If you haven’t yet heard, ‘slow travel’ is making a comeback in adventure travel, with more of us yearning to experience more of a destination by travelling at a more relaxed pace. It’s a clear trend we’re seeing with travellers who have already planned their 2019 adventure.
Being constantly “connected” is prompting more of us to seek out lesser visited places and trails and to travel less and see more when we get there – effectively putting our minds onto ‘airplane mode’.
Nicolette Onsley, a yoga instructor from Sydney’s Happy Living Project, is all for the slow travel movement because it allows individuals to switch off, unwind and truly connect with their natural surroundings.
If the idea of taking time out for a mindfulness and fitness break in 2019 appeals, Nikki suggests a yoga retreat in the Himalayan mountains, which will see you trekking through the lush mountain trails of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri region with daily yoga and meditation.
If the mountains of the Himalaya have ever drawn your curiosity, here is your chance to travel with an intimate group of adventure seekers and yogis.
“You get 15 days to disconnect from stress and reconnect to self through travel, hiking, and yoga in Nepal,” she says. “This stillness in mind from practicing yoga allows for the observation of life at a slower and more meaningful pace.”
While Nikki’s first travel experience to Nepal was almost eight years ago, it’s still a vivid memory and she’s looking forward to getting back to the place she loved so much in April 2019, when she’ll lead the ‘Himalayan Hike & Yoga Project’.
“I hiked up to the Gokyo Lakes region with World Expeditions and I was so blown away from the experience, especially the kindness of the people that it has been deep in my thoughts since,” she recalls.
“Hiking is one of my favourite modalities of experiencing culture and a country when on holiday. You get to understand so much about the local’s daily lives because your experience happens at a slower pace. During my Yin teacher training, I spent many hours in deep meditation and my mind kept coming back to Nepal – its mountains and its people. I knew I had to design my next retreat there.”
Having taught yoga for the past three years, Nikki now operates a corporate yoga and well-being business, based on the ethos of making yoga accessible to everyone.
“I was in a corporate role for 15 years, so I really understand the stress and worry that is so often a part of the working week. I’m also deeply passionate about helping sedentary people or people with injuries find the freedom in their bodies again.”
If you’re unsure if this is for you, Nikki says this yoga and hike adventure is beginner friendly.
“The yoga will be gentle and used mostly to release tired muscles and to wake up the body with gentle stretching in the morning. The focus will be mindfulness and developing practices to take home to help cope with stress.”
You’ll traverse high pastures above Kopra Ridge beneath Annapurna South, where ancient pilgrim trails lead to the sacred Khayer Lake.
Trekking up to an altitude of 4,600 metres is well worth the effort for the outstanding views including the impressively sheer cliff face of Annapurna’s Fang Face.
Set with a backdrop of the Himalayas, a yoga retreat in the mountains is the perfect combination of adventure, fitness, mindfulness and excitement.
What’s even better is that after your day hike, you’ll rejuvenate with freshly cooked meals in the comfort of World Expeditions’ private eco-campsites and handpicked eco-lodges. You’ll even have the luxury of a Thai yoga massage or yin in the evening. Just heaven!