The Yogini Winter Ashram

February 7 – March 1, 2019
Rishikesh, India

Sophie Jane Mortimer

I’ve yearned my whole adult life for this initiation. The Yogini Ashram blends the peace of Vipassana retreat with the bliss and lusciousness of a spa weekend, the sanctuary of a Red Tent, the fire of a shamanic initiation ceremony and the wild devotion of a sacred pilgrimage. I recommend it to every woman on this planet.

Sophie Jane MortimerCommunications Director, TreeSisters.orgtreesisters.org
Subpreet Dhillon-Raju

 I will never be the same again. So much has shifted for me on such a deep & fundamental level of my being. The insights that have arisen within me have changed me forever at the very core of my being. After many years of searching, I know I have found my spiritual path.

This sacred circle creates such a safe space that I feel I have dissolved icebergs in my being…not just ice cubes! The yogini path is leading me from the unreal to the real. There is no hiding. Each day of the retreat was a deepening into the wonder of my life…I can really see, I can really hear and I can feel the truth of my being. Jai Ma!

Subpreet Dhillon-RajuYoga Teacher, Life Coach & Holistic Health Practitioner Homeopath

About the Practices

devotional singing ~  dharma talks & open circle with Chameli ~ dance ~ inner yoga practices ~ dyads ~ inquiries ~ meditation ~ temple touch ~ movement ~ prayer ~ silence ~ ritual


First of all: we go deep. We don’t sit around and only talk about awakening; we’re all about direct experience. We practice an all inclusive in-the-body spirituality, beyond dusty dogmas and far fetched goals of the future. Spiritual awakening, instead of being a peak experience you once had or a concept you read about and compare yourself with, becomes a lived and embodied realization of freedom and love, uniquely experienced and expressed through each woman.

The basis for all spiritual exploration in the Shakti tradition is the insight that that which we are longing for is who we already are. Thus our practice is a process of melting cramped and outdated ego structures, and unraveling the wisdom and beauty already inherent in each woman.

We call this an ashram retreat because our days are highly structured, with sessions from morning to evening and little free time outside of the practices.  Our ashram routine sets a strong container for us to travel together to inner depths that are only possible through our shared commitment. This retreat is not for women who feel resistant to surrendering to a structured environment where one is expected to show up for all sessions on time.

We spend large parts of the retreat in silence, which means no talking outside the practices, and also unplugging from phone and internet.

This is a highly experiential path; a lot of the practices are interactive and include movement and also respectful touch.

The feminine touch, because it has such an inviting quality to it, invites deeper presence into our bodies. All the numb and cold places, the unmet corners of our body can be visited with gentle awareness as we cultivate a greater capacity to allow feelings as energy to flow through our bodies. In the feminine touch our bodies can slowly, slowly open and soften.

In the sessions, we spend time in silent sitting, dance, yoga, chanting, dharma talks and interactive Women’s Temple practices, which include touch, contemplation, emotional expression and voicing. Our practice includes yoga and dance every day, so be prepared to move your body.

What will we do?

:: We will pray. For the world, for the children, for love.

:: We will dance our prayers, we will sing our prayers, 
we will offer our darkness and light as prayer.

:: We will stretch and open and strengthen through Yoga asana.

:: We will dive into deep initiations and rituals.

:: We will have Dharma talks with Chameli.

:: We will melt into the Women’s Temple practices.

:: We will do Inner Tantric Yoga practices.

:: We will unplug from internet and phones.

:: We will get intimate with the power of Mantra.

:: We will drink from the nectar of silence and travel deep into the inner realms.

:: We will awaken the Yogini body as the Temple of the Goddess.

:: We will chant and sing.
 We will bow in devotion and reverence to this wild life.

About The Ashram Retreats

During the winter of 2019, we will be in India for 3 weeks. The first nine days will be the Into the Heart of Durga Retreat, open to women with some experience with AWI.  The next 12 days will be the Yogini Initiation Retreat, for advanced practitioners only. You can join us for all 21 days or choose the retreat that is right for you.

Into the Heart of Durga 
February 7 – 16, 2019

Yogini Initiation 
February 17 – March 1, 2019

*Scroll down to read about each retreat*

12832508_1039048659470337_8101451145252440799_nIn practicing in a circle of mature women fiercely dedicated to truth, invoking the magnificent mirror that Durga offers us, layers upon layers of borrowed clothes, ideas and concepts peel off.

In one sense you become more vulnerable, and this is the portal to a deeper power waiting for you. Life begins to touch you through layers of crumbling protection, revealing those aching places, along with an awesome edge of potential. And here—right here in this crack—there is a vast transparency; pure wisdom breathing, pulsating. Through embodied practice, and a powerful Durga initiation and commitment ceremony, you will root your whole being in this source of power and wisdom within you, and place that firmly in the center of your life.

In order for us to fully immerse into the depths that are calling us, we ask each woman joining this retreat to bring an exceptional level of commitment and responsibility to her seat in the circle. The retreat follows a firm and full schedule which all women must agree to follow. Please read the “About the Practices” section of this site that describes the practices we engage in to be sure that this retreat is for you.

We will begin the retreat with dinner and opening session the evening of February 7th; arrival time is from 4pm-6pm.  We will follow a daily rhythm of early morning practice beginning at 6 am, quiet breakfast time, and then periods of practice throughout the day. In the afternoon we do physical practices like yoga asana and dance. We will end our day with sunset puja and evening meditation. There will be parts of the retreat when we will dive deeper into ritual and meditation mode; we will be in silence for 5-7 days.

During the last days of the retreat, there will be more open integration time when you can choose to see the nearby towns or visit temples. Chameli’s spiritual teacher, ShantiMayi, lives in the nearby village and we will do our best to visit her Satsang if the schedule fits.

Yogini Initiation

February 17 – March 1, 2019


This retreat is for experienced and committed Awakening Women practitioners who have been in live retreats or trainings with Chameli and the Awakening Women Yogini circle and are ready to be initiated into the Yogini path.

If you want to take a step into a deeper commitment to your practice…
If you feel ready to let the Goddess/Spirit/That
 take center stage in your life…
If you want to firmly claim your place in the Yogini lineage 
in a more
profound way than ever before...
then this retreat may be for you.

It is a path of intimacy.
Welcome to a deep dive into feminine spiritual practice.

This part of our Ashram retreat is an initiation into the Yogini path, so it is only for women who already have an in-depth knowledge and experience of the Yogini path as practiced in the Awakening Women community, and a wish to make a formal commitment and be initiated into this path.

Since you will practice in a group of women who all know the basic approach and practices of the Awakening Women work, you must have already practiced in a live retreat with Chameli and the Awakening Women Yogini circle to attend.

You will be offered the opportunity to undergo initiations, which will call for commitment
 and ongoing practice. You will also be asked to do preparation ahead of the retreat 
in terms of cleansing and strengthening the body and deepening your spiritual practice.
 If you have resistance to these kind of commitments, this retreat is probably not the right place for you.

Depending on experience and motivation, we may be able to make an exception for women who do not have a long term relationship with Chameli and AWI and wish to join for the whole 21 day retreat. Other than that, we will not consider exceptions, so if you do not fit this criteria, the Durga Retreat may be right for you.

We will begin the retreat with dinner and opening session the evening of February 17th; arrival time is from 4pm-6pm.  We will follow a daily rhythm of early morning practice beginning at 6 am, quiet breakfast time, and then periods of practice throughout the day. In the afternoon we do physical practices like yoga asana and dance. We will end our day with sunset puja and evening meditation. There will be parts of the retreat when we will dive deeper into ritual and meditation mode; we will be in silence for 7-9 days.

During the last days of the retreat, there will be more open integration time when you can choose to see the nearby towns or visit temples. Chameli’s spiritual teacher, ShantiMayi, lives in the nearby village and we will do our best to visit her Satsang if the schedule fits.

5477_516438081731400_1964088719_n

ShantiMayi & Chameli during the retreat at Sattva, Winter 2013

Is the Yogini Winter Ashram for Me?


This retreat can be right for you if:

:: You have a regular spiritual practice and feel resonance with the feminine embodiment tradition.

:: You are in good mental and physical health and are centered and open-minded enough to meet India, which is a wonderful and intense country.

:: You can take 100% responsibility for yourself, your travel and your practice.

:: You can feel at ease in a structured practice environment as well as with open,
 unstructured times of self study and relaxation.

:: You feel connected with the Goddess as a portal to awakening.

:: You have the means financially and time wise to unplug and dive fully into retreat mode.*

:: You feel a longing to go deeper in devotional practices.

:: You feel a longing to take a quantum step deeper into the feminine path.

No, this retreat is probably not right for you if:

:: You are not familiar with Awakening Women and the nature of our practices.

:: You are not familiar with embodied spirituality.

:: You are working through severe trauma and would like therapeutic support. Our practices do not offer this kind of support.
 The intensity of the practices makes it unsuitable for anyone who has history with mental illness.

:: You are looking for a retreat focused on your psychological issues and self improvement, and feel a need for a lot of personal support. Participants of this retreat are expected to stay for long periods in silence and periods of practice on their own.

:: You have resistance to commitment and a structured environment. This retreat follows a rigorous schedule from early morning to the evening, and participants must commit to partake in all sessions.

:: You feel uneasy with Goddess worship and devotional practices.

:: You have a strong need for intellectual understanding. 
The practices we will focus on in this retreat are deeply experiential and are often only understood through other channels of knowing. We have other trainings where we focus more on the theoretical background for the practices.

There are additional criteria for the Yogini Initiation retreat. Please read the retreat description to learn what those are.

*We spend large parts of the retreat in silence, which means no talking outside the practices, and also unplugging from phone and internet.

Kirsten Warner, Boulder, Colorado

Leaning back into the support of a giant ponderosa. Attempting to integrate and give space to the magnificent ache in my heart. Every cell of my being is pulsing with deep love and gratitude for the luminous Chameli Ardagh and all of the precious women who have shared this journey with me. There is no going back, my life is changed forever.

Kirsten Warner, Boulder, ColoradoFounder, Devi Yoga for Womendeviyogaforwomen.com
Rama Gulati, Sacramento, California

All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  There was a moment at the retreat where I knew without an iota of a doubt that I had just completed a journey begun lifetimes ago.  I could feel it down to my bones and I fell to my knees sobbing in recognition and gratitude.

I am thriving, finding and delighting in the smallest of pleasures.  I now know what Shree is!!!   When I first started with AWI, I didn’t get all this talk of “honey” and “nectar” and the pleasurable sounds oozing out of temple sisters.  Now, I understand it in a way that is undeniable – I know it because my body knows it, every cell in my body oozes.

Rama Gulati, Sacramento, California

Meet the Team

Chameli Ardagh

Facilitator

Chameli is a devoted Yogini and the founder of the Awakening Women Institute. A celebrated transformational leader and one of the world’s pioneers of Shakti based embodied spirituality, Chameli has inspired thousands of women around the world, sharing her passion and deep connection with ancient feminine spiritual practices.  As a practitioner and teacher of feminine embodiment, her methods weave mythology and storytelling with embodied practice, meditation and the inner Yoga of the ancient Shakti traditions now expressed in modern form. Chameli was born in Norway, and she now lives in Northern California with her husband, Arjuna.

Dominique Youkhehpaz

Retreat Coordinator

Dominique fell head-over-heels in love with Awakening Women and the Yogini Circle in 2011 and has since given her life to this wild path of feminine embodiment.  She is the event coordinator and a Temple Facilitator Training teacher for Awakening Women and travels the world immersing herself in Yogini retreats. Dedicated to learning how to fully honor this magical miracle of life, she longs to live her life as an offering to the Great Goddess of this beautiful earth that dreams us all alive.   selfmarriageceremonies.com

Helga Høgåsen

Goddess of Music & Assisting

Helga is deeply committed to the Yogini path in her love for life, truth and love. She carries her guitar and voice to Corfu and India, and to the women’s circles she facilitates in Norway, where she lives. She’s a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and TRE provider, bringing her sensitivity and skills into the rhythmic dances of life and healing. She also works as a veterinarian and researcher. Her scientific and spiritual paths meet in her reverence for the unknown, and for life’s deep intelligence, which unfolds in her silent and knowing hands. innerleadership.info

The Assistant Team

We will be also be supported by a highly trained team of assistants who create a safe container for us all to go deep in practice…Jai Ma!

Kristina Aspemo, Sweden

From the bottom of my heart I bow and say THANK YOU for the two weeks of prayer, love, devotion and compassion. To me it has brought so much healing, hope and gratitude. To feel that I am not alone, to feel that I don’t have to do it all by myself, to feel the yearning and longing we all share, it is so overwhelming and brings so much release and comfort to my soul.

Kristina Aspemo, SwedenYoga Teacher + Counselorpurusa.se
Gina Holland, United Kingdom

This retreat completed something in me & pointed me back to myself over & over. My last offering to the river was my heart to that which flows & knows its way home, that which comes from the source & returns to source. This clear seeing and refined pointing is priceless. I learned what I came for. Thank you. Namaste…

Gina Holland, United KingdomCounselor & Group Facilitatorcelebrationofbeing.co.uk

Retreat Prices

Into the Heart of DurgaYogini Initiation RetreatInto the Heart of Durga +
Yogini Initiation Retreat
$1950$2100$2900
Repeater Price$1550$1700$2650

What is included?

~ Retreat tuition ~ silence, inner yoga, and deep sadhana
~ Food and lodging (in double or 3-bed rooms)
~ The cost of travel and transfer is not included in these prices

We have a special price for Yoginis from India, contact us for details.  Note: This scholarship is limited and only applies to the retreat cost; the cost of lodging and food at Sattva cannot be discounted and is in Western prices.

How to Apply

Participation in The Yogini India Ashram Retreat is by application only.

Here are the steps that need to happen in order to apply:

1: Please read through the retreat descriptions, the “Is The Yogini Winter Ashram for Me?” section, and the FAQ again.

2: Read through and fill in the application form by clicking the “Apply Now” button below.

3: Pay a $500 deposit via check, PayPal or credit card. (After payment you will be redirected to submit your application. Your deposit will be refunded in full if you are not accepted.)

If you are in the USA, please pay by check. Send and make out check to:
Awakening Women Institute
PO Box 1786, Nevada City, CA 95959
USA

A deposit without the application form, or an application without the deposit, will not be counted.

4: Email Dominique at dominique@awakeningwomen.com to let her know when you have sent the payment and what payment option you chose.

5: You will receive a confirmation email from Dominique, our retreat coordinator, once we have received the deposit and the application form.

6: You will be notified by November 1st at the latest as to whether or not you have been accepted to the retreat(s) you have applied for.  When you receive confirmation that you have been accepted—and not before—you can go ahead and buy your plane tickets.

7: If you have been accepted, we will need the full payment from you by January 1, 2019. If we don’t hear back from you by that date, you will lose your seat and deposit. We will send you a reminder in the beginning of December, but you are responsible to stay in touch with us.

Cancellation Policy

Note: Your application is not complete and you will not be considered unless the deposit is paid. If you do not get accepted, we will refund your deposit in full. Once you are accepted, your deposit is binding and subject to the terms below.

*In case of cancellation before November 1st, we will keep 50% of your deposit as an administration fee. In case of cancellation between November 1st and January 1st, we will keep 100% of your deposit.  The remaining payments need to be received by January 1st at the latest, or you will lose your place and the deposit.  

Awakening Women Institute is financially responsible for the retreat, so we kindly ask for your understanding that we cannot make any exceptions to this agreement.

Payment and Reservation

To apply for the Yogini Winter Ashram, click the button below:

After payment, you will be directed to fill out the application form.

Accommodations

The Sattva Centre

11017736_853389674702904_1130391113056234411_n

Nestled in the pristine foothills of the Himalayas, the Sattva Centre is a sanctuary for spiritual retreat.  Located outside the holy city of Rishikesh, India—the birthplace of yoga—the Sattva Centre offers a truly holistic experience for mind, body and spirit.

The Sattva Centre has beautifully decorated rooms with modern bathrooms. Some will share large king size beds (separate comforters) and some with be in rooms with 2 or 3 single beds.  Single rooms (for an extra cost) are only possible if space allows; dormitory options may also be available.

The Sattva Centre offers one of the most beautiful and high standard retreat centers we have ever visited in India, but remember this is India and the standard will be different than in the West.

The Sattva Centre serves simple, sattvic, all-vegetarian meals.  Sometimes we are able to request gluten-free and dairy-free options, but if you have food restrictions other than vegetarianism, for example if you need extra protein, please be sure to bring plenty of snacks and food supplements with you to the retreat center.

Getting There

domiinrickshaw copy

Once your place in the retreat has been confirmed, you may book a flight to New Delhi.  Many flights in Europe arrive in the middle of the night, so you may want to stay the night in New Delhi at a hotel.

From New Delhi we recommend these options:

1) You can take a domestic flight from New Delhi to Dehradun and be picked up by a taxi there.

This is by far the easiest route. There are low-cost airlines flying many times a day and the flight takes less than an hour.

2)  If you have traveled in India before and feel comfortable with it, you can take a train from Delhi to Haridwar or Rishikesh and a taxi from there to Sattva.

To read more about travel options, go to “How do I travel from Delhi to the retreat center?” under our FAQ section.

To apply for the Yogini Winter Ashram, click the button below:

You will be directed to paypal to submit your $500 deposit after filling out the application form.

Lakshman Jhula is the nearest town

Yulia Nikulina, India

It is very hard to express in words the inexpressible. Through many years of spiritual search, this is a very critical point of transformation, a stone in my foundation which was missing. Like a breath of such a fresh and life-giving air into my whole spiritual practice. So many answers, deeper than answers…a way to BE!

I’d say that Chameli’s work for me is like a whole new world, a way to deal with so many stuck places. I think it is essential in our world at this time.  It is accessible to anyone who is willing to do so, and that makes it sooooo precious!

Yulia Nikulina, IndiaArtistanuttaracrafts.etsy.com
Simone Rita Egger, Switzerland

Gathering with other dedicated and committed women on this sacred land in the foothills of the Himalayas was a journey back to wholeness, a return to myself. The totality of being in silence together guided me into this vast open space between all things—to this divine place within myself that I hadn’t given attention to for too long! Thank you Chameli and the Awakening Women Team for holding this magical healing space for us. Thank you for guiding me home. I am on my knees.

Simone Rita Egger, SwitzerlandTemple Training Teacher and Temple Facilitatorsisterbliss.me

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need any previous experience with Awakening Women to join you in India?

Into the Heart of Durga is open for women who have some experience with AWI events (whether live or online).

The Yogini Initiation Retreat is for experienced and committed Awakening Women practitioners who have been in live retreats or trainings with Chameli and the Awakening Women Yogini circle and are ready to be initiated into the Yogini path.

Our retreats are based on powerful shakti practices which can open strong currents of Kundalini in the body. These are not therapeutic programs. If you are in any way feeling unstable psychologically, are going through a severe crisis or have a history of mental illness, we ask you to not join these events.

Can I come for one of the retreats only?

Yes. The Yogini Winter Ashram is a 21 day process–though you are encouraged to join us for the entire program, you are welcome to join us for only one retreat.  Please be aware that the Initiation Retreat will be a continuation and deepening of the process that has been initiated in the first nine days of the ashram. If you choose to join only for the Initiation, you are joining a process that has already started. You will be expected to join the group at the level of depth that is already established, and this can be challenging coming directly from a busy life.

I want to come for all 21 days but I am not a long term practitioner within AWI. Am I eligible to attend?

If you have a basic knowledge about AWI and our approach and have experience in feminine spirituality, tantric, yogic and/or dance practices, you may be eligible to join the 21 day retreat. If you have read through the list of criteria and feel that you are otherwise a fit, please contact Dominique (dominique@awakeningwomen.com) and write to us about yourself to see if you are eligible.

What is included in the retreat price?

~ retreat tuition : silence, inner yoga, temple sessions and deep sadhana
~ food and lodging (in double or 3-bed rooms)
~ the cost of travel and transfer is not included in our prices

How do I register for the retreat I’m interested in?

Participation in The Yogini India Ashram Retreat is by application only.

Here are the steps that need to happen in order to apply:

1: Please read through the retreat descriptions, the “Is The Yogini Winter Ashram for Me?” section, and the FAQ again.

2: Read through and fill in the application form by clicking the “Apply Now” button in the Registration section of this site.

3: Pay a $500 deposit via check or PayPal. (After filling out the application form, you will be redirected to PayPal to submit your deposit. Your deposit will be refunded in full if you are not accepted.)

If you are in the USA, please pay by check. Send and make out check to:
Awakening Women Institute
PO Box 1786, Nevada City, CA 95959
USA

A deposit without the application form, or an application without the deposit, will not be counted.

4: Email Dominique at dominique@awakeningwomen.com to let her know when you have sent the payment and what payment option you chose.

5: You will receive a confirmation email from Dominique, our retreat coordinator, once we have received the deposit and the application form.

6: You will be notified by November 1st at the latest as to whether or not you have been accepted to the retreat(s) you have applied for.  When you receive confirmation that you have been accepted—and not before—you can go ahead and buy your plane tickets.

7: If you have been accepted, we will need the full payment from you by January 1. If we don’t hear back from you by that date, you will lose your seat and deposit. We will send you a reminder in the beginning of December, but you are responsible to stay in touch with us.

Note: Registration for our Yogini Winter Ashram usually fills up by November; if you are interested in attending, please reserve your seat by applying as soon as possible, before November.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you do not get accepted, we will refund your deposit in full. Once you are accepted, your deposit is binding and subject to the terms below.

*In case of cancellation before November 1st, we will keep 50% of your deposit as an administration fee. In case of cancellation between November 1st and January 1st, we will keep 100% of your deposit. If we have not received your remaining payment by January 1 at the latest, you will lose your place and the deposit.

We are not responsible for any changes in the exchange rates throughout the year.

After January 1st there will be no refunds.*

*In case of sickness or other extreme circumstances that make it impossible for you to join, we will split the loss with you and we will refund you 50% of total retreat/lodging cost. If you have not paid the full amount yet, you will pay to us an amount that adds up to 50% of total retreat/lodging cost. We will need a document from a doctor or similar in order to support you in this way.

Awakening Women Institute is financially responsible for the retreat so we ask you kindly to respect that we cannot make any exceptions to this agreement.

If we for any reason need to cancel the retreat, we will refund you 100% of your payments to us. We are not responsible for the cost of travel and will not cover any of these costs. We recommend that you have insurance for your travel costs.

What travel documents will I need to go to India?

You will need a valid Passport and Visa to travel to India from the US and Europe.

TRIPLE CHECK your expiration dates.

Check the US State Department website for information about travel to India: http://www.state.gov/travel/

How do I apply for an Indian Visa?

If you plan to travel to India for 30 days or less and are from a qualifying country, you may be eligible to obtain a tourist visa on arrival (VOA). Check the link below to know if you are eligible to apply.

WYou can apply electronically for a visa on arrival that is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in India.  Apply online 5-34 days before your trip here: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

If the Visa on Arrival policy does not apply to you, visit your country’s Indian embassy website for instructions on how to obtain a visa.

  • It’s usually worth paying for an expedited visa and always worth getting the longer, 5 or 10-year tourist visa if it is available in your country
  • The visa application will ask you why you are going to India. An example of what to state: “travel and tourism”
  •  Use the following information for your visa:

Name: Sattva Spa & Wellness Retreat

Address: Mohan Chatti via Laxmanjhula, P.O. Jogian

District: Pauri Garwhal

State: Uttarakhand Pin: 249304

Country: India

Phone: 0135-2440221

Email: sattvaretreat@gmail.com

You may wish to register your travel with the US State Department (or with your country’s own embassy) in case of an emergency- https://step.state.gov/step/

If your country’s visa application process requires a hotel voucher/invitation letter, contact Dominique and she will arrange one for you.

How do I travel from New Delhi to the retreat center?

From New Delhi, there are several ways you can travel to the Sattva Centre:

  • You can fly from New Delhi to Dehradun and take a taxi to Sattva.  This is by far the easiest route and most recommended.
  • If you have traveled in India before and feel comfortable with it, you can take a train from New Delhi to Haridwar or Rishikesh and a taxi from there to Sattva.
  • It is also possible to take a taxi from New Delhi directly to Sattva, but this route is arduous and not at all recommended, especially if you have never been to India before.

To reserve flight or train tickets, we recommend www.makemytrip.com.

Roundtrip flights from New Delhi to Dehradun cost about 100 dollars/euro.
Train tickets from New Delhi to Dehradun cost about 3-30 dollars/euro depending on which class you take we recommend an AC (air-conditioned) class for more comfort.

How much money should I bring to India and in what form?

Bring your credit/debit card, cash in US dollars or EUR, NOT TRAVELERS CHECKS.

Credit cards are accepted at many shops in Rishikesh and there are ATM machines also accessible. Just be sure to alert your banks and credit card companies that you will be traveling to India.  

A good rule of thumb is to bring approx. $100/week—unless you are planning on buying souvenirs and staying in more western standard/higher end hotels.

Where can I exchange money in India?

There are ATMs and money exchange offices all over India, and several in Laxman Jhula, the town nearest the retreat center. You can exchange money at the airport but the exchange rate is poorest there, so it is best to only exchange what you need for your immediate needs (taxi ride plus hotel and food). You can exchange most of your money once you are in Delhi or Rishikesh/Laxman Jhula; the exchange rates are much better there.

Check the exchange rate at http://www.xe.com/ucc/

What do I need to know about bringing electronics to India?

If you are traveling with any type of electronic that will need to be charged (i.e. iPod, iPad, camera, phone), you will need a travel converter for your chargers (DO NOT BRING hair dryers or curling/flat irons). Electronic stores or any travel store should have the converter needed.

If you absolutely must travel with your phone, check with your wireless provider regarding international charges. To use wi-fi and avoid roaming charges, turn phone to “airplane mode” on the flight to India and keep in that mode until you land home.

Wireless internet is available in some spots in Rishikesh (including at the hotel) and there are many internet cafes.

Indian phones can also be purchased pretty inexpensively to make phone calls to other Indian phone numbers and to the US and other international phone numbers at a decent rate.

Keep necessary and emergency phone numbers with you and give family and loved ones the hotel contact information noted above.

During the retreat there will be at least several days of silent retreat; this also includes no internet or phone use.

What are some tips to stay healthy while in India?

In order to have the most pleasant trip and to avoid getting sick, it is helpful to do some preparation, and travel with care and awareness.  

Here is a helpful resource for health tips while traveling in India: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/health

Below are some general tips—we will also send you a packing list once you are registered with more information about recommended medicines.

Please contact a health practitioner for specific health advice.

  • Begin taking friendly bacteria (probiotics, such as acidophilus) supplements a month ahead of your trip.
  • Begin taking immune strengthening supplements/foods.
  • When in India, avoid: meat, uncooked/raw food, drinks that are not in a sealed bottle (boiled drinks are ok), deep fried food, and street food (food sold at street stands).
  • Bring antiseptic gel/wipes in your purse, wash your hands often.
  • Listen to your intuition and say no to foods/drinks that do not feel 100% safe. You will thank yourself for it later.
  •  Bring toilet paper with you when you are out.

What vaccinations will I need to take for my trip?

Deciding what, if any, vaccinations to get is a personal choice and decision. Please consult your medical provider and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention travel site: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/india.htm

Some choose to get all, some, or none of the vaccinations listed.

The malaria risk factor is known to be low if you are only traveling to Delhi and Rishikesh.

Still, it is your responsibility to be aware of any health and safety alerts for the regions you are traveling.

Will there be laundry service at the Sattva Centre?

There will likely be no laundry service available at Sattva, so be prepared to hand wash and line dry your own clothing.  A bucket will be available, and bring your own laundry soap and clothing line/clothes pins (you can easily purchase these in Laxman Jhula).  Note that if there is a storm, there may be some days where you will be unable to do laundry and/or laundry service will be delayed (this is a great practice for patience and flexibility), so it is wise to have a few extra outfits with you and be sure that you arrive at Sattva with your clothes already clean.  

What shops are available in the area?

In Laxman Jhula, you will find plenty of shops where you can purchase cushions, shawls, clothing, tea, snacks and other supplies for the retreat or souvenirs.

There are also a couple organic grocery stores in the Tapovan area where you will be able to find plenty of healthy snacks, natural toiletries and laundry soap for washing clothes.

What flights do you recommend to India?

For those in the US, American Airlines Flight 292 from Chicago is a popular flight.

FinnAir has a good route from Scandinavia.

For more options, do a web search—kayak.com is a good travel search engine.

What are the towns nearest to the Sattva Centre where I can stay if I am extending my trip?

Our retreat at the Sattva Centre is in Mohan Chatti—this is the exact name of the village we will be in (it is a rural farmer’s village, so not a place to stay other than during our retreat).  The Sattva Centre is approximately 30 minutes by taxi from Laxman Jhula, the nearest town.

If you arrive some days before the retreat, you may want to stay in Laxman Jhula, a small town just near the larger town of Rishikesh. This is where most of the yoginis will be, and where Shantimayi has satsang.

Walking distance from Laxman Jhula is Ram Jhula, where there are more ashrams, Indian shops, and evening Aarti—but Laxman Jhula tends to be the main traveler’s town where foreigners stay.

Where can I stay before and after the retreat?

We recommend that yoginis stay in one of these two hotels in Laxman Jhula, both because they have been reliable, safe and clean, and also because the chance for yoginis to stay together and create a yogini house is precious.

Divine Ganga Cottages. Close to Ramana’s Garden where you can get wonderful safe organic food.  Safe and friendly place to stay, though a twisty narrow walk there that is probably best not to walk to alone at night (with other yoginis you will be fine). (This is the nicer, more expensive place to stay of the two options.)

http://www.divinegangacottage.com/ 

Vedic Yoga Centre Guest House. Nice, simple quiet rooms for around 1200 rupees/night (less if you share a double room).  Close to the Laxman Jhula bridge and Ganges River, but still quiet.  There is a kitchen and yoga room available for use. (This is the simpler, less expensive place to stay of the two options.)

www.vedicyogacentre.org, Phone: 0091-135-2440103.

Where can I stay in New Delhi?

For a comprehensive list of hotels in New Delhi, go here:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/delhi/hotels

Radisson Blu– Close to the airport in New Delhi: http://www.radissonblu.com/hotel-newdelhi

Classic Diplomat Hotel – 15 minutes from the airport, offers a shuttle service: http://www.classichotelsindia.com/diplomat-mahipalpur-new-delhi/

Or stay with Dominique’s friend Srishati on AirBnB: In GK district of New Delhi, about 30 minutes to the airport in a nice neighborhood: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5027915

Do you recommend any travel agencies for my travel questions?

La Vida Travels – Dominique’s friend Srishati (pronounced “shreeshtee”) owns a travel agency based in Delhi that can help you arrange hotels, train or airline tickets, and trips around India.  Tell them you are a friend of Dominique’s and ask to talk to Srishati—she is a sweetheart. http://lavidatravels.com/

Vijay Sharma – shivgangapriya@yahoo.com There is a small travel agency run by Vijay Sharma close to ShantiMayi’s ashram. He is also connected to ShantiMayi and can offer any help needed in finding a room or booking a taxi.

Are there vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free meal options at Sattva Center?

Sattva center will serve simple, sattvic, all-vegetarian meals during our retreat.  Sometimes we are able to request gluten-free and dairy-free options, but if you have food restrictions other than vegetarianism, please be sure to bring plenty of snacks and food supplements with you to the retreat center.

I do not have a regular yoga practice. Will I be able to do the yoga sessions?

This is not primarily a yoga retreat, although we do have yoga asana sessions. These sessions are suitable for students of all levels.

Questions?

Contact Dominique@AwakeningWomen.com

Photos of Previous Retreats

Photos by AWI and Bibbie Friman 

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