Inspired in India

Awaken Your Spirit

with Shannon Phillips & Amanda Dellow

February 18–March 2, 2017

Trip at a Glance

  • February 18 – March 2, 2017
  • Experience electric Amritsar
  • Celebrate Shivaratri in the ancient City of Shiva, Varanasi
  • Take in the timeless Taj Mahal
  • Explore the Pink City of Jaipur
  • Daily yoga with Shannon Phillips & Amanda Dellow
  • Accompanied by BJ & Lauren from RetreaTours
  • Limited to 14 guests
  • $2995 per person (based on double occupancy)

Inspired in India:

Awaken Your Spirit

Journey Inward & Expand Outward with daily yoga practice, thai yoga adjustments, meditations, magical sights & incredible food.

Offering a variety of yoga practices including ashtanga based vinyasa, hatha, gentle, restorative, yin, meditation & Yoga Nidra.

How to Register

  • Review this entire webpage for details

  • Complete Registration Questions and Contract

  • Submit deposit by check or credit card (via PayPal)

Countdown to India!












Inspired in India RetreaTour™ Itinerary

Days 1-4

Our jumping off point for this trip is New Delhi, although we will only be staying there overnight—in the morning we will take a short flight to Amritsar. Amritsar is spiritual center of the Sikh religion and home to the holiest Gurdwara. We find the Harmandir Sahib (aka, “The Golden Temple”) to be one of the most spiritually electrifying sites on the planet! Our accommodation is less than a minute’s walk from the Golden Temple; over the years we’ve developed a close relationship with this hotel, a rare gem so close to the Gurdwara. We will have plenty of opportunity to perform Seva, or selfless service, within the temple. The temple’s kitchen (or langar) serves free meals to 50,000-100,000 people per day (with construction being done at the moment to increase that number!), and we can participate in the thoughtful preparation of those nourishing meals.

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, May 2013. We're taking 3 Yoga RetreaTours there in early 2015--more at InsightTravels.comOne of our evenings we can attend the nightly border closing between India and Pakistan, a 45 minute drive away. This festive event has taken place nightly since 1959 and marks the daily closing of the Wagah border. A lively celebration, it is not unlike a high school pep rally, although with considerably more pomp and circumstance! Lauren is fond of calling it a “Military Dance-off,” although we would be remiss not to mention the singing and chanting, as well. If you weren’t already pumped to be in India, the cheers of “Hindustan!” will get you there quickly!

Our friends at our hotel have designed a neighborhood Heritage Walk specifically for us. We’ll explore the winding alleys around the temple, taking in gorgeous architecture, delicious street food, and witness every day life in the back streets of Amritsar. We can also walk a short distance to visit the somber but important historic site Jallianwala Bagh; the 1919 massacre that occurred here is considered by some historians to be a crucial step towards the end of British rule in India.

And of course, we’re in the state of Punjab, the breadbasket of India. We’ve scouted out some of the best vegetarian thalis in all of Amritsar for you to sample. We like to order family-style so you can try a bit of everything (or a LOT of everything!), but you can feel free to head straight to your favorites on the menu.

Days 5-7

On February 23, we say our goodbyes and head to Varanasi by airplane (via Delhi). Varanasi, also known as Benares or Kashi, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Mark Twain once said, “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves!

varanasi ganges young boys jumping into the ganges riverVaranasi captures the essence of Mother India as a whole. Although the alleys and neighborhoods are constantly abuzz, we will take refuge at our simple hotel directly on the holy Ganges River, or the Ganga. The Ganga is a goddess in her own right, often depicted upon her crocodile escort. Varanasi is the City of Shiva, one of the most revered and worshipped Hindu gods; the city is awash in beautiful but temporary murals and street art depicting Ganga, Shiva, and other members of the Hindu pantheon.

Varanasi is an important Hindu pilgrimage site, with devotees performing rituals along the ghats (stairs) of the sacred Ganges River. It is said that if you die in Varanasi and have your ashes scattered in the Ganges, the soul will be freed from the cycle of death and rebirth. For this reason, one of the most important and humbling spots in the whole city is the main cremation ghat, Manikarnika. Manikarnika is a fascinating, insightful, and deeply contemplative place for those who wish to visit.

Manikarnika is just one of the many sites we’ll see from our sunrise boat ride. The city of Varanasi is positioned such that the sun rises across the banks of the Ganga, and it is during this magic hour that the soul of the city is revealed. From our private boat (piloted by a long time friend and partner), we can see everything from the sacred rituals of pilgrims to the everyday chores of locals. The waters of the Ganga are used to wash the soul, but also the laundry, the teeth, and the water buffalo! The banks of the Ganges is simply teeming with life.

