Image result for tigers nest

21st October – 2nd November 2020

Join us to explore the enchantingly beautiful destination of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the sacred land of the thunder dragon, the perfect destination for an inspirational and life enriching experience.

High in the Himalayan mountains between India and Tibet, Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures its progress by Gross National Happiness.  It’s hard not to be joyful in Bhutan, the kindness of it’s people, the breathtaking infinite expanse of green forests, sprawling hillsides and majestic rivers all bring a huge smile to the face and invite a deep sense of exhilaration that is intoxicating.

Our 12-day Joyful Yoga and Meditation Retreat will weave together the best of the country’s spiritual charm, it’s cultural heritage and outstanding natural beauty as we journey through mystical mountains, visit sacred temples and experience a richly preserved culture.

The tour will of course include a good number of the many iconic sites, such as Tigers Nest, that a traveller to Bhutan must see.  However with our connection to Emma Slade, her contacts in Bhutan and her charity Opening Your Heart to Bhutan we will have the opportunity to dive a little deeper into the culture and way of life in this country and to also see some of the challenges that the Bhutanese people face.

We will visit the Draktsho school in Trashigang where the charity has helped fund new dining and kitchen facilities, a new classroom, physiotherapy treatments, wheelchair access and playground facilities.  Here you will be able to meet the children and see them in their learning and living environment.  We will look into assisting them in their classroom activities whilst there, perhaps organising some activities using any skills that we feel we can collectively bring.  Before our trip we will consider some fund raising for a specific need at the school.

We will also take time to connect with other initiatives that the charity supports such as the Blind Musicians training school and the Halfway Home Shelter for Children near Thimphu .

Each day on our “Joyful Retreat” you will have the option to  immerse yourself in mindful yoga and meditation sessions.  Led by two experienced teachers, different practices will be offered to meet the needs of the participants and to blend with whatever the day holds for us.  With a focus on joyfulness  our practices and time in this gentle country will also be interwoven with what the people of Bhutan offer in bucket loads – kindness.

Also be prepared for some singing, chanting and dancing and generally having a joyful time!

Image result for punakha dzong
The beautiful Punakha Dzong – click on the image for a short video of Bhutan

A Tour with a Difference

Our journey will take us from the East to the West and you can be assured of many adventures along the way.  So that we can really experience the less developed Eastern area of Bhutan 12 nights is the minimum recommended stay although a shorter 8 night stay is also an option (please ask for details).

The cost of this all-inclusive tour (excl flights) is £2,650 with approximately £650 going towards providing free education and healthcare to the citizens of Bhutan, together with business support for a local family and a contribution to the OYHTB charity.  So as well as enjoying an incredible experience in this sacred country you can make a difference by helping to alleviate poverty in a significant way.

You will also have the opportunity to give hands on practical and financial support to the young adults that the charity supports.   This is so much more than a standard tour and in addition we also plan to meet with Emma Slade’s teachers, to practice with them and to find out more about their way of life.

All in all this represents exceptional value for money for a meaningful adventure of a lifetime in this enchanting country that prides itself on its enviable sustainable model.

To book or for more information contact Lisa on email lisa.milnor@shapingclarity.com or call 07803 721135.

Joyful Tour Highlights

  • Socialise with the cheerful locals dressed in their finery to celebrate the Jakar Tshechu festival, held within the Jakar Dzong, and witness religious mask dances
  • Watch the rare and protected black necked cranes in Gangtey (Phobjikha Valley)
  • Hike up to one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Bhutan – Tiger’s Nest
  • Share stories and songs around the campfire whilst staying in the outdoors in luxury tents
  • Mindfully enjoy nature walks in amazing landscapes and breathtaking scenery
  • Visit the vocational school for less-abled young people supported by Emma Slade’s charity Opening Your Heart to Bhutan and spend time experiencing their environment and daily lives, perhaps sharing your talents with them too.
  • Be enchanted by the beautiful music of the blind musician students from the training centre in Thimphu who are also supported by the charity.
  • Meet and practice with some of Emma’s teachers (depending on their schedules at the time of the tour) 
  • Experience the generous and warmhearted hospitality of a Bhutanese family in their home
  • A variety of optional daily Mindful Yoga & Meditation sessions for all abilities to awaken our inherent kindness and joy

To book click here

108, architecture, asia

Joyful Tour Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival  in Guwahati airport India for an exhilarating drive through the Assam region to receive a warmhearted welcome to Bhutan at Samdrup Jongkhar.   In the evening we will gather for our opening and grounding yoga and meditation practice.

Day 2 – A day of driving through the spectacular and more tropical Bhutan landscape to Trashigang where we spend two nights visiting Draktsho school for less-abled youths and exploring the surrounding area.

Day 3 – Visits to important local temples and shrines rarely visited by tourists – Gomkora and Chador Llhakhang (Bartsam) and a picnic lunch in the most tranquil and enchanting setting.

Day 4 –  Today we will visit Draktsho Vocational school supported by the charity Opening Your Heart to Bhutan.  There will be options to buddy up with a student and to accompany them in their daily classroom activities and to share any talents you have with the students through workshops.  Later in the afternoon we will make our way to Mongar for an overnight stay.

Day 5 – Today we travel to Bumthang the spiritual heartland of Bhutan.  We will stop off for a short walk and some yoga to stretch the legs on this long but scenic journey as well as enjoying lunch in a traditional restaurant.

Day 6 – Enjoy the Jakar Tshechu festival and meander through the tranquil Bumthang valley to explore several famous temples.

Day 7 – Drive 4.5 hours to the Gangtey Valley stopping off for lunch along the way and to explore the impressive Trongsa Dzong.  Visit the Black Necked Crane Visitor Centre and spend time watching these rare and endangered birds.

Day 8 – Visit the Gangtey Goemba Monastery, which boasts spectacular views of the glacial Phobjikha Valley and embark on a nature trail with stunning views across the valley.  Experience lunch in a traditional farmhouse with some optional singing and dancing with the joyful lady of the house.  Replenished we will then begin our drive to Punakha ready to share stories and songs around the campfire as we embark on two nights under canvas.

Day 9 – Take a scenic hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten enjoying a picnic lunch en-route.  Explore the beautiful Punakha Dzong  that sits at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Visit Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Bhutan’s popular saint Drukpa Kuenley.

Day 10 – As we make our way towards Thimphu we’ll take in the magnificence of the snowcapped Himalayas from the top of Dochu la Pass  and take a meditative walk around the 108 stupas and the hidden meditation caves.  In Thimphu we’ll visit the National Memorial Chorten and take a gentle hike through magical forests to the huge golden seated Buddha statue and temple perched high above the city.

Day 11 – Before leaving Thimphu we will visit Draktsho school and the Halfway Home Shelter supported by Opening Your Heart to Bhutan.  Then onto the historical town of Paro to visit to the beautiful Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in Bhutan followed by time to wander around the many souvenir shops in Paro town centre for those gifts to take home.  We’ll take a cup of tea with a local Bhutanese family in their home experiencing their generous and warmhearted hospitality.

Day 12 – Hike to the iconic Paro Takstang Monastery, more commonly known as Tigers Nest and one of the most striking Buddhist temples in the world.  After an optional herbal hot stone to soothe aching muscles we’ll round off our day with a celebratory dinner accompanied by the talented students from the Blind Musician training centre with some dancing if legs allow!

Day 13 – We’ll wake up on our final day for one last cup of local tea before travelling to the airport to head home or on to your next destination…..

Each day a variety of optional daily Mindful Yoga & Meditation sessions will be offered for all abilities to awaken our inherent kindness and joy

So be prepared to be captivated……the magic of Bhutan can not be defined with words, you have to experience and feel it for yourself.  The simplicity of how the locals live and how in tune with nature they are play a big part in its beauty. The temples are charged with years and years of focused meditation and spiritual energy, creating a very real strong energy field that is palpable.  Together we will explore what this beautiful country has to offer in terms of spiritual growth, adventure and joyfulness.

To book or for more information contact Lisa on email lisa.milnor@shapingclarity.com or call 07803 721135

Image result for opening your heart to bhutan

Come ready to be curious, to be inspired, to be kind and above all to be joyful!

Joyful Tour Details 

12 nights £2,650 (subject to exchange rate at time of payment)

Paro flights to leave Bhutan will be arranged by our tour operator Book Bhutan Tour – please advise at the time of booking where you wish to fly to (destinations include Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandhu, Bangkok, Singapore, see www.drukair.com.bt)

What’s Included:

  • Twelve day exploration of Bhutan with an expert local English speaking guide
  • Private vehicle with experienced local English speaking driver
  • Government tax (Sustainable Development Fee) which is used towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure
  • A donation to the charity Opening Your Heart to Bhutan – kindly donated by our tour operator Book Bhutan Tour
  • Bhutan visa and permit management
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners with tea and coffee
  • Yoga and meditation practices, often outdoors each day as our itinerary permits – flexibility of mind as well as body is very helpful as we travel!
  • Meditation practices and Dharma talks with Emma Slade’s teachers (subject to their availability at the time of the tour)
  • Twelve nights accommodation in 3 star hotels or guest houses
  • All entry fees for the above sights and additional activities as listed on the itinerary
  • Taxes, royalties, and service charges

What’s Not Included:

  • Flights to and from Bhutan – we will coordinate these and can offer suggestions
  • Alcohol
  • Gratuities (for your Bhutanese guide and driver)
  • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, spa services, etc)
  • Travel Insurance (required)
  • Indian Visa – multiple tourist visa required which can easily be obtained online
  • Vaccination costs
  • Single room supplement £150

Bhutan Joyful Retreat Features:

12 day fully escorted tour

Learn: from our highly experienced local guide and private driver

Connect: with yourself, the locals and with nature

Make a difference: to the less-abled and local Bhutanese people

Rest in beauty: magical mountains, luscious landscapes

Deepen your practice: daily yoga and meditation sessions

Ascend: hike up to historic temples

Explore: cities, towns and villages, temples, fortresses and farmhouses

Celebrate: Join the local community in a world-renowned cultural festival

Experience: a culture of joy, kindness and beauty!

Image result for bhutan
Bhutan’s National Flag – click on the image for a short video of Bhutan
  • “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” 

    Anthony Bourdain

    To book click here