Travel to India with HEART on Global Family Travels' 8-Limbs of Yoga Retreat in May of 2020!
Set your intentions, and travel with HEART on Global Family Travels' 8-Limbs of Yoga retreat to North India with a focus on a path to self-awareness and purpose.
Tour Leader, Jennifer Spatz, Founder of Global Family Travels and Ashish Arora, one of Seattle-area's top yoga instructors, will guide you on this journey through deep inquiry and daily yoga practices. Through Global Family Travels' three pillars of Learn, Serve & Immerse, you will learn about the origins of yoga in India and the 8-fold path, gain wisdom from spiritual practitioners from all walks of life in India, including from Buddhist monks, nuns and Hindu Gurus and yogis, and share daily with your fellow travelers what you are learning along the journey.
You will also immerse in rural community of Dehradun and the Ladakhi Buddhist culture by purposefully engaging with the local people to learn about their culture, and provide acts of service to support several non-profits supporting quality education as we travel.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS are below, click on ITINERARY to see all the details.
Global Family Travels
Much more than a traditional tour operator, Global Family Travels’ mission is to “Learn, Serve and Immerse” through community-based travel programs. In partnership with non-profit organizations and schools, we offer family-friendly and sustainable travel experiences in support of education, gender equality, access to clean water, preservation of local cultures, conservation and economic growth, all of which foster cross-cultural understanding and global citizens.
Our trips include a unique mix of cultural and educational activities, home-stays and participation in local service projects aimed at improving the lives of people in the communities we visit.
Expect to expand your family circle when you embark on a Global Family Travels trip! Visit our website for more information: Global Family Travels
Travel with HEART, a Transformational Travel Principle
Namaste and Blessings! Global Family Travels is honored to be a mentor and pioneer with the Transformational Travel Council (TTC) and our 8-Limbs of Yoga is the first of many TTC Trips that encourages travelers to use a journey as a chance to grow, learn, and transform their live. We encourage you to travel with HEART (see below) and to keep a journal of the journey, even write down your intentions for WHY you are taking this journey before you embark on the trip and what you hope to get out of the trip. In addition to practicing yoga on a daily basis and being of service with community partners, we will encourage you to briefly share what you are learning or feeling, or how you are transforming throughout our journey together.
To Travel with HEART means to be Humble, Engaged, Awake, Resilient, and Thankful for to the opportunity to travel. Having Heart is to care of yourself, others, and the destination. It’s being vulnerable and real in order to connect, and being humble enough to be a steward of the places you have the privilege to visit and immerse in the community and culture. Open yourself to be free of expectation, entitlement, and judgment, accepting the experience for what it is, what it has to teach, and accepting yourself for who you are.
On this journey, we will be checking in with each other daily on what we are learning through this lens. Upon our return, we encourage you to share what you learned from the journey and what challenged you the most? Did anything change for you as as a result of this trip? And did it inspire you to take new actions in your life?
Yoga and Eight (8) Limbs of Yoga
The birth of yoga originally comes from the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures), which dates back between 4,000 to 5,000 years. Vedic knowledge was passed down from teacher to student through perfect memorization in the way of verses and poems. But it wasn’t until the second century B.C. that a sage named Patanjali outlined what is known today as the Eight Limbs of Yoga.These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.
Patanjali created the Eight Limbs of Yoga as a template to help us transcend the confines of our ego and to reach self-realization. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one's health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.
About Jennifer Spatz, your Tour Leader
Jennifer created Global Family Travels (GFT) with the mission to Learn, Serve and Immerse, using travel as a means to build cultural bridges and to foster global citizens.
Growing up in several countries, Jennifer experienced the bonding power of travel with her family, and by authentically connected with the locals, learned that despite our differences, we are all the same in our hearts and minds. The experiences inspired her to offer community-based travel experiences, and partner with local non-profit organizations to create service-learning tours for families.
Jennifer’s path led her to get a double B.A. degree in Anthropology and International Political Science from Bates College in Maine, and a M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. Prior to founding Global Family Travels, Jennifer had a career in international development, trade and finance, traveling extensively for work in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
It was Global Family Travels’ first official trip in 2010 to the stunningly beautiful region of North India called Ladakh that transformed Jennifer’s life. The journey entailed a village clean-up with students from the Siddhartha School, founded by Khensur Rinpoche, an educator and Buddhist monk and a lifelong friend of the Dalai Lama. At the end of this trip, Jennifer knew she had found her calling and the Universe supported it, allowing her to use her Sacred Gifts to develop transformational travel experiences filled with immersive activities.
Today, Jennifer is passionate about creating educational & transformational travel programs in support of many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including education, access to clean water, conservation, gender equality, and preservation of local cultures.
