Yoga is a practice of alignment. A mindful practice of yoga postures, or “asanas,” not only produces physical benefits, but also serves as mental exercise in concentration and meditation, as well as a celebration and invocation of the spiritual self. Along with the asanas, specifically designed breathing techniques, called Pranayama, stimulate the movement of energy for physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation. These yogic techniques of uniting the body and mind allow us to align with our souls.
Add to this moving practice, a fabulous, inspiring, remote and very special environment, in true connection with nature, along some of the most famous paths in South America and the world, such as the Inca Trail to Machupicchu.
Practicing yoga in nature emphasizes our energetic connection with Mother Earth. Along magnificent treks in the Andes, with immediate views of stunning landscapes and our feet in direct contact with the powerful land of the Incas, we are able to heighten our sense of our divine essence while grounding and centering into the energy of the earth. Furthermore, certain places are natural energetic centers. For example, the Incans understood the unique energetic capacity of individual mountains. Other sacred spaces, such as temples within the ruins, have been created through use and intention, and therefore enhance the places' natural energy. We strategically choose locations along our journey for their unique energy, which you will undoubtedly feel as we practice.
Within our Yoga Treks are options to create an experience that is perfect for you. Choose between three distinct options: Heart Connection Yoga, Dynamic Yoga, or Foundational Yoga.
HEART CONNECTION YOGA
This program focuses on the philosophy of aligning ourselves with the Divine. In the asana practice, each pose is emphasized as an expression of our divine essence, and the practice overall is experienced as a way to recognize our eternal nature, our infinite connection to all of existence. Philosophically, this program focuses on compassion and on our connection to our heart centers. We learn about and practice heart opening, and experience the emotional components of the physical postures. As human beings, most of us spend our lives trying to protect our hearts, caving in our chests and rounding our shoulders in an effort to keep us emotionally safe. This program works on restoring our natural connection to our hearts, and revitalizing our often-dormant state of open-heartedness. All levels of students are welcome in this program.
In Heart Connection Yoga, we consider the tantric philosophy that we are all intrinsically good—a non-classical yogic view. This philosophy perpetuates our opening to compassion and self-love, and helps us feel that opening the heart is safe and good, because all of existence is created to support rather than harm us. As we open our hearts through asana, meditation, and philosophic discussion in the retreat setting, we also will practice maintaining this heart-focused state as we explore the sights and cities of the land of the Incas. This lifestyle approach to yoga encourages us to awaken our consciousness, heal from within and contribute to world transformation.
Because this program shares many points with the viewpoint of Anusara yoga, we discuss the ideas of this school of yoga as a basis for philosophic inquiry and understanding. Anusara means “flowing with Grace,” “flowing with Nature,” and “following your heart.” Founded by John Friend in 1997, Anusara yoga is a school of Hatha yoga that focuses on spiritual awakening and oneness. It centers on recognizing that our true nature is not only perfect, full, and lacking nothing, but it is also Divine. Anusara yoga encourages a wide variety of spiritual self-expressions, which are heart-centered and foster love and happiness. It acknowledges respect, and invites a diversity of experiences both within its own community and among those outside the community who are seeking to align with the Divine. Anusara’s experience of diversity is an affirmation of the Divine’s own expression of inclusiveness, non-prejudice, and celebration of plurality. In the physical practice of asana, Anusara focuses on intricate alignment of the body as an expression of oneness and love in order to more deeply align with the Divine.
In this program, we focus on a dynamic practice of yoga that combines strength and stamina with grace and flow. This option is for practitioners with an established basis in their asana practice, from intermediate to advanced. Students interested in learning more about the philosophy and fundamentals of yoga will find this option compelling and informative. Asana practice will be based upon a strong flow that heats the body, unites breath with movement, and encourages the circulation and release of energy. This practice involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures—a sweaty process that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind—the goal of this physical and mental practice is to reach a higher level of awareness and to arrive at a place of divine connection.
Because this program is largely influenced by the Ashtanga system of yoga, we cover the philosophy of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009), the teacher responsible for the system of Ashtanga yoga, as the world knows it today. In his philosophy, Jois emphasizes elements of the practice that lead to the purification of body, mind and soul. Among these points are: vinyasa (a system of breathing and movement designed for purification), tristhana (the three places of attention or action—posture, breath, and gaze), and “the six positions” (elements that cover and impede the heart, and can be overcome through a proper yoga practice). We also learn about the term “Ashtanga” on an ancient scale; considered royal eight-fold yoga of spiritual yogic practice, Ashtanga was standardized by the ancient sage Patanjali in his “Yoga Sutras.”Ashtanga’s outset and conclusion is the divine state of unlimited ecstasy and freedom that forms the core of our being. Patanjali calls this state “Samadhi,” and the Upanishads—ancient sacred texts—refer to it as “the heart.” As human society have evolved further and further away from this true and original state, Ashtanga’s eight sequential steps provide a path back into contact with one’s heart. In our program, you will learn about these eight steps, or limbs, and employ various techniques to explore them, such as postures, breathing, and concentration and meditation exercises.
In this program, we focus on precise and proper alignment for the asana practice, in order to develop strength, mobility and stability. Designed for beginning students or those who would like to refine their existing practice, this program provides a strong and safe foundation. We emphasize the importance of proper alignment, and acknowledge that each individual experiences a pose uniquely. Because of this recognition, this program is ideal for students who are new to yoga, those who have physical limitations related to age or injury, or those who are getting back into the swing of exercise. Through individual attention from the instructor, we will find the best possible position for each student in each asana, incorporating the use of props to aid us in flexibility and strength—helpful for anyone with restrictions, such as back or joint problems.
Within this style of yoga, there is increased focus on symmetry and alignment, and also stillness and meditation. Each pose is held for a longer amount of time than in most other yoga styles, developing a state of focused calm.The idea is to help students optimize their practice in a safe way, minimizing the risk or injury through attention to detail, which ultimately allows them to go deeper than ever expected. Benefits include toning muscles, eliminating tension and easing chronic pain. When we strengthen weak areas of ourselves and open and stretch tight ones, our bodies begin to return to their correct alignment.
This technique of yoga shares philosophy with the Iyengar School of yoga, founded by B.K.S. Iyengar. In this program, we discuss Iyengar’s ideas about how yoga practice benefits the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, and learn about his ideas on how yoga can heal ailments and cure illnesses on all of these levels. As in the Dynamic Yoga Option, we learn about Pantanjali’s eight aspects of yoga, and begin to understand yoga practice as a way to silence the vibrations of chitta, or consciousness, in order to integrate all levels of being.
This program will give you a good knowledge of classic yoga poses so that whatever other style you practice, you will have the basic fundamentals of how to do each posture. As you learn to focus on alignment and inner awareness, the awareness will start with the body and expand to other parts of the self as you lay the foundation for a regular practice.
Cusco is said to be one of the magnetic centers of the planet and one of the most powerful spiritual energy centers on earth. Spiritual masters and pilgrims gather year-round in this city to benefit from the powerful vibrations radiated by the Andes, get recharged with positive energy, venerate the sacred spirits of the mountains, and make offerings to Mother Earth. As part of their journey, these spirit-seekers often share and participate in centuries-old ceremonies that are still part of the country’s traditions and beliefs expressed in its people’s day-to-day life.
Cusco itself offers a very special connection with nature, as it is the departure point for many stunningly beautiful trekking routes, and is surrounded by a remote, inspiring and breathtaking environment featuring various spectacular ruin sites.
The Qeros, indigenous people who have been largely hidden and isolated for the past 500 years, possess an ancient spiritual knowledge. They still communicate in their ancient language ofQuechua, carefully maintain the habits, beliefs and practices that originated with the Incas, and continue to conduct very old spiritual and healing ceremonies. These are performed by shamans called "paqo’s."
Our spiritual treks have been designed for people wishing to experience our fabulous trekking routes in a very different and transformative way, getting in touch with and participating in daily traditional Andean ceremonies. These ceremonies, which may be adapted to each person’s needs, are all led by an original and reputable “paqo,” and take place in specially chosen locations along the route. The daily ceremonies may be combined with meditation sessions and music therapy sessions.
By creating a sacred context for your journey, you nurture your soul, body and spirit, making the experience a unique and personal pilgrimage.
Yoga / Spiritual Treks are recommended in the following routes:
- Inca Trail
Please contact us for more information and details on the above as well as on any other Feature Trek you may be interested in.