Yoginis, Devis & Yakshis: Spring Pilgrimage to Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal and a special Forest Sanctuary in the lap of the Himalayas

Laura Amazzone
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Mar 24 - Apr 4, 2017
Group size: 6-8
Yoginis, Devis & Yakshis: Spring Pilgrimage to Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal and a special Forest Sanctuary in the lap of the Himalayas

Laura Amazzone
  • Mobile phone veirified

Deposit: $500
Mar 24 - Apr 4, 2017
Group size: 6-8

About this trip

Join Laura Amazzone on a spiritual pilgrimage unlike any other.

Enter the heart of a sacred mandala of Yoginis, Devis (Goddesses), and Yakshis (tree and forest spirits) in Nepal! Experience their Shakti in their millennia old shrines and sacred natural places in the earth. Learn and practice a daily sadhana (practice) to several Goddesses from the Shakta Tantra & Shri Vidya lineage. Chant Maa's many names at Her temples and holy places. Relax into a daily yoga practice to help integrate and fully embody all the Shakti!

On this journey you will be guided to ancient Mata (Goddess/Mother) sites off the beaten path, many not found in guide books, nor visited by most foreigners. We will be there during the spring Durga Puja, one of the few times when the Living Goddess, the Kumari comes out of Her temple and gives darshan as She is carried through the streets on Her palanquin. 

We will also travel to a sacred forest sanctuary in the Himalayan foothills and spend three days doing sadhana (practice and meditation) in Nature. 

For the first time in my pilgrimages to Nepal, I have invited a very special Yoga instructor, Lindsay Isola to join us and teach 30 minutes of asana every morning while we are in Kathmandu. While in the Himalayan foothills yoga classes will be 60-90 minutes. This is not a yoga retreat and yoga will be taught to all levels. We are turning to Yoga asana as part of our sadhana (practice) and to support us in integrating all the Shakti! For more about Lindsay: http://www.stateofheart.org

(Please see more about Lindsay in my profile on this site)

Fully immerse yourself in a living culture where Goddess is alive and has been worshiped and loved for thousands of years! Experience Her transformative and empowering Shakti within and around you. 

What’s included

* Daily breakfast 
* Entrance fees to Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and all other locations in the itinerary 
* Entrance and guided tours of sacred temples, shrines and cities by Laura and a local university educated guide 
* Tips to guide and driver 
* All ground transportation within the itinerary, including airport transport 
* Daily Devi Sadhana 
* Special worship and forest sadhana to Goddess Matangi 
* Yoga asana practice with Lindsay 
* Intimate guidance and expertise on the Tantric sadhana & puja experience  
* Visit to the Kumari, Living Goddess of Kathamandu, 
* Opening and Closing Ritual Ceremonies in Kathmandu 
* Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner included in Forest Sanctuary 
* Welcome and farewell dinner in Kathmandu  

Not included

* Airfare 
* Paypal fees for payment via paypal.  
* Lunch and dinner, snacks, soda, & alcoholic beverages in Kathmandu
* Extra water outside of the purified mineral water offered for free at the hotel in Kathmandu
* All incidentals at hotel 
* Extra money for temple offerings for Prasad fruit, candles, etc. and offerings to the priests and priestesses--$2 a day is plenty and you are welcome to be more or less generous!) 
* Offerings for any healers, shamans we may visit  

Before You Go

Things to do and consider before you leave home as well as once we are in Nepal

* Visas: You must have a Visa to enter Nepal. Fortunately, a multiple entry 15-day Visa is $25 and can be purchased in the airport upon landing in Nepal, or apply at: http://www.nepalembassyusa.org/tourist-visa/
* Flights: Please keep in mind you will need to leave one to two days BEFORE you plan to arrive in Nepal due to the time difference.
* Notify your bank that you’ll be traveling so they don’t freeze your account. 

