Yogi Abroad: Pilgrimages to Remember

A guest post by Eve Marsden

Let’s face it; most of us want to come back from our travels feeling renewed and invigorated – like a new person, in fact. You might be splurging in Bali, travelling the hippy route down the west coast of India to Goa or floating off into the marine sunset; but the whole point of getting away is to get away from the stress and monotony of everyday life, right?

In Search of Spiritual Renewal

If you’re healthy and fit enough then go trek the Himalayas. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips unless you are very lucky – or a tour guide! There are some spectacular places to visit around the longitudinal Dun valleys which lay between the Shivaliks (sub-Himalayas) and the Greater Himalayas. For the action yogi there are plenty of adventure sports to indulge in: trekking; river rafting; mountaineering; or para gliding; and more. Spending time in the region just seems to put life into perspective. The clean air, unspoiled terrain and the stunning scenery will leave you feeling cleansed mentally and physically, with a new enthusiasm for life.

Himachal Pradesh, in northern India, is high on the “must visit” list for thousands of people who travel to Dharamsala on a spiritual quest, where the Dalai Lama has his official residence. Every year around February or March, the Dalai Lama gives his spring teachings at the main temple in Dharamsala. These last for 15 days and are given in Tibetan, although an official translation is given into English on FM channel. Shorter teachings are also given at other times during the year, depending on the Dalai Lama’s schedule and all teachings are on a first come, first served basis, following registration. The Dalai Lama’s official website gives details of how and when to register at the Tibetan Branch Security Office. Come away with a new understanding of Buddhism and yourself. Resist temptation to enter a monastery; you don’t have to convert to get something spiritually uplifting and meaningful from your visit.

A Thoroughly Modern Yogi

Whatever our journey in life, something draws us to particular places; a need for spiritual journeying; a cleansing and renewing; perhaps simply the chance to chill in awesome surroundings that we will remember for our entire life or a need to explore the mysteries of life. You don’t have to push yourself to those lengths, or even heights, to wind down though. Heck no, there are so many different options for that vital de-stress that sets you up for another hectic rollercoaster ride through the jungle of modern life. You don’t even have to go back in time, or travel to the ends of the Earth. The yogi looking for serenity, calm and tranquility can set themselves free on a boat. Today, thousands of people every year take to the ocean for cruise holidays to destinations all around the world. Iglu Cruises offer the chance to de-stress completely, taking advantage of: exotic Bali massages; tai chi; yoga; and much, much more; all designed to restore you to your former energetic and glowing self.

Pilgrimage to the Ancients

A long way away from pilates or para gliding, another top flight yogi destination is Machu Picchu in remote Peru. Seeing the still surviving architecture of a people who died out around 500 years ago leaves you understanding just how fleeting modern life is and doubting whether anything we build today would survive to another epoch; or even whether our civilization has anything worth leaving for future generations to pilgrimage to. Achieving the dream of many and climbing those steep, endless steps up to Machu Picchu, to take in the view from what is probably the best known Incan site in the entire South American continent, means travelling to Aguas Calientes, northwest of Cusco, on the Rio Arubamba. A spine-chilling narrow hairpin road zig-zags its way up the side of the mountain to the ticket office; or you can take the original, winding stone track up the mountain: the Camino Inca; which starts at Winay Wayna – another Incan treasure, but far less talked about than Machu Picchu.

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The Wandering Yogi