Lotus of the Heart India Retreat 2024

20 October – 2 November 2024 | with Natalie Snooke

Sacred India Retreat 2024 with Natalie Snooke

Early Bird Special Offer! Save AUD$200 – book by 26 April.

Rediscover your heart. Immerse yourself in the life-changing joy, spirituality and serenity of Rishikesh, the traditional home of Yoga, on my special 14-day India retreat.

My Lotus of the Heart India Retreat 2024 offers you the unique opportunity to:

  • Be inspired and transformed by the vibrant, life-affirming Vedic-Yogic culture, as you witness and participate in ancient rituals and ceremonies of daily life.

  • Deepen your spiritual growth with daily sadhana, dedicated yogic and meditative practice – guided by my 17 years of teaching, practice and leading retreats, that’s steeped in the heart, with a love for India.

  • Enjoy unhurried visits to powerful local shrines, temples and ashrams – with time for rest, silence and contemplation.

  • Breathe-in the healing, natural beauty of the Himalayan foothills, monkey forests, waterfalls and the sacred Ganges River with swims, walks and hikes.

  • Awaken your ‘bhakti’ the pure joy of the heart through art, dance and music, in creative sessions with local artists.

  • Have fun with the hustle-and-bustle of inexpensive market shopping, tasting local dishes and buying organic products and handicrafts unique to India, with a lovely, like-minded group of retreat friends.

“Your India Pilgrimage was fabulous and exceeded all of my expectations. I felt a strong sense of belonging to a community I’d never been to. I experienced a deeper sense of love, kindness, appreciation and non-attachment. And I could let-go in a safely supportive group. The daily care and consideration you showed took group experience to a new level. The daily yoga practice gave me a whole new depth of self-awareness. And the food was amazing!” ~ Niamh Toohey

Beloved India!

No where else on the planet can do for you exactly what India does.

India is called ‘the Mother.’ And true to her nickname, she’s the glorious feminine archetype. India fully embodies all the qualities of a mother. She is loving, generous, fierce and urges you to grow.

India serves as a powerful catalyst, asking you to engage, surrender and transform your beliefs, your judgments and your ego. For these reasons alone, spending time in India is life-changing and transformational.

For over 5000 years, Yoga has been a practised and lived culture in India. And for yogis and meditators, coming back to the traditional roots is incredibly rewarding.

India is a land of paradox. Where the palpable, peaceful essence of it’s people exists amidst a level of colour and chaos, wealth and poverty, grit and grace you won’t find anywhere else – making us more present and open to life.

Chances are, you dream of going to India but are also afraid of the poverty. I get it.

However, what you don’t consider, is that despite the poverty, there’s a rich happiness and deep spirituality, palpable in almost every person, rich or poor. With curiosity and compassion, I will guide and encourage you to make sense of India in your own way. And like many others on my retreats, there’s every chance you’ll grow to love it!

“I loved your India Retreat. Visiting India for the first time with a new group of like-minded people, having the opportunity to get to know them through shared experience, is very special. It was a unique, cultural immersion and worked its magic. And it was a photographer’s dream! Since returning home, I’ve been aware of a subtle increase in my state of calm and a balance in my emotions. Thank you.” ~ Louise Armstrong

Devotion ~ Surrender to Yourself in Rishikesh

Nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas, on the banks of the sacred Ganga (Ganges River) lies Rishikesh. Made famous by the Beatles, Rishikesh is a holy town and place of pilgrimage, where yogic sages and rishis have meditated for thousands of years in the quest for self-realisation.

Rishikesh is like my second home. And last time I was there for a month. Unlike other parts of India that can feel noisy and intense, Rishikesh has a more gentle, spiritual sway. Life evolves around honouring and blessing the Ganga. Taking a dip in the Ganga is an act of devotion that cleanses and heals your soul. And it literally takes your breath away!

Once you land in Rishikesh and experience the spiritual way-of-life, you’ll never want to leave. You can feel the high vibe of energy – and life just takes on a beautiful flow.

Different to a holiday, going on retreat is both an inner and an outer journey.

You’ll relax, and seek to know yourself more authentically. We embrace each day for its self-discovery, learning and meaning. We practice letting-go of expectations, habits and mental obstacles to awaken the depths of our hearts and our Being – all made possible by Rishikesh’s unique way of stirring the soul. 

“Enriching. Moving. Balancing. Transforming. Cultural, powerful and humbling. I would highly recommend your India Retreat to others. I loved the fact that we visited places and attended ceremonies that I would never have known about or found myself visit – and that made it very special, and I felt privileged to experience that. The group was very accepting and non-judgmental, so there was a freedom to express oneself. I now understand when Natalie said ‘that if you incorporate yoga practice into your daily life, it will change your life.’ For the first time, I am feeling a sense of deep inner peace.” ~ Cassie Hayward

Enliven ~ Yogic Practice              

India teaches us how to be Yoga and to live Yoga – not just how to do yoga.

Each morning you will greet the day around sunrise with sadhana, spiritual practice. I offer a mindfulness practice with meditation, mantra, pranayama (breath work) and yoga asana (both slow-flow and restorative posture styles). It’s suitable for students of all levels and abilities.

If you are a bit rusty or newer to yoga, no problem. There will be plenty of options given so you can learn how to safely manage any limitations or injuries – and enjoy an effective practice that meets your needs. If you have your own practice, you’re welcome to practice alone, or to join the group, as you choose.

My teaching style is clear and grounded, yet also rich with wisdom, heart and philosophy. And I love telling stories about the Vedic gods and goddesses! I hold the space for you to connect with yourself, regardless of how long you’ve been practising. You get to just to ‘be’ in your practice. Challenges will be there. Yet everything is invitational. And it’s never about ‘achieving’ or ‘competition’.

“We are not just conscious human beings. We are the Pure Limitless Consciousness itself, reflected through the mind as Awareness and manifesting itself in the form of this universe. It cannot be grasped by the intellectual mind, but can only be recognised as our True Nature.” ~ Swami Atmananda Udasin

Our daily sadhana is an essential part of our retreat. Firstly because it establishes the connection with our heart – with our Self. Secondly, with each other. And thirdly, it establishes our intentions for the day ahead.

From your daily practice alone, any stress from your existing life will dissolve. And you’re likely to become stronger (both inner and outer), more agile and more open-hearted. And very often there’s a greater clarity to be found in who you are and what matters most to you in your life.

“Thank you Nat for running such a wonderful India Retreat for all of us. I discovered how much I love chanting! Taking time out for myself to explore yoga, yoga philosophy, meditation and how they all flow into one-another, I can really feel the benefits. And I found my groove. Reconnecting with our True Being, once all the layers are stripped back, it was a truly special time.” ~ Dr Allanna Treweek

Explore ~ Retreat Daily Program

You will visit local temples for darshan (auspicious blessings). And you’ll visit ashrams for satsang (spiritual talks) and agni hotra (fire ceremonies) with authentic gurus and Yoga masters.

As you can imagine, in Rishikesh, there are gurus and there are gurus! I’m very selective about those we spend time with. Some of the wealth of wisdom and teachings will include time at the: Ajatananda Ashram; Parmarth Niketan Ashram and; Akhanda Yoga Institute.

The very presence of a Yoga master (swami) can instil profound peace and love – and I love to create the opportunities for you to experience this within yourself.

Our daily program offers a balance of yogic practice, day trips and excursions to sacred places, planned group meals and free personal time. We will walk every day, getting to mingle with the friendly locals. Just walking around Rishikesh is a wonderful practice in itself!

Highlights of our planned eco-friendly and sacred day trips include:

  • Vashishta’s Cave – a sacred cave where the wise sage Vashistha meditated for many years, with a profoundly peaceful energy.
  • Navdanya – an organic farming and women-led movement established by Vandana Shiva, that’s about ‘the Yoga of the Earth’ for the protection of biological and cultural diversity.
  • Waterfalls – hiking on foot through lush monkey forests, with fresh clear mountain water to swim.

Our schedule will be flexible, roughly-structured and adaptable to suit local traffic conditions, festivals and other unforeseen happenings, that always form part of the ‘India experience.’

Nourishment

During your free time you are welcome to rest and reflect by the peaceful waters of the Ganga. Or enjoy a healing Ayurvedic massage or body treatment, venture out for a walk or enjoy the colourful shopping that India is renowned for.

The food in Rishikesh is amazing! Both Indian and western-style cafes (often organic) are everywhere. There’s excellent coffee and sensational chai! Because we are on retreat, we will refrain from consuming alcohol – but you’ll find you won’t even feel like drinking. Fresh mango lassis are a great alternative.

All the food we eat will be cooked and served with love – and full of local flavour.

You’ll discover that there’s something special about eating food that’s prepared with a devotional attitude. Two delicious vegetarian meals (with vegan options) are included each day – the third meal is flexible and up to you, depending on your appetite and our schedule.

North Indian cuisine is tasty and can be spicy, typically with roti bread, dahl, savoury rice, samosas and vegetable curries. You’ll have the choice of spicy or not! The local fruit is fresh and plentiful, including mangoes, bananas, pineapple and paw paw.

“I really loved the ‘deep dive’ of your India Pilgrimage. Your incredible spiritual knowledge made the difference for me. It was the combination of a spiritual focus, Natalie’s presence, excellent guidance and lovely people. I also liked the pace – much slower to focus on the spiritual aspects of India. There were many highlights but the Ganges and the Hare Krishna temple were my favourites. Thank you so much.” ~ Dee Mahon

Retreat Travel & Accommodation

We will arrive and depart from Delhi, the capital city in the North-East of India. A luxury coach will transport us away from the busy metropolis, through the picturesque mountains to Rishikesh.

Our ‘home’ accommodation is at a wonderful Three Star Guesthouse, where we are hosted by a beautiful Indian family who take care of our every need – and where you will feel right at home! The guesthouse is super-clean, with an inhouse cook and cafe offering delicious vegetarian (and vegan) meals.

Both private and twin-share rooms are light, spacious, colourful and comfortable with everything you need including: wifi, air conditioning, fan, electric kettle and writing desk. Plus a balcony with fly-wire door. Each room has a private ensuite bathroom with western toilet and hot water 24/7 (important creature comforts to have in India!)

Our guesthouse is in Tapovan, a quiet hillside locality of Rishikesh, just a short walk from the Ganges river. It’s characterised by walking alleys and ashrams. And is great for exploring on foot. There are creative cafes, massage treatments and organic grocers, all within a stone’s throw of our door. And instead of cars, there are more wandering cows and friendly neighbourhood dogs!

As a special treat, we’ll have access to a swimming pool, tranquilly located at a nearby hotel – its a lovely option for the times you choose to relax, away from others.

All-in-all, we will do our best to live simply, follow local customs and leave a gentle ‘footprint’. Do BYO keep cup.

Who is this Retreat For?

My Lotus of the Heart India Retreat 2024 is for you if you:

  • You are curious about life and committed to your own journey of healing and self-discovery;
  • Spirituality is something you value (and practice yoga, meditation, prayer, mindful walking, contemplation, chanting or other forms of mind-body practice) and want to rekindle, deepen or to experience the benefits of a daily practice in a spiritual culture;
  • You love or are drawn to India. And you want to go with a trusty guide;
  • You are lit up about supporting others on the retreat – knowing that our happiness is greater when we give, work together and create an environment of love, support, and care for others;
  • And you trust that everything happens for a reason, that it’s no mistake you are here NOW, reading this.

Lastly, if you are completely new to yoga, expect a luxury escape or prefer to travel alone – even though you might be really keen to go to India – sorry, this retreat is not for you.

Your Retreat Facilitator ~ More About Me

There are those who travel to India once. And then there are those who will travel there for the rest of their lives – I am the latter! I just love India.

I first went to India in 2007 for yoga studies and ended up living in Mysore for six months.

From the elephant sanctuaries and ancient temples in Tamil Nadu, to the beaches in Goa, to the metropolis of Mumbai and the holy banks of the Ganga, I have travelled (and practised!) extