varkala beach in Kerala, Oceano is an Ayurveda retreat sanctuary surrounded by lush gardens and a charming small town vibe. A ten-minute walk along the sea shore brings you to the holy Papanasam beach where you can enjoy watching the daily Pujas of Hindu devotees and yoga practitioners.
A small, holy mountain town in the state of Tamil Nadu. Tiruvannamalai is one of India's spiritual epicentres. Practitioners from all corners of spiritual practice meet here at the base of Mountain Arunachala - the Siva mountain, to retreat and pay homage at the many temples and ashrams nearby.
A fascinating look at the French colonial influence in India. This contemporary Indian city is host to wonderful restaurants, cafes, and artistic expression. The experimental township of Auroville is a living example of an intentional community working together to reach human unity.
Varkala, Kerala: Nov 4th - 11th
We will meet in Varkala for seven days, the entry point for our journey through South India. Here you will have the opportunity to swim, surf, eat delicious vegetarian Ayurvedic food, and explore the peaceful surrounding community. Rise to a cliffside yoga practice to the sound of oceanic waves and sunlight cascading down through coconut trees. Dolphins are often spotted during morning practice followed by a generous and sophisticated buffet of nourishment overlooking the endless sea. The evening dining to gorgeous sunsets and starlight is extraordinary. Daily adventures await us on a short rickshaw ride to the Varkala town, the unique and old Narasimha Temple - Man Lion Deity - is worshiped here. Lakshmi and the Goddess Kali are celebrated in Kerala and your eyes will be captured by nature with a variety of wildlife and a beautiful abundance of hibiscus, jasmine and lotus flowers. Day trips to an Elephant refuge ashram, more Temples and nearby thermal hot springs are offered to the traveler to choose from. Or enjoy the pool or beach to read a book and unwind and surrender to where the day takes you.
Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu: Nov 11th - 15th
From Varkala, we will travel together to Tiruvannamalai for four days, in the state of Tamil Nadu and home of Ramana Maharshi and Yogi Ramsuratkumar. As we hike Mount Arunachala, visit the Siva Temple and spend time at these unique ashrams, we will use the mythology and philosophy of yoga to delve deeply into the spiritual significance of this holy epicentre of India. Tiru has much to offer the traveler and to the trained yogi, there is a pulse to this sacred location that occurs and it offers a humble and respectable place to investigate how to be in temples not as a tourist but as yourself.
Auroville, Puducherry: Nov 15th - 21st
Our final destination will be Puducherry on the Arabian Sea for the last week. Here we will explore the historic French district, experience the vibrant and modern arts and theatre community. Visit and practice meditation at Matrimandir - the soul of the city - at the centre of the intentional community of Auroville. In essence, learn how a contemporary Indian city has chosen to find relevance and reverence in the ancient teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo's synthesis of yoga. We will visit the Chidambaram Nataraja temple, a day trip further south. This will be our link to the mythology story of Siva.
I hope you will join me on this pilgrimage as I share my relationship and experience with these three sacred sites with you. The group will be small to ensure quality, ease, and comfort on the journey across South India.
$2,400 – double
$2,800 – single
*Does not include transportation to and from India
This price covers the cost of all accommodation and transportation for the duration of the trip, with the exception of transportation by plane from Varkala to Chennai. It does not cover the cost of food or any additional expenses such as surf lessons or Ayurvedic treatments. For the first 7 days in Kerala, breakfast is included and there is an onsite Ayurveda chef and a full menu to choose from as well as several diverse restaurants and cafés to relax in and enjoy. In Tiruvannamalai and Pondicherry, we will experience more culinary adventures from the humble chai stalls to fine dining in the French District.
We will meet in Varkala on Sunday, November 4, 2019 and depart Auroville on Friday, November 21, 2019. Information and advice to assist with the details of booking transportation will be provided.
(click the pile to view!)