About Ashish Arora
Ashish grew up in New Delhi, India where he briefly practiced yoga in Elementary school and learned Sanskrit in Middle and High school. After spending 16 years of working as an engineer in the computer and video game industry, he is now devoted to practicing/teaching yoga and to travel. He loves to practice different styles of yoga taking 8-10 classes/week while teaching 12-15 classes/week at some of Seattle’s top studios.
Ashish teaches with a smile and brings his fun personality to his teaching, just like his own practice. Ashish strongly believes that happiness cannot be achieved by just tying it to big goals, but it comes from finding something in the current moment to be happy and to smile about it. Those moments then go on to make your entire life.
Learn More about Ashish Arora here: https://www.ashish.yoga/
About Venerable Tenzin Dasel
We are so honored that Venerable Tenzin Dasel (Lisa V. Blake) will help Jennifer lead the Ladakh part of our yoga retreat with a focus on meditation techniques, Buddhist teachings and monastery visits!
Venerable Tenzin Dasel currently serves as assistant to Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and Dongyu Gatsal Ling nunnery in Dharamshala. She received her Getsulma ordination with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and is the lead teacher and meditation instructor at her home center Tashi Gatsel Ling in Maine, USA.
From January 2016 - March 2018, she was based at Thosamling Nunnery and Institute for International Buddhist Women in Dharamsala, India, where she was the principal instructor of Shamatha Meditation Retreats held twice a month.
Since 2016 Tenzin Dasel has been a regular Meditation Trainer and a Guest Instructor at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Leh-Ladakh, and in the same year, she was also the resident Dharma Instructor at Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Saboo, Leh-Ladakh. In October 2016, she was the principal touring teacher of the Arunachal Mindfulness Project “The Understanding of Buddhist Philosophy and Cultivation of a Healthy Mind,” teaching in five cities across the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Dasel collaborates with several high schools in Maine to give talks on Buddhism and guide meditation for the students and teachers. She returns to TGL once a year, we should expect her back next in November 2019. Tenzin Dasel is a 1988 graduate with a BA from the prestigious Bates College, in Maine, USA. She received her Degree of Master in Arts from the respected Bangor Theological Seminary, the third oldest seminary in the USA, where she graduated summa cum laude. An experienced practitioner and teacher of meditation, she is the founder of Maine Mindfulness Project in the USA. She has instructed thousands of people and helped many improve or recover to full health through counselling and meditation.
The Principles of Transformational Travel
The Principles of Transformational Travel : Discover the PATH and travel with HEART as you begin to shape your own transformational journey.
While on this journey, we have encouraged you to travel with Heart and follow the PATH to transforrmational Travel. After the adveture, we believe that the journey continues and we encourage you to reflect on what you learned and share it with others.
Here are the the principles of the PATH to travel with HEART.
Prepare | During the month leading up to departure
Prepare for your journey from the first inklings of travel’s call, through the departure from your everyday world. Explore this section in full during the weeks before your departure. Whether you’re the type to fly blind, or someone who plans every second, this preparation will serve you well.
Adventure | While you travel
From threshold to threshold, through the heart of your adventure this section accompanies you as you explore the world around you. Comprised of primarily open space for you to create you will also find “Waypoint” pages for some inspiration, insight, wisdom, and encouragement.
Think | As you return from your travels
Even as your travels conclude, the journey continues. By examining, reflecting, revisiting, and contemplating, we nurture a fuller appreciation of our travels and uncover deeper layers of meaning and insight. This section guides you through a process of diving more deeply into what you’ve experienced and uncovered.
Honor | Extending the power of your travels into your life
Here lies the final gate to life changing travel: honoring the experience. You can honor your travels, the privilege to be able to move through the world, the impact you have on the places you go by using your journey to affect positive change in the world. You can honor the work you put into preparation, the courage it took to be adventuresome, the insights illuminated in your reflecting by affecting positive change in your life for your own benefit and for the benefit of those around you. This final chapter guides you through creating this change and making your trip transformational.
About Lama Tenzin and the CED House
In 2000, Lama Tenzin traveled with his two brothers through the Upper Dolpo region of the Himalayan border between Nepal, India and Tibet. During his journey, he rescued abandoned and neglected children (mostly girls) and founded an orphanage in Dehradun, India called the Children’s Educational Development Society (CED). Subsequent journeys to the Dolpo region continue, involving 10 hours/day treks for 20-30 days at a time, while climbing over altitudes of 18,000 ft through treacherous conditions. The brave monk and his group of children walk against insurmountable odds to reach the orphanage.
Lama Tenzin has expanded his mission to focus on girls with disabilities. The new Girls’ Institute for Technology (GIFT) rescues girls formerly shunned by society and works to develop them into independent professionals. GIFT provides free scholarships, residences and an unconditionally loving family environment. In addition, as Lama Tenzin continues to grow his CED and GIFT organizations, he has developed an initiative called "Pink Pads'," to help overcome teh social taboos around menstration in Norht India and empower girls to stay in school when they have their periods. He also started a music school for girls called Sound of Soul (SOS) where the children have music therapy, music appreciation, and applied music (lessons) available to them. Lama Tenzin, the CED, GIFT, and SOS are all located in Dehradun.
The word ankuri means a ‘sprouting seed.’ Just as a tiny seed has the potential to grow into a vast tree, ANKURI has grown from a single idea that was sown over fifteen years ago out of the desire to see women in a rural community in Dehradun, India grow and flourish into strong, independent, and respected members of their society.
Founded as a nonprofit in 2004, the Agency for Non-Konventional Urban and Rural Initiatives (ANKURI) has been working in northern Uttarakhand, India since 2000 and now supports over 100 women through a variety of projects that provide employment, education, and training in skills such as knitting, entrepreneurship, and organic farming. We structure our programs around the the belief that for sustainable social and economic development to be successful, an integrated approach is essential.
Now employing over 100 local women, ANKURI’s knitting program generates income for women and promotes women in managerial positions. ANKURI trains and improves the knitting skills of women from surrounding villages, promoting financial independence and confidence through their craft. The final products are sold in markets focused on socially responsible and sustainable community development.
We market our products through our social enterprise- you can shop here: Pure Hands by ANKURI.
About Thikhana in the Foothills
Thikana in the Foothills is a rural homestay 20 minutes from Dehradun located on a hilly ridge on the town's outskirts. Set amongst the lush reserve forests of Anglia it is a calm haven away from the city. We will stay here for 5 days and 4 nights, using it as our home to connect to the local community and engage with Ankuri.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Dehra Dun in North India, Mindrolling Monastery is an offshoot of the original Mindrolling in Tibet, damaged during and after teh Chinese Invasion of 1959. Mindrolling today has expanded steadily to become one of the largest Buddhist centers in existence today. All the great masters of Tibetan Buddhism, and especially all the teachers of the Nyingma lineage consider Mindrolling to be an inspiring example of the practice of the pure and profound Dharma of Vajrayana Buddhism.
The Mindrolling organization provides Buddhist education to over 300 monks beginning with primary and secondary school, facilitates research, and preserves and promotes Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Monks use Drubde Ödsal Ling for 3-month and 3-year retreats. Libraries are expanding and the recently fomed, Dharmashri Translation Group, is busy translating liturgies and publishing a Buddhist Journal. Samten Tse Retreat Center, a branch of Mindrolling for nuns and western retreatants located in Musoorie, is responsible for preserving the Jetsunma line, one of the most remarkable features of Mindrolling. The tradition of female masters at Mindrolling can be traced back to Yeshe Sogyal and Machig Labdron.
About Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
New Delhi's Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, which is Delhi’s most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan.
The pond water inside its complex, known as the "Sarovar", is considered holy by Sikhs. This was one of the most popular and important Sikh shrines in Delhi, where you can witness acts of service (and volunteer too!) in the Gurudwara, a kitchen and eating place where people of all different castes are treated equally.
About Stok Village
The peaceful village of Stok is 15 kms from Leh, Ladakh's capital, and is where the Siddhartha School is located. It is one of the biggest villages among Ladakh villages, and the greenery and tranquility is enjoyed by everyone who visits.
It is also home to the 14th century Stok Monastery, with its 71 feet high seated Gautama Buddha statue, and the current residence of the royal family of Ladakh, Stok palace is a 19th century palace, it houses a museum also.
Further south to the village is the famous Stok Kangri (6153 meters) situated in the Hemis National park, very famous among trekkers.
During summers villagers take their herds of animals to the mountains for grazing. On the way one can have sightings of various birds and animals, petroglyphs, beautiful gorges, water bed formations, passes, etc.
About the Siddhartha School Project
The Siddhartha School Project was founded in 1995 by Khensur Rinpoche Lobzang Tsetan, a Ladakhi Buddhist monk and educator, in his remote home village of Stok, Ladakh. What started in a one-room shed is now an exemplary private school with over 400 students from nursery age through Grade 10 and the school is one-of-a-kind in its efforts to honor, celebrate and enhance the local culture and traditions.
The Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation (LAMO) is a public charitable trust established to articulate an alternative vision for the arts and media in Ladakh. The organization set up the LAMO Centre in Leh, the main town of the region, to provide a space for the understanding and development of the arts. If you would like to know more about LAMO, please see www.lamo.org.in or visit their Facebook page.
About Ngari Institute
The Ngari Institute is a youth hostel in a quaint Himalayan village called Saboo and was started in 2012 by 5 devout monks from the Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, and under His Holiness the Dalai Lama's auspices, with His blessings. The Ngari Institute’s mission is to empower and enrich the poor and needy students in this remote region, by imparting a combined learning of both modern scientific knowledge and ancient Buddhist wisdom.
The Ngari Institute has about 25 youth without family nearby living there full time, ages 5-14, boys and girls, and the monks working there take care their daily needs, giving them room, board, tuition fees, book and clothing allowances, and access to medical care. Students follow the standard government educational curriculum during the day at schools such as Siddhartha, Tibetan Children’s Village, and the Saboo Government Schools and will learn about Himalayan Buddhist culture and spirituality during the after-school hours.
Ngari is building a new meditation hall which our group will be one of the first to use!
About Thiksey Monastery
Built some 600 years ago, Thiksey Gompa is considered the most beautiful of all the monasteries in Ladakh belonging to the Gelugpa school (the “yellow hat” sect) of Tibetan Buddhism. The gompa contains 10 temples and below the monastery itself are chapels and "houses" stretching down the hillside.
After entering the main courtyard to the monastery, to the immediate right and up several steps is a new temple containing a large Buddha statue. This Buddha figure, 15 meters tall was constructed in 1970 to commemorate a visit to Thiksey by the Dalai Lama. The statue is the largest Buddha figure in Ladakh and took four years to construct. The statue is made of clay and covered with gold paint. Inside, the statue is filled with both the Kandshur and the Tandshur - volumes of Buddhist canonical texts.
About Taj Vivanta
Vivanta New Delhi,Dwarka is an elegant and spacious hotel directly connected to the heart of the city with easy access to the Sector 21 Metro station. As one of the most opulent business hotels in New Delhi, it aims to change the face of business, in a space where you can work and play seamlessly. Spanning 7 acres, Vivanta New Delhi,Dwarka is one of the best hotels near New Delhi airport. It wraps you in luxury the minute you step in. The stylish space is home to a chic lobby, never-ending rooms and multiple outlets for the finest culinary experiences. You are never far from the city. A 20-minute drive eastward leads you to the heart and soul of the city – Lutyens' New Delhi! And the domestic and international airports are an easy 15-minute drive westward. Everything you need, and then some, around every corner. Where business and luxury unite, in an experience like no other!
Hotel contact info: +91 11-66003000
About Ule Ethnic Resort
Ule Ethnic Luxury Hotel Resort is the first fully solar powered tourism project in Ladakh, taking ahead the local sustainable tourism initiative. The resort is set at the cliff bank of river Indus, 55 Kilometers into Sham valley of Ladakh is the village of Ule Tokpo. The village is home to the family running Ule Ethnic resorts since 1974. A premier property, Ule Ethnic resort with 15 ensuite deluxe cottages and 15 ensuite huts.
About Sheroes Hangout Café
Sheroes Hangout Café is a heart-warming café run by five acid attack survivors. Coming out with courage, this is a first of its kind initiative in a country where beyond suppression, there’s fierce trauma and a scarred life. We will learn about the remarkable stories from these women. Learn more about café in this Wall Street Journal article.
About the Golden Retreat in Stok Village
A Journey of Serenity with 12 elegant cottages (each a spacious sanctuary with private porch), or in one of 6 luxury tents spreading in an area Learn more Visit their Facebook page for more photos and check out this video to get the full picture of this peaceful place.
About Mansingh Palace in Agra
Providing heavenly comfort to guests, Mansingh Palace iin Agra provides an enthralling view of the magnanimous "Taj Mahal". The 100 well furnished rooms are paradigms of exquisiteness and extravagance. The hotel offers a multi-cuisine restaurant, All day dining options, bar, health club, swimming pool, conference & banquet halls.
About Dewa Retreat in Rishikesh
Dewa Retreat in the Himalayas : https://www.dewaretreat.com/
“Dewa” or Deva is the Sanskrit word for divine being or God in Hinduism. It also means "celestial" or "shining", from the root.
Dewa Retreat is a 4 Star Boutique Retreat & Spa ensconced amidst the foothills of the great Himalayas near Laxman Jhula (7 Mins Short Walk) Tapovan, Rishikesh - The World Capital of Yoga, a serene & peaceful locale away from the main highway. We are very conviniently located at a short walk away from the main tourist attractions of Rishikesh. They are just 30 minutes short drive from Dehradun Airport.
Day 1: Delhi
Welcome to India, a country steeped in tradition and where spirituality and religion are part of everyday life. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to our hotel where you can rest after your long journey.
In the morning, we will meet before breakfast to enjoy gentle yoga class to stretch and shake off the jet leg.