*  Look into getting Travel insurance. 
*  Print out 4 passport size pictures of yourself. (Although you can purchase extras in Kathmandu.) You will need them throughout the trip: when you arrive at the airport to get a visa, to get a SIM card for your cell phone (optional), for a trekking permit (if you plan to trek), for permits to visit certain temples and places (Laura will need photos from you for permits to various sites) and so many things. They are readily available in Nepal, but depending on if there is electricity, it is not always possible to have them taken when we need them. •
* Please also have an extra copy of your passport and keep it separate from your passport. 
* Health and Safety: Nepal does not require any vaccinations, and as we are not venturing deep into the Nepalese wilderness, vaccines are not necessary. Theft is not a huge issue in the country, though it is recommended not to bring any significant items of value. More information can be found here: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/nepal/health.

What to Bring: 
* Mosquito repellant You can find chemical mosquito repellant products (sprays, coils, etc.) in most mini-marts. However, you may want to bring any essential oils or natural repellants if you wish to avoid the chemicals. However, mosquitoes are not always an issue. 
* It is best to be prepared! Hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes. You will need it. There is seldom a sink with soap in public bathrooms. 
* Books to donate (optional) Nepal is book poor so whatever you bring will be appreciated. Use the free space on your return trip for souvenirs. For example, Dr. Seuss books are great, or small paperbacks so many children can each have a book. 
* Memory Stick/USB memory card/ Flashdrive (optional) Bring a good memory stick and memory card and bring an extra one. Do not plan to buy such items in Nepal. First, they are not at a bargain price, and second, there are many quality control issues with them, such as counterfeits. 
* Ear Plugs You will probably only need them for the few days of hypersensitivity as part of the jet lag effect. People in Asia tend to be quite a bit noisier in the mornings, from 5:30 onward, and the dogs can annoy you all night on occasion. 
* Zip-lock bags of varying sizes (taken out of the box to save packing space!): You will use them for many things, tooth brush storage, snacks for temple kids, etc. One idea is to get raisins, cashews and almonds and put them in the bags and offer to children at temples. This is one way to feed the poor without supporting the begging industry. Please do not give money to beggars. 
* Bring no more money than you need for your visa in cash and a bit for a few days of getting settled. There are ATM machines throughout Kathmandu, so only bring enough for the tourist visa and a little emergency money that you should be able to take back home with you. If you want to convert it after you arrive you will have to pay a commission. Weigh your sense of security if you need to, but too much cash will just be something else to worry about. Any time you use any kind of currency that isn’t Nepali you will pay more, so try not to spend them, but be sure you bring some small money, like 20 $1’s and $5 bills to bring it up to $50 in case you want to exchange smaller amounts. You may want to wear a money belt and also keep cash in your wallet.
* Extra Credit Cards Rupees come out of the ATM machines without any extra conversion charges. Just bring an extra credit/debit card, preferably one that has lots of different icons on the back. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. It is more difficult to find places that accept Amex. 
* Scarf. Bring a scarf from home or buy one in Kathmandu. They are great for using as a blanket on the plane, a bag to carry things, towel, and so many more things. Air pollution in Nepal is a major issue and I recommend you have a bandana to cover your mouth and nose, especially if we are stuck or out in heavy areas of traffic. You can also purchase a special mask here: http://www.icanbreathe.com/ 
* Water bottle You can buy water in plastic bottles in Nepal, but please bring your own bottle that can be refilled at the hotel. Water is available for purchase in plastic bottles at the supermarkets in Thamel and elsewhere. To help with the horrible pollution problem in Nepal, please consider bringing your own bottle rather than purchasing water and creating more waste.
* Organic tampons and pads. You cannot find organic menstrual products in Nepal. If you use Glad Rags or a cup, I do not recommend you bring those because there are not sinks in public bathrooms. It is better to bring disposal menstrual products. In Kathmandu they do carry brands like Always, etc. but these have a lot of chemicals and bleach and are toxic so I do not recommend them. 
* Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, toilet paper, wet-wipes, contact lens cleaner.  These are all available in Nepal but it is difficult to find organic products. I recommend you bring your own toiletries and if necessary, you can always buy something you lose or run out of while in Nepal. 
*  Wellness: headache, band aids, intestines 
 for example, charcoal tablets for digestive bacterial problems. They can be difficult to find here. 
* Vitamins and Supplements Please bring enough of the daily vitamins and supplements (and medicines) you take daily 
* Other items you may want: Sunscreen Lipbalm with sunscreen 
* Probiotics I recommend Bio K as it does not need to be refrigerated. 
* Electrolyte power 
* Moleskin for blisters

We are going to Nepal during one of the most beautiful and climate-friendly times of year! Average temperatures are between 65-85 degrees F – so expect warm, sunny days, and cooler evenings. 
* Pants, long skirts and dresses. You may want to make sure your pants do not drag as the ground is very dirty .
* Please make sure your shoulders are covered. 
* Shoes that can be easily slipped on and off 
* Flip flops 
* Hiking boots or tennis shoes to walk in the forest.
* lightweight pants to hike/take forest walks
* Small day pack 
* Sarong and yoga mat for our morning practice (hemp yoga mats are available at the hotel in Kathmandu but can be slippery)
* Light jacket 
* Sunglasses 

*An orientation and cultural considerations document will be sent to you once you have sent your deposit. 

*An Itinerary will be sent once you have sent your full payment

Available Packages

Shared Room - Early Bird Price

Shared accommodation in one of the finest eco-friendly boutique hotels in Kathmandu that provides authentic Nepalese architecture, decor, organic food and hospitality as well as in a forest eco resort in the Nepalese countryside

Please note the $500 deposit is nonrefundable.

Available until Jan 306 left
Deposit: $500
Shared Room - Regular Price

Stay in shared accommodation at two eco resorts-- in Kathmandu and in the Nepalese countryside and forest! Organic meals at both places.

Please note the $500 deposit is nonrefundable.

Available until Mar 018 left
Deposit: $500
Single Room - Early Bird Price

Single room in one of the finest eco-friendly boutique hotels in Kathmandu that provides authentic Nepalese architecture, decor, organic food and hospitality & at a eco boutique resort in the forest and countryside.

Please note the $500 deposit is nonrefundable

Available until Jan 305 left
Deposit: $500
Single Room - Regular Price

Stay at two eco resorts in Kathmandu and in the Nepalese countryside and forest! Organic meals at both places.

Please note there is a limited number of single rooms in the forest sanctuary and rooms will be offered on a first come, first serve basis. We will adjust the pilgrimage fees for the 3 nights of this part of the trip if we do not have a single room for you when you sign up.

Also the $500 deposit is non-refundable

Available until Mar 016 left
Deposit: $500
Deposit: $500

Shared Room - Early Bird Price
Past Trip

Who’s Going

Your Organizer

Laura Amazzone
Laura Amazzone, M.A. is a teacher, writer, intuitive healer, yogini and initiated priestess in the Shakta Tantra and Sri Vidya tradition of India and Nepal. She has been traveling to and studying the Goddess-centered history, culture, rituals and practices of South Asia since 1998. She is the author of the award-winning book, “Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power.” She has published numerous articles within the fields of Hinduism, Tantra and Women’s Spirituality. Laura teaches in the Yoga Philosophy program at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is also a columnist for the online Sutra Journal: a curated journal on art, spirituality, culture and dharma. Laura offers a diverse array of Goddess-centered teachings, rituals, spiritual practices, pilgrimages and retreats that promote spiritual empowerment and divine embodiment. Lauraamazzone.com About Guest Yoga Instructor Lindsay Isola: Lindsay Isola has over 12 years of practice and 700 hours of training with Annie Carpenter, Stephanie Snyder and Katchie Ananda. Her classes create a space for students to explore movement, transition, and deep self inquiry. Students are invited to develop a connection with their body, breath and heart, guiding them toward peace, ease and a greater sense of Self. The forest has always been a refuge and seat for healing. Within nature, Lindsay has been able to cultivate and develop a deep relationship with herself and all that surrounds her. Lindsay will guide us through asana practice that will allow us to embody the Goddess and Nature, Herself. She is excited to integrate Laura's rich and transformative teachings and knowledge, into asana practices that support, nurture and ignite us as we move through this very special and beautiful journey. www.stateofheart.org PRAISES from previous pilgrimages~ ​ Having married the excitement of a cultural retreat to the transformational capacity of a spiritual pilgrimage, Laura has crafted an adventure that is as much of an inward journey as it is a sensory and intellectual thrill. A well-balanced and highly accessible immersion in the teachings and practices of Hindu and Buddhist goddess worship, this trip is for the intellectual and the long-term devotee, the young and the mature. I highly recommend this pilgrimage for those looking to learn new aspects of themselves, deepen their relationships with their practices, be introduced to world renowned healers, and contextualize things they've heard or seen about Nepalese culture. Expect to make new best friends, eat tons of delicious food, and take stunning photographs along the way! I will certainly be back for more. ~Y.E. ​ I am in such deep gratitude to Laura Amazzone for her spiritual knowledge and devotion, both of which are truly amazing and were visibly seen and felt on this journey. Our days began with relaxing and centering breathing exercises and devotional chanting which carried through to the many sites of devotion we visited in and around the Kathmandu Valley, where we were the only “tourists” at many. Laura’s knowledge of the Valley and its many sites of the goddess is phenomenal. She is an amazing teacher, scholar, clairvoyant and leader and kept us on track with a sense of wonder and joy through and through. Her energy is contagious and Shakti-full! Since I’ve been home people have commented on my radiance in photos and in person. While I own a portion of this radiance, I truly believe much of it is due to the spiritual depths of this trip and Laura’s daily support and guidance. Jai Maa ~C.L. Traveling to Nepal with Shakta Yogini priestess Laura Amazzone is the real deal. It is a true journey into the world of origin both inside of one's own heart & mind & in the heart of the Kathmandu Valley, source & home of many now nearly forgotten female goddesses. Laura's work is deep, precise, scholarly, fierce & will, if you enter it earnestly, guide you into levels of energy & awakening that simply are not parlor games nor dalliances. The trip was smoothly orchestrated & supportive. You will be safe, cared for & guided as you embark on this demanding beautiful journey into the wild & complex lands of Nepal & Shakta Tantra. Laura Amazzone will lead you to places in the Valley that few even know exist & so it is within one's own psyche. It is a privileged path to take--one of deep beauty, color, invigoration, rigor, honor & sacred respect for the feminine divine in all humans-- it is a path of unification with that which is nearly lost within us & without. If you are reading this, you are blessed to be considering this pilgrimage. Truly, it is my joy to know & work with & call Laura friend & sister Dakini. ~H.M. The adventure to Nepal with Laura was a very special life experience that ignited my fire and love for the goddess, my practice and my understanding of goddess worship, all whilst enjoying the company of other wonderful women, witnessing the beauty of the goddess in all her forms. Laura started the day with a lovely sadhana, which aligned body and spirit for the day ahead. The pilgrimage days were varied from meandering the myriad of mysterious goddess temples that enchant as much as bewilder to chasing a living goddess down the city streets of Kathmandu, and receiving shamanic insights from one of the 13 ancient grandmothers, singing with friends new and old and finishing off the day with a massage or a meander around the night markets where Tibetan bowls, rugs and ancient wares are sure to tempt. It was a treat for the senses and I will definitely return to this ancient magical city again soon. I recommend this adventure to anyone who desires to deepen their understanding and relationship with the goddess. The way the Nepalese culture mix the sacred and profane in a bizarre and yet beauteous dance enables the mind to expand in a myriad of ways, which in essence is what true spiritual awakening is all about. There is no better guide than the great goddess & devotee Laura Amazzone who gently and wisely guides one through this deep inner and outer pilgrimage to realms known and unknown, supporting the ultimate quest to expand ones own inner heart. Thank you Thank you, I am so grateful!" ~I.M. I signed up for this trip not really knowing what I was getting myself into, but with a feeling that this was something I really needed to do. Laura was so lovely and emailed with me back and forth about ALL my questions and concerns, goddess or life related! The trip itself was an amazing, intense, surreal experience. I arrived in Kathmandu knowing only what I had read about in Laura's book, and I left with an understanding and love for theses goddesses, people, and culture. And I felt truly protected and safe the whole time. Laura and her assistant, Catherine made sure of that. This trip changed my life. I would encourage anyone who had the chance to travel and learn from Laura to do it as often as possible. JAI MAA! ~M.M