Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
On the 25th of September, 2023, my search for peace and self-discovery took me to the vibrant greenery of Shivapuri National Park. I was there for a yoga and meditation retreat aimed at reaching Nagi Gumba. This tranquil monastery offered magnificent views stretching from the Kathmandu Valley to the high peaks of the Himalayas. As I journeyed through Shivapuri accompanied by my American buddy Trisha and Yoga Instructor Netra Acharya, each step seemed to lighten my internal burdens despite the physical load of our backpacks.
Day 1: Setting Out for Spiritual Heights
Arriving at Nagi Gumba felt like entering a new world. The old stones of the place held echoes of many who had come seeking wisdom. We started our meditation at nightfall, discussing the 7 chakras and chanting mantras, which was a cleansing experience under the full moon sky.
Day 2: Embracing Monastic Life
On our second morning at Nagi Gumba, disconnected from technology and fully present, we were greeted by Buddhist chants that felt like a spiritual awakening, clearing our minds and making room for a deeper consciousness to surface. Afterwards, Mr. Netra guided us through a series of asanas synchronized with the breath. It wasn’t just our bodies that were nurtured but also our spirits—thanks to Gumba’s wholesome vegetarian dishes, including fresh chapati, hearty bean soup, comforting dal bhat, and crisp spinach. Each bite and breath reminded us of the simple yet profound joys of living in harmony with nature. To my delight, I discovered the monastery’s children playing a game, possibly Dhyakki, using small stones and an open space. It transported me back to my childhood, evoking a bittersweet longing for the lost simplicity of play among city-dwelling children. Yet, it also filled me with joy, knowing that their childhood remained untouched by the digital world.
Day 3: Acknowledging the Beauty Within and Beyond
As I explored new poses in the morning’s yoga, I grew to love and appreciate my body’s ability to move, dance, and perform daily miracles. It saddened me to acknowledge how frequently we disregard and abuse this precious gift, holding feelings of self-hatred and making unfair comparisons to unrealistic beauty ideals. This insight was a powerful reminder to treat my body with respect and care, embracing it with thankfulness. Later, this newfound appreciation extended beyond my body to life’s simple joys. Our afternoon trip to Tarebhir deepened this sense, offering us stunning vistas that broadened our view of the world. However, the day’s highlight was the sheer joy we felt while preparing noodles for the children at the monastery. It filled us with laughter and pure happiness. Finally, as we ended the day with Trataka Sadhana, a challenging yet enlightening practice, I learned to visualize love and overcome insecurities through the gentle glow of a candle.
Day 4: Reflections and Resolutions
As the final morning arrived earlier than expected, we engaged in a silent meditation, fully immersing ourselves in the moment. While packing mindfully, we treated each item as a cherished memory. Now, amid the city’s noise and activity, the serene atmosphere of Nagi Gumba feels distant. However, through my regular yoga practice, I’ve discovered a similar feeling of serenity inside myself and it continually reminds me that inner peace is always present within me, patiently waiting to be discovered.