During the heat of the day, we can keep cool (and fascinated!) with a tour of the tiny, winding alleys of Varanasi. In this maze we’ll discover hidden temples, beautiful architecture, and the color of everyday life.

We’ll also be celebrating Shivaratri (“Great Night of Shiva”) in Varanasi, which is particularly fitting in this City of Shiva! This Hindu festival celebrates Shiva’s marriage to the goddess Parvati, and it is an an extremely important and holy day.  We’ll take in this special celebration from a boat on the river, as well as walking down the banks of the Ganga herself.

Day 9-10

We’ll bid farewell to Varanasi in the evening and take a comfortable overnight train to the city of Agra. Indian trains are a classic travel experience and will add another facet to this trip!

taj from fortWe’ll freshen up at our hotel in the morning and then head out to explore. This afternoon we’ll visit the imposing Agra Fort. Although the current incarnation was completed in 1573, a fort has stood on this land since the 11th century. The 94 acre fort is a gorgeous site to behold and is truly a city unto itself. We’ll get a sneak peak of the Taj Mahal from here, the same place where Shah Jahan, the brains and heart behind the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son until his death in 1666.

Tomorrow morning we will get an early start from our hotel and walk a short distance to the inimitable Taj Mahal. We’ll visit the site at sunrise, beating the heat and the crowds, and we’ll watch the light change the colors of the brilliant white marble. This “jewel of Muslim art” is breathtaking, no matter how many times your eyes trace the delicate gemstone inlay, the smooth, strong lines of marble, or the carefully manicured gardens and fountains.

Days 11-12

After our Taj Mahal visit, we’ll drive to the Pink City of Jaipur, breaking the 4 hour trip up with a visit to the Chand Baori stepwell.  Built between 800 and 900 CE, this is a stunning site in Rajasthan. This massive step well was designed to conserve water in the arid stepwellRajasthani landscape, and even to provide a cool(er) spot for locals to relax, as the bottom of the well is markedly cooler than the top. (Fun fact: part of The Dark Knight Rises was filmed here!)

Jaipur is as multifaceted as the semi-precious gem stones it is famous for (and yes, shopping for jewelry is a popular activity here!)  We’ll fill our days with stunning sites, such as the picturesque Hawa Mahal (or Palace of the Winds). This gorgeous multi-windowed (953 of them!) facade was built so the ladies of the royal court could observe the streets below without being seen themselves.

Nearby is the world famous Jantar Mantar, a collection of astronomical instruments including the world’s largest stone sundial.  This observatory is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fascinating stop on our Jaipur tour.

During our stay we’ll also explore two impressive forts. Nahargarh Fort, or Tiger Fort, provides a gorgeous bird’s eye view over the entire city. The other fort is closer to home—a lot closer to home. Our comfortable heritage hotel in Jaipur practically abuts the Amber Fort. Also known as the Amer Palace, this gorgeous structure is divided into four courtyards, each with their own unique style and special attractions.

On March 2nd, we’ll fly back to Delhi, where out tour concludes. However, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop—keep reading about easy ways to extend your trip in the part of the world!

Extend your Stay!


If you’d like to extend your journey before or after this RetreaTour™, we would be more than happy to help you plan your stay!  We can advise you on hotels, flights, and itineraries, whether you want to arrive in India early or stay on afterwards (or both!) We can also set you up for a tour of beautiful Bhutan, Nepal, or anywhere else in South or Southeast Asia—this part of the world is beautiful this time of year!

We offer our RetreaTour™ guests free travel consulting, normally a $200 value.

Some ideas:

  • Side-trip to beautiful Bhutan: all-inclusive & fully guided! (Bhutan’s Tiger’s Nest pictured above)
  • Pokhara, Nepal (hiking in and around the Annapurna range)
  • Kathmandu, Nepal 
  • Anywhere else in South or Southeast Asia that your heart desires!
About your Practice

Each day, Shannon and Amanda will guide you through a 45-60 minute yoga practice. On some days, depending on travel and timing, we may lead 2 classes, or a class and a meditation or Yoga Nidra. We will explore a variety of practices, from Vinyasa to Yin, which will leave you energized and ready to explore if the practice is by morning, or calm and relaxed if we are winding down from the day’s adventure.

As we will be practicing in many sacred places, various themes will be interwoven into each practice to assist you in delving deeper into the present, awakening your inner spirit.

No previous yoga experience is required. Various modifications and variations will be offered. All you need to bring is yourself, your mat, and an open heart and mind!

Price (click plus sign to expand)

This 12 day/12 night all-inclusive journey is $2995 per person, double occupancy. If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $375. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary). Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.

An $800 deposit holds your space, with $1000 due on October 21, 2016 (120 days before start of trip) and $1195 due on December 20, 2016 (60 days before start of trip).  Single supplement is due along with the last installment.

Price Includes:

  • All meals, and all the water, tea, and coffee your heart desires
  • All accommodation
  • All local transportation within India
  • Site entrance fees
  • Daily yoga with Shannon & Amanda


Price does not include:

  • International airfare (although we can and will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
  • Indian visa fee (depends on your desired length of visa)
  • Alcohol, specialty beverages, and desserts
  • Travel insurance (required)



  • There is a minimum of 4 guests that must sign up in order for this trip to take place. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up.  Please do not purchase any airfare until you get the go-ahead from us that we’ve reached our minimum number of participants.  
  • If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 3 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.
Payments (click plus sign to expand)

Please refer to the Price tab for specific information about price. & what is included on your journey. We accept payments via check (which we prefer!) and credit card (via PayPal). For our international guests, we can accept wires, which we find is the most economical solution for everyone; please contact us for wire details.


  • Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to Insight Travels, LLC; please contact us for a mailing address.
  • Paying by Credit Card or PayPal balance: You can pay with credit card or PayPal balance through PayPal through the following links below.  Please click the appropriate amount to be taken to PayPal’s homepage to complete your transaction. All PayPal transactions must be in USD.

$800 deposit:
$1000 (2nd installment):
$1195 (3rd installment @ double occupancy rate):
$1570 (3rd installment @ single supplement rate):

Registration Questions & Contract (click plus sign to expand)

Please scroll down within this tan box to reach the end of the questionnaire and contract. At the end of the contract, you will see a “submit” box—please hit that button.  

Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions and contract on the website.

(Click here to download a PDF of the contract for your own records).

Travel Insurance (click plus sign to expand)

We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense.  It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind! When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company; we like Travel Guard. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance before your departure. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.

Travel Insurance. Simple & Flexible.

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    About Shannon Phillips

    Shannon Phillips yoga bio

    In 2008, Shannon attended a Vinyasa yoga class at her local gym. There was something about the practice that “clicked” for her and she began practicing regularly. Having just completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology but wanting to take some time before settling into full-time work, it was not a coincidence when she stumbled across a Vinyasa teacher training in California – a place she always dreamed of living.

    Months later, Shannon moved to Santa Cruz, California to delve deeper into her practice by participating in Mark Stephen’s 200-hour yoga teacher training and in-depth studies program. Upon completion, she moved back to the east coast to obtain her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. During this time, she taught weekly yoga classes at Amsa Yoga and Mindfulness Practice Center.

    For Shannon, the practice of yoga offers a sense of being grounded, light, and present. She has always been a very active person and was naturally drawn to the practice of Vinyasa yoga. Over the years she has become more attuned to the spiritual aspects associated with yoga and has learned to slow down her practice, developing a deep appreciation for Yin yoga as well.

    Shannon is well-travelled – she has lived on three different continents and backpacked through numerous countries from Southeast Asia to Costa Rica and Fiji. She has always dreamed of practicing, teaching, and sharing yoga in its birthplace – India!

    In addition to teaching weekly yoga classes, Shannon also works as a behaviour therapist for a company that supports people with disabilities in Auckland, New Zealand.

    When Shannon isn’t working or on the mat, she is out hiking and exploring beautiful New Zealand, cooking new vegetarian dishes, or traveling abroad (or planning her next adventure!)


    You can follow Shannon on Instagram at @shaneliz820.
    About Amanda Dellow

    amanda dellow yoga bio

    Amanda Dellow, E-RYT, first fell in love with yoga more than a decade ago. What was initially inspired by a desire to be in better shape has evolved over the years into a way of living fully. Amanda has a deep understanding of traditional yoga practices and modern yoga science, bringing a well rounded yet playful approach to her classes that will leave you relaxed and at ease.

    After studying the philosophy and practice of the Sivananda Yoga Lineage for a few years, she began to practice and study the Ashtanga Vinyasa method. Those modalities have led to advanced studies in meditation, anatomy, energy, yoga therapy, Ayurveda & holistic wellness.

