Guided Yoga Retreats – India 2018

Recovering Gypsy

take a sacred journey to the source

October 12 – 26, 2018

Spirit infuses every breath, every step, and every life in this magical land. Most of our journey will take us through Kerala, India’s southernmost state. Although it will offer a culture shock from the Western world, in my experience, Kerala has been the friendliest, cleanest region of India, with epicurean offerings that will blow your taste buds away! Indians refer to Kerala as “God’s Own Country” for its rich, natural beauty and fertile, lush landscapes.

day 1


India Yoga Retreat begins in TrivandrumI will meet you at the airport in Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, which literally translates to “coconut.” The city is vibrant and typically Indian, with women clad in traditional sarees or salwar kameez. The streets bustle with buses, cars, three-wheeled rickshaws, and even cows; this is a brief introduction to the Real India!

day 2

India Yoga Retreat - Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari is a popular Indian pilgrimage site, and receives its namesake from the goddess Devi Kanya Kumari Temple. Situated at the southern tip of India, it is said to mark the spot where three bodies of water converge. This is a special corner of the globe, as you can watch the sunrise and sunset from the same beach. The town also proffers a 95-foot statue of the Thiruvalluvar jutting out of the sea, which hearkens to a story of virtue giving rise to wealth and pleasure.

Kanyakumari is a popular Indian pilgrimage site as well, and receives its namesake from the goddess Devi Kanya Kumari Temple. This day trip, and all our jaunts through the Motherland, will be a mélange of public and private transportation. Public transport, while not the most luxurious of options, is perhaps the best opportunity to “rub elbows” with the locals (literally)!

day 3-5
sivananda yoga ashram
ശിവാനന്ദ യോഗ ആശ്രമം

India yoga retreat - Sivananda Yoga Ashram

The Sivananda Yoga Ashram is nestled in the hills surrounding Trivandrum. This is where the true immersion into traditional yoga lifestyle becomes manifest, with two yoga classes, two guided meditation sits, and chanting daily. Beginner and intermediate levels of yoga asana classes are offered.

These classes, while two hours in duration, also incorporate approximately six savasana resting poses throughout class, and plenty of pranayama (breathwork) so the physical practice is accessible to varioius levels of experience.

Each person is given a “karma yoga job” to assist in the functioning of the ashram, which can range from cleaning to serving tea. The ashram also has a juice/snack shack as well as a little gift shop with trinkets such as mala beads, incense, neti pots, and other Eastern knickknacks imbued with the ashram’s pure yogic vibration.

Though it’s called a “Yoga Vacation,” and you will certainly have ample opportunity to rest your mind and soothe your spirit, most activities are mandatory. There is a pristine lake across the road, although alligators do most of the swimming there!

Ashram Daily Schedule
  • 5:30 am – Wake-up bell
  • 6:00 am – Satsang (silent meditation & mantra chanting)
  • 8:00 am – Yoga Asana
  • 10:00 am – Brunch (wholesome, delicious, vegetarian meal)
  • 2:00 pm – Yoga Lecture
  • 4:00 pm – Yoga Asana
  • 6:00 pm – Dinner
  • 8:00 pm – Satsang
  • 10:00 pm – Lights out

Please note: Attendance at all yoga classes and satsangs is mandatory.

day 6-7

India yoga retreat - Varkala beach

Varkala is a beautiful beach just north of the ashram, with handicraft shops and restaurants perched on a scenic cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea. You can find statues of Hindu deities, incense, clothing, and trinkets galore, as people come from all over India and Nepal to sell their goods.

While the water might look inviting, the currents can be quite powerful; furthermore, Indian men are not accustomed to seeing flesh in front of their eyes, and exposing more than knees and elbows here is an acute reminder to the freedoms that women enjoy in the West.

day 7-8
the backwaters

India yoga retreat - the backwaters

The backwaters have been dubbed the “Venice of India,” and for good reason. With 500 miles of meandering canals, lagoons, and rivers, the island-like neighborhoods of Kerala’s backwaters have preserved age-old customs amidst an idyllic backdrop of coconut trees, kingfisher birds, and cinnamon trees.

We’ll stay for a night on a traditionally-inspired houseboat, and allow the tranquility and friendliness of the backwaters and its people to seep into our cells.

day 9-11

India Yoga Retreat - Thrissur

Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, is host to many lively celebrations throughout the year. The largest festival, Pooram, takes place each spring, and features fireworks, artists, and elephants galore!

While our trip won’t coincide with this festival, temple elephants can be spotted around town, sometimes adorned with gold-plated headpieces and colorful lotus flowers chalked onto their trunks. Many sacred temples dot the landscape of this traditionally Indian, road-less-traveled city.

day 12
overnight train ride

India Yoga Retreat - overnight train to Mumbai

An authentic trip to India would not be complete without an overnight train ride, where we hop on the opportunity to traverse the terrain of South India, through smaller towns, fields, and rivers… taking it all in as the subconinent passes us by. The trains have different “tiers” or “classes.” We travel in 3-Tier Air Conditioned class, with seats that fold down into sleeper beds. Servers come through the train serving food and chai (milk/sugar/tea – listed in order). We typically arrive in Mumbai late at night and take a taxi to our place of rest.

days 13-14

India yoga retreat - Mumbai

Mumbai, India’s largest and most vibrant city, sits at the junction of South and North India, making it a cultural melting pot of sights, sounds, and tastes from every corner of the country. With over 21 million “Mumbaikers,” this city has a distinctly urban atmosphere and an unwavering buzz of pandemonium. Mumbai’s antiquated atmosphere and city bustle offer a small glimpse of the expanse of India beyond Kerala. The sights and shopping are endless, with the Gateway of India port, coast-walk, Ghandi museum, and UNESCO World Heritage Site CST Railway Station.

maybe …

India - guided yoga and meditation retreat

This concludes our trip!

Some adventurers choose to extend their stay to visit other parts of India on their own, having two weeks of acclimation under their belts, while most people head back to the comforts of home and take several days, weeks, or even months to wrap their heads and hearts around the trip (though this is a journey that will live in your soul forever).


Who should come? For those of us who have delved into a yoga practice in the West, we know the benefits extend beyond an impressive backbend. We may have even begun to absorb some ancient-yet-relevant wisdom of yoga philosophy – Can I be just as patient in my seventh breath in Virabhadrasana I as I can be when I hit a red light rushing to work?

This trip has been carefully curated for yogis who yearn to understand more about the practice of yoga that extends beyond the asanas. It’s for daring souls who don’t mind getting a little dirty, who want to come home with a new way of looking at the world, with more compassion in their hearts and wisdom in their souls.

India yoga retreat cost:

  • Early Bird [by 6/15/2018]: $2275 or 150.000 rupees
  • Regular Pricing [after 6/15/2018]: $2500 or 170.000 rupees

Your 2 week yoga retreat includes:

  • Daily yoga sessions
  • All your meals & lodging (dorm and shared accommodations)
  • Your gypsy guide (Heather) & your local guide (Rajesh)
  • All in-country transport
  • And an authentic Ayurvedic massage!

The fine print:

  • Space is limited to TEN adventurers
  • Airfare not included. Fly into Trivandrum International Airport [TRV] arriving on 10/12/2018, depart from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport [BOM] on 10/26/2018.
  • $500 deposit secures your spot.
  • Payments (non-refundable) accepted are cash and credit card…or drop off an old-fashioned check made out to Heather Fenwick in an envelope at either of the Pilgrimage of the Heart studios. Be sure to include your e-mail address! *Please note that credit card payments are via PayPal, and will incur an additional 3% surcharge.


Why this retreat? Visiting India is a journey straight to the source, to the birthplace of yoga. Here you’ll find a culture of over a billion people who are still shaped by the ancient philosophies of the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

When we immerse ourselves into this land where spirit is unquestionably present, even woven into the fabric of each step of the day, we find a culture and a people born out of ancient yogic wisdom. To see people who lack so much in material possessions, but who have rich hearts and joy-filled eyes; to know that we can be filled up from the inside, with a deeper perspective on what is instead of wishing for our surroundings to change; to carry this with us is to carry a warmth and a happiness in our hearts, everywhere we go.


be the first to know about new yoga retreats

Interested in: