The epic trek began in Pokhara, where we met our serene yoga master for the week. He spoiled us for the next seven days with the perfect trekking pace complete with yoga breathing the entire way, naturalist guidance regarding surrounding vegetation, and constant reminders of mindfulness and serenity.
We woke each morning to the tinkling bell signaling our early start. We began the day with an hour and a half yoga practice, slowly waking both our minds and limbs. We would then devour a heavy breakfast of dried fruits, cheese, peanut butter pancakes, and coffee. The trekking path scenery varied each day, lush greenery one moment then transitioning to steep drop offs the next. The only constant feature was the direction: uphill. I had never before climbed up stone steps for seven hours straight. And I’m not exaggerating. Thankfully, the yoga stretched my would-be sore limbs and the slow yogic breathing prevented any respiratory distress. We paused for a stretching session after lunch to warm up our quickly tightening muscles, and then headed off along the path. Every night we participated in guided meditation for at least an hour. Our instructor’s calming voice guided our minds through purposeful motions in order to focus on the present.
I find meditation incredibly difficult, as my mind tends to project in a million directions constantly. By the end of the week, I finally felt that my meditation skills were advancing, as I found myself practicing mindfulness throughout the day as well, focusing on placing one foot in front of the other. I reinforced the practice of conscientiousness with my nightly readings. I brought along Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and Gifts of Imperfection. That woman is a brilliant saint!
The Himalayas are truly magnificent with peaks and crevasses capped with snow. The sheer height and magnitude of such a voracious mountain range leaves spectators awed. The various trekking paths are well maintained with scenic overlooks frequently, and the local teahouses that shelter hikers provide traditional Nepalese dal-bhat dinners and warm beds. Nepalese are incredibly welcoming with sincerity radiating from their smiles. Each generous soul I met during my month in Nepal only illustrated more how compassionate Nepal as a country is.