    She truly has a passion for helping others enrich their lives through the practice of Yoga and empowering each person to become more comfortable in their body and to live in it with purpose, power, and intent. Her classes will help you build strength, increase stamina, develop flexibility and also bring relaxation and ease into your busy life!

    The practical teachings of yoga have helped her overcome so many hurdles and also showed her the joy found in so many things, big and small. Her practice began in 2004 with a lovely, sassy little woman who encouraged her to go deeper, to seek more teachers and inspired her to grow her practice.

    She is so grateful to the many teachers she has studied with throughout this wonderful journey and it is her intention to honor all of them in the way she shares the teachings of yoga.

    After surviving a near fatal trauma accident in 2010, she suffered with PTSD while rebuilding her physical body and this experience led her to the practice of Yoga Nidra. She continues to teach and practice yoga nidra regularly. This practice is regarded as her most important offering by her highest teachers, due to its simplicity and amazing healing power.

    When she is not in the studio, she is raising two teens, reading books, snuggling sweet pup Winston, making smoothies, loving live music, burning incense, and practicing!

    See more about Amanda at and follow her on instagram @premaleah.

    About BJ & Lauren and RetreaTours

    BJ & Lauren at Georgetown, Penang muralBJ & Lauren created RetreaTours in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and affecting.  In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in January 2013 to reside full-time overseas. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable and transformative retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!)

    BJ & Lauren take great pride in the trips they offer, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart.  Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local professionals in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime.

    They provide not only on-the-ground support and guidance during the trip, but they are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins.  From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, information about local food, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.

    In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $200 value) should you choose to extend your travels. As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination city, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of.  The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to offer….let’s get going!

    (Pictured above: BJ & Lauren play on an interactive street mural in Georgetown, Malaysia.)

    Contact BJ & Lauren (click plus sign to expand)

    FAQ (click plus sign to expand)


    • What do I need to know about the visa?    

    First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport. 

    You will need to arrange an Indian visa before you arrive.   Please read this section carefully!

    On this itinerary, you will only be entering India once, making you eligible for a Visa on Arrival. (Please click here to make sure your country is eligible for a Visa on Arrival).  You can apply for a Visa on Arrival 4 to 30 days in advance of your arrival on this website. If you plan on staying in India longer than 30 days, you can apply through Cox & Kings Global Services, but you must allow more time for this process (start at least 3 to 4 months before the start of the trip). For some guidance about this process, please see this blog post about the application.



    • I have special dietary needs—can I be accommodated?

    Vegetarians should have no problem anywhere on our travels. The only thing that might prove difficult is veganism in India. Although meat is entirely avoidable, India is the world’s largest consumer of butter, and it is almost unavoidable in most of their curries, stews, and even breads. Many vegans that I have known to travel through India adopt what is locally referred to as a “pure veg” diet: no meat, no eggs, but it allows for dairy consumption.  (It is worth nothing that some of the reasons for avoiding dairy consumption in the west is slightly mitigated here, as there is less factory farming and antibiotic use in livestock.) Milk can be avoided by not consuming creamy dishes or milk tea.

    Gluten is also avoidable in India and Nepal by choosing rice over chapatis and other local breads. has GREAT printable cards in local language to present to restaurants and hotels about your intolerance of gluten. Click here for the Hindi version.  If you have multiple dietary needs, it may be worth your while to check out these specialty cards, available in 60 different languages.When you register for a trip, you will answer a set of questions, including a question about food allergies. We’ll take a look at your answers and let you know if we have any suggestions or concerns!

    Click here for our very own India Food Primer!

    • Can I drink the water?

    In a word, No. Although many cities around the world are getting more advanced public water systems, we don’t recommend it.  Not only from a pathogen standpoint, but it’s a different set of bacteria than your body is used to. Why risk an upset stomach if you don’t have to? We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water.



    • What vaccines do I need?

    None are required to enter India, but we suggest you work with your physician or your area’s travel health expert to decide what options are best for you.  You can read the CDC’s recommendations here  and the Scottish NHS recommendations here.

    • What about malaria? 

    Malaria is not a risk in the areas we will be traveling, but again—we request that you work with your physician or travel doctor when making these choices. Please see our blog about this topic for more information.

    • Do I need travel insurance?

    We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense.  It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind!  When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

    We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company; we like Travel Guard. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance 60 days before your departure. Please click here to get a quote. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.



    • How much money should I bring?

    That is entirely up to you and how much shopping you want to do, as well as your love for extras like massages, alcoholic beverages, etc.  All of your meals and transportation is covered, so you just have to gauge how much you want to spend on extras!

