Spiritual Healing: Yoga Philosophy Retreat near the Finger Lakes, NY

Finger Lakes, NY

Sara Syed
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19 reviews
May 5 - 7, 2023
Group size: 10 - 30
Spiritual Healing: Yoga Philosophy Retreat near the Finger Lakes, NY
Finger Lakes, NY

Sara Syed
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
  • LinkedIn verified
  • Twitter verified
19 reviews

May 5 - 7, 2023
Group size: 10 - 30

About this trip

Join us for an immersive experience that combines the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita with the practice of asana yoga. Participants will delve into the ancient wisdom of the Gita and explore how it relates to their everyday lives through daily yoga practice, guided meditations, and group discussions. The asanas will be used as a tool to quiet the mind, and bring awareness to the body, allowing the wisdom of the Gita to be fully absorbed. 

This retreat is suitable for all levels, whether you're a beginner or an experienced practitioner, and will leave you with a renewed sense of purpose and clarity. This retreat is ideal for anyone looking to deepen their spiritual practice, find inner peace, and gain a better understanding of the Gita.

Lessons on the Bhagavad Gita, chanting, prayers and more will be lead by monks living at the ashram.


Day 1 (Friday, May 5th) 

Check in 2:00pm -5:00pm

6:00pm - 7:00pm: Evening Prayers

7:00pm - 8:00pm: Dinner

8:00pm - 9:30pm: Satsang & Kirtan 

Day 2 (Saturday, May 6th) 

7:00am - 8:00am: Morning Prayers

8:00am - 9:00am: Breakfast

9:00 -10:00pm: Asana Practice

10:00 - 12:30pm: Bhagavad Gita Lecture 

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Lunch 

3:00pm - 5:00pm: Watkins Glenn Hike

6:00pm - 7:00pm: Evening Prayers 

8:00pm - 9:00pm: Dinner

8:00pm - 9:30pm: Satsang & Kirtan 

Day 3 (Sunday, May 7th)

7:00am - 8:00am: Morning Prayers

8:00am - 9:00am: Breakfast

9:00 -10:00pm: Asana Practice

10:00 - 12:30pm: Bhagavad Gita Lecture 

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Lunch 

2:00pm - 3:00pm: OM Chanting 

3:00pm - 5:00pm: Check Out


A Spiritual Home In the Heart of the Finger Lakes

LOCATION: Paranitya Narasimha Ashram 

ADDRESS: 304 Demarest Parkway, Elmira, NY, USA 

Nestled in the quiet town of West Elmira, New York, the Elmira Ashram and Temple is a spiritual hub for seekers across America. The ashram is home to monastics and community members living a life in service to the Divine. Offering daily prayers, lively spiritual discussion, dynamic devotional music, and space to learn or deepen the spiritual aspects of your yoga and meditation practice, the ashram is an oasis of spiritual nourishment amidst the landscape of our often busy lives. Come for a day, or for an extended seva stay. The space is open to group retreats, as well as individuals who would like to come experience ashram life, and deepen their spiritual practice & relationship with the Divine.

Questions for the center in regards to directions and other center-related questions:

Deepen Your Spiritual Practice

Dive deep into the ancient practice of Atma Kriya Yoga and partake in group OM Chanting. Guided meditations available to those looking to go deeper into their spiritual practices.

Daily Ceremony

Immerse yourself in the Love of the Divine with lively morning and evening prayers. The monks perform beautiful Vedic rituals, and lively group Kirtan daily. 

Practice with the guidance from devoted monks.

Explore Nature

Take time to explore the beautiful finger lakes region of upstate New York. Waterfalls, hiking, and swimming holes are abundant in the surrounding areas. Guided nature hike to Watkins Glen will be provided.


Experience what it feels like to be a part of an ashram where you can connect deeper to the Divine and find clarity and purpose in your life.  

Rooms are designed for a cozy and comfortable stay. Meet other spiritual seekers and find friends that feel like family.

  • Shared Bathroom
  • Comfortable beds, all linens provided
  • 3 plant based meals each day included in room price

Getting Here

Find a Direct Flight 

The nearest airport to the ashram is the Elmira Corning Regional Airport. As flights direct to this airport can be expensive, we recommend looking for a flight first to an airport with a direct flight to Elmira, and then take a direct flight from these airports to Elmira. 

You can find direct flights from: 

  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Orlando (SFB)
  • Punta Gorda (PGD) 
  • Tampa (PIE) 

Nearest Airports 
  • Elmira Corning Regional (ELM) – 15 minute drive 
  • Ithaca Tompkins International(ITH) – 45 minute drive 
  • Syracuse Hancock International (SYR) – 1 hr 45 min. drive 
  • Greater Rochester International (ROC) – 2 hour drive 
  • Newark Liberty International (EWR) – 3.5 hour drive 

From CLE 
  •  About 4.5 hour drive mostly along I-90E

From NYC 
  • Drive: 4.5 (depending on traffic) 
  • Bus: There are affordable buses from NYC using OurBus. ($50, 5.5 hours)  https://www.ourbus.com
  • Flight from Ithaca: You can find a direct flight from NYC to the Ithaca Tompkins airport 

About Yoga Asana Teacher, Sara Syed

  • 1000+ Hour Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, Since 2014
  • Completed six, 10-day silent meditation retreats (including service) 
  • Owner, Lakewood Yoga - Yoga Studio, Lakewood, Ohio, 2022
  • 300 Hour Registered Yoga School Lead Instructor, 2022 
  • 200 Hour Registered Yoga School Lead Instructor, 2018
  • Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider - YACEP, 2018
  • Owner, The Studio Cleveland - Yoga Studio & Wellness Center, Cleveland, Ohio, 2018 
  • Attended first 10-day silent meditation retreat in the Buddhist lineage (Vipassana), 2017
  • 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Graduate - Yoga Darshanam, Mysore, India, 2016
  • Master's of Science in Education; Curriculum & Instruction - The University of Akron, 2016
  • 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Graduate - Costa Rica, 2014 
  • Bachelor's of Science in Psychology - John Carroll University, 2013

Sara started her yoga practice during high school in 2008, while struggling with drug & alcohol addiction, anxiety, eating-disorders, childhood trauma and depression. 

After a few years of consistent meditation and yoga, Sara discovered a glimpse of healing while meditating on her chakras and practicing yoga.  This glimpse of healing inspired Sara to pursue her yogic endeavors whole-heartedly.  Sara knew she was healing when she found herself crying in savasana after every yoga class; finally able to process repressed emotions left unacknowledged for so long.   

Sara learned how to use crystals and studied the chakras intensively on her own (she had no chakra teachers as this was not mainstream information yet). Through her study of the chakras, Sara learned how to access the root cause of her addiction, mental disorders and overall mental chaos and suffering.   

Sara discovered that her addiction was simply a symptom for an inability to cope, process and handle hard emotions.  Sara realized she had not allowed herself to feel up until this point in her life.   

She truly experienced an ego death; what she thought was her truth and her life crumbled before her eyes. She used imagery of the transformative process of the life cycle of a butterfly to give her strength--she knew she was evolving from her centipede self to a beautiful butterfly, but at this time, she felt very much like she was in a dark and scary cocoon of the unknown.  

Sara realized that yoga helped silence her problematic ego. She used yoga as a means to clear out the baggage she had been carrying around for her entire life. She emptied herself and her vessel to carry out the higher power's will instead of her own.  Sara realized that not being able to do certain poses in yoga was humbling.  She learned about ethical living, making amends with her past and the people she had hurt (including herself). She learned to live authentically and with integrity.   

It was a long, arduous and deep inner journey.  

This path eventually led Sara to attend her first yoga teacher training in Cahuita, Costa Rica, in 2014.  She shared yoga freely (without charge) for a solid year after yoga teacher training to the students and staff at The University of Akron. This helped her immensely as a new teacher so she could have students to practice her newfound skill of teaching what she had learned. Sara believed in giving back what yoga gave to her.  Since then, Sara has spent thousands of hours teaching yoga and meditation at elementary schools, high schools, universities, fitness centers, local festivals, and at yoga studios. Her most meaningful experience has been teaching under-served populations such as in inner city schools in Akron and in Cleveland, at juvenile detention centers, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and at mental health facilities.   

Professionally, Sara worked as a mental health case worker for two different organizations.  She saw that yoga would be a viable solution to help the clients, but these organizations were not yet open to offering holistically-oriented solutions so Sara instead pursued teaching High School English.  Sara found that the high school students suffered from mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. The public schools at the time were more concerned with the common core and standardized testing than with helping the students develop real-life personal development skills, so she left the public sector to study yoga more in-depth.    

Sara knew self-study was an important factor in being able to help and serve others, and she knew she had a lot more she needed to learn still, despite her already adventurous travels and studies throughout Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Sara had spent all of her free time volunteering with children in these countries, teaching English, volunteering with animal rehabilitation sanctuaries, and of course, teaching yoga to locals and other travelers. in 2016, Sara left for a three-month solo journey to India where she completed an advanced 300-hour yoga teaching training program at Yogadarshanam Ashtanga/Hatha yoga school in Mysore, India. Sara also studied at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute under Saraswathi Jois for half of a month. She spent the rest of her time in India studying the culture and practicing to surrender to the divine.   

In 2017, Sara's spiritual development took a whole new route; she started practicing Vipassana meditation in the lineage of the Buddha as taught by S.N Goenka. These courses require its students to practice silent meditation from 4:30am - 9pm, with few breaks throughout the day. This is a completely silent course with the last meal being at 11:00am. Sara lived like a partial monk at these retreats. Since, she has completed three 10-day courses, one 8-day Satipatthana Suta course, and she has selflessly served for two 10-day course, spending a total of almost 60 days of her life in complete silence, introspection and meditation (in this practice alone).   

Sara purchased The Studio Cleveland, a wellness center located in the heart of Downtown Cleveland, in September, 2018.  Sara's goal was to extend The Studio Cleveland's existing reach so that more people could benefit from its spiritual and healing offerings. Sara strives to make The Studio Cleveland an inclusive and authentic resource for any human seeking inner peace.  

Sara started hosting 200 hour yoga and meditation teacher trainings in April 2019. Since then, her trainings continue to grow and evolve with each cohort. She now offers a 50 meditation intensive and teacher training continuing education program as well as various other workshops & events throughout the year. Sara has a special place in her heart for traveling so she honors that by hosting regular, semi-annual wellness retreats both locally and internationally.   

Since 2022, Sara has been approved to also host 300 hour yoga and meditation teacher trainings via the Yoga Alliance, and purchased her second yoga studio called Lakewood Yoga.

Sara has also grown and developed an accessible, donation-based yoga for every BODY beach yoga offering throughout the summer months in Cleveland, Ohio, where thousands of students receive donation-based teachings outside in nature in the most beautiful parks throughout Cleveland, where Sara lives.

On her free time, Sara enjoys spending time in nature with her husband, traveling, and being at home with her cat.

Read more here:















What’s included

  • All Vegetarian Meals
  • Daily Classes
  • 20 CEUS
    RYTS can request 20 CEUS for attending this retreat
  • Comfortable Beds
    All linens provided
  • Yoga Props
    Please bring your own yoga mats and yoga props
  • Journal
    Not required, but encouraged
  • Hiking Boots and Gear
    Please bring any equiptment you may need for hiking at Watkins Glen


Day One

Day 1 (Friday, May 5th) 

Check in 2:00pm -5:00pm

6:00pm - 7:00pm: Evening Prayers

7:00pm - 8:00pm: Dinner

8:00pm - 9:30pm: Satsang & Kritan 

Your Organizer

Sara Syed
19 reviews
Sara has been studying and practicing yoga since 2008, and completed dedicated her life to the spiritual path around 2012. Sara is a 500+ E-RYT instructor and Yoga School - an RYS200 & RYS300 accredited school through Yoga Alliance. Sara also holds her M.S in Education, B.S. in Psychology, and attends 10-day silent meditation retreats annually to continue her personal development. Sara has had over 500 students attend her trainings and retreats since 2019. She believes in honoring ancient wisdom to improve our modern living.


The 200 YTT is amazing! Strong emphasis on the roots of yoga and how it can truly be applied in the modern, Western world. Learned the specifics of asanas, including how to practice safely, contraindications, and which poses are best for which demographics. There was also training on specialized areas of yoga (i.e. prenatal and trauma) and what to expect if wanting to open your own studio. Would absolutely recommend to anyone looking to become a yoga teacher or just to deepen their practice.
By Kelly M for 200 Hour Yoga and Meditation Teacher Training in Cleveland, OH on 06 Mar, 2023
This retreat was really exactly what I needed. Just a quiet weekend away in nature. We had the option of turning in our phones at the beginning, to really discipline ourselves to be away from screen time, which I took advantage of so as to not give in to temptation. The food was amaaaaaaazing at Hope Springs, the accommodations were cozy (I love an old farmhouse), and the meditation and yoga sessions with Sara are always a blessing to take part in.
By Sydney D for Healing Silent Meditation & Yoga Nature Retreat - Winter 2023 on 03 Mar, 2023
I had an amazing time at this 200 hour YTT! Sara and Shannon are both amazing teachers and will inspire you to get the best out of yourself! In addition to this, the location is just incredible surrounded my nature and wildlife!! Also all the meals were home cooked and amazing as well!
By Nicholas C for 200hr Yoga and Meditation Teacher Training April 23-May 7, 2022 on 21 Feb, 2023
My friend and I attended this trip together and if we could give 10 stars, we would :) Sara is amazing, not only as a person but also as a yoga instructor. She is very impressive. She led us through beautiful meditations and amazing yoga classes throughout the weekend. The yoga really was attainable for everybody too which was great! By the end you truly felt stretched, calm and open by the end of it. She gave us a travel size aromatherapy lotion and a crystal at the end which was so kind! Lastly, this retreat location is outstanding. The grounds have an amazing energy. The housing, let alone the beauty there. It has over a hundred acres of lushness. The accommodations are awesome as you have a few options to chose from! Not to mention the FOOD, oh my goodness the food! It was vegan, and delicious. The cook Blake really outdid herself. Will definitely come back!
By Emily A for Healing Silent Meditation & Yoga Nature Retreat - Winter 2023 on 24 Jan, 2023
This trip was everything i needed and more. Without getting too deep, 2022 was not one of my favorite years and i was super nervous for a silent retreat, for what may come up during my time there…but the space was so healing, the food was incredibly delicious (like seriously, so good), and Sara is just simply a gift to us all. Hope Springs was perfect as well…the rooms were comfortable, the bathrooms were clean…everything was perfect. I highly recommend this retreat to anyone, especially if you’re healing from something…or just need some peace and quiet for a few days. Or a bit of both :)
By Lynnsey P for Healing Silent Meditation & Yoga Nature Retreat - Winter 2023 on 24 Jan, 2023
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