    • How do I get the local currency?

    You can either exchange cash in India or Nepal (although not at the airport, the rate is terrible!) or use a local ATM (which we prefer). Better yet, a combination of both!  Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling in India and Nepal, so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world!

    • Can I use a credit card?

    For large purchases (rugs, textiles, etc) many shops will take credit card (although they might charge a percentage on top of your credit card company’s international fee). For smaller items, count on using cash only.



    • Can I opt out of activities?

    Absolutely! Nothing on these trips in mandatory. In fact, we build in a bit of downtime most days for self-exploration or rest, depending on how you’re feeling that day. We can help you build in extra activities, too, if that is your style.

    • How fit must I be for this trip?

    We recommend you be comfortable walking & standing for 45-60 minute stretches.



    • What kind of hotels will we be staying at?

    We take great pride in our hotel choices; it might be cliche, but we value location, location, location above all else!  This often means little to no traffic, and that you can return to many of the sites on your own at any time.  All of our hotels will be very simple but clean, and all have hot water and wifi.

    • Will I be able to charge my electronics (phone, iPad, etc)?

    Yes, just be sure to bring along a 2-pin European style converter. Better yet, grab a Universal Travel Adaptor that can go with you anywhere in the world!



    • Should I bring my mobile phone?

    We don’t recommend bringing your phone and using it with an international plan, as that can get expensive fast. If you do bring your phone, put it in airplane mode and use it for wifi at our hotels and restaurants.

    • How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?

    Before the trip we will give you a list of our hotels and their phone numbers; in addition, we will give you our Indian phone numbers ahead of time, as well as an American number good for text messages and voicemails.


    Suggested Packing List (click plus sign to expand)

    Average Temperature Range in our Destinations It’s important to understand the weather to really pack wisely! Here are the average (Fahrenheit) lows and highs for our destinations on this trip. Keep in mind these are the averages—we won’t know until the trip gets very close if there are any funky weather patterns going on that would cause fluctuations in temperature. To see record lows & highs for the times we’ll be there, you can visit each city’s Wikipedia page, linked below.

    Jaipur: 55° to 85°

    Agra: 55° to 85°

    Amritsar, India:  45° to 75°  (chilly mornings!)

    Varanasi, India:   55° to 85° (bring a sweater for chilly sunrise boat rides)

    As you see, it has the potential to run the gamut from 45° to 85° (and can sometimes feel warmer in the sun!)—layers are going to be your best friend on this trip!

    Here is a suggested packing list, clothing first and accessories second.


    Note: the weight limit on our flights overseas will be 44 lbs (20 kg), not the 50 lbs that you may be used to domestically and internationally.  You can certainly bring a full-sized suitcase, but we can’t guarantee porters everywhere we go, so make sure you can handle your own suitcase.  If you prefer to only bring a carry-on, you’re welcome to do that, as well. Other note: BJ and Lauren live out of their suitcases year round and they swear by packing cubes!  Rolling your clothes (instead of folding) and using packing cubes make packing a dream!

    Clothing: Although more and more Indians are adopting Western wear, traditional clothing is very prevalent and modesty is the name of the game. In that spirit, please do not wear clothes that are tight, transparent or show too much skin, such tank tops or halter tops. We also discourage wearing form-fitting “skinny” jeans and shorts/skirts above the knee. Instead, we recommend wear loose fitting clothing such as long skirts, pants, capri-length pants, and blouses or Indian kurtas.

    •  5+ pairs undergarments; you can always have them washed or wash them in your bathroom
    • 3-5 pair light cotton pants or long skirts.  You may want to bring leggings (2 or 3 pair) to wear under your long kurtas, tunics, skirts or pants on chilly mornings or evenings (again—it’s all about the layers!) BJ is a fan of nylon pants, as they are lightweight and easy to clean.  Fleece pants might be nice, and good to sleep in (remember, the nights are going to be in the mid-40’s in Kathmandu!)
    • 4-5 cotton t-shirts, blouses, or long sleeve shirts.  You can always have laundry done at the hotels, but bring as many as will make you feel comfortable.
    • A light sweater/cardigan for chilly morning or evenings, and a heavier sweater or medium-weight jacket for Kathmandu mornings. A light-windbreaker might prove useful for early morning boat rides on the Ganges if your sweater/jacket doesn’t protect you from the wind.
    • Bring a few pairs of socks. Light wool (like SmartWool) or tech socks work very well, but whatever socks you have will be just fine.
    • Sleeping attire: our rooms will not have heat in them at night (although they will have plenty of blankets), so please make sure you bring sleeping attire to keep you warm!
    • Comfortable walking shoes. Boots aren’t at all necessary and can be cumbersome when going in & out of monasteries and temples. Sneakers or comfortable slip-ons will suffice.
    • A pair of sandals or flip-flops, if you wish.  They’ll be convenient for around the hotels, local excursions, and the Golden Temple (when you have to check your footwear at the door). Walking sandals (such as Teva’s or Chaco’s) would also work.
    • Sarongs are super handy for so many reasons (men and women). Makes for a good cover-up, eyeshade, pillow, scarf, napkin, tissue, etc. These will be readily available early in our travels.
    • A hat with a brim is a great idea for our daytime adventures.
    • Yoga Clothing: Four or five sets of Kundalini Yoga clothes: comfortable loose fitting tops (t-shirts, kurtas or tunics) and pants in light colors or white.  Natural fibers like cotton are best. We recommend head coverings (kufis, bandanas, head wraps) for mediation and yoga. Check out for Kundalini attire.


    • Yoga Mat.  Because of the unique nature of this RetreaTour™ and the traveling we’ll be doing on airplanes, you will need to bring and carry your own mat. There are plenty of travel mats available on the market if you don’t want to bring a full-size mat (which you are more than welcome to!)  Lauren likes these Khataland mats because of their unique folding pattern (that way, the dirty bottom of your mat never has to touch the clean top of your mat); if you use this link or the promo code “matt” at checkout, you’ll get 5% off.
    • Any other yoga accessory you think you may need, such as a strap or eye pillow.
    • As far as a travel pouch or purse, we love the Pacsafe Pouchsafe 125, 150 or 200 at, to carry passport, money, etc.  This is only if you’re in the market for something new.
    • Ear plugs and eye shades to help you sleep better and recover from jet lag more quickly. BJ swears by this!
    • Good sunscreen.  Lauren prefers mineral-based ones: good for you, good for the environment. How do you know if it’s mineral based? If the active ingredient is either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide—that’s it.
    • Daypack or camera bag. (If you need a recommendation on a camera, BJ would be happy to help, just email him. We can discuss what type of photography you like, how much you want to spend, and how much you want to lug around.)
    • If you do bring your camera, don’t forget extra batteries and/or your charging cord! You may want to think about an extra memory card, too.
    • At least one bandana, as they’ll come in handy for wiping hands, faces, covering heads, etc. Though they’ll loan us a bandana at the Golden Temple, you can wear your own head covering—a nice idea.
    • Toiletries. Not all of our hotels are guaranteed to have shampoo and none will have conditioner, so be sure to bring some of your own if you require it.
    • People tend to think they need to bring toilet paper to India—not true!  However, bringing a few packs of travel tissues isn’t a bad idea, to keep on you for public restrooms.
    • Wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer. Nothing replaces good ol’ hand-washing, but this will work in a pinch.
    • Ladies will want to bring any necessary feminine hygiene products with them, as they can be scarce in India.
    • Plug adaptor for electronics: you’ll need a 2 pin adaptor common across Europe (Read here to learn more about adapters vs converters:  Here’s an example of a good adapter/converter (the only one you’ll ever need!) (click here).
    • VERY IMPORTANT!  A print out of your RETURN airline ticket itinerary; you’ll need this to enter the airport to get home. You can also have it readily accessibly on your phone (you may want to save it as a photo).
    • Photocopy of your passport and your visa, just in case you need them.
    • A small travel umbrella, if you wish; can work for rain (which we’re not expecting) OR as a parasol
    • Small notebook and pen for journaling purposes
    • Mosquito repellent.  While we are visiting these areas in dry season and malaria is not endemic to any of these cities, it’s still better to be safe than sorry, especially at dawn and dusk.  Consider repellants based in natural essential oils, such as citronella.  Click here to read a blog post by BJ about malaria (and dengue).
    • Enough of any prescription drugs you need, as well as over-the-counter needs.  We recommend Imodium (anti-diarrheal), a probiotic (Lauren is a BIG fan of Jarrodophilus EPS), as well as melatonin and Benadryl for jet lag purposes (read BJ’s take on jet lag by clicking here).
    • We will have wifi at all of our hotels, if you want to stay in touch via your smart phone or tablet. Don’t forget your chargers! We recommend setting up Skype, FaceTime, or another wifi-based calling service before leaving home, and familiarizing your loved ones with it before you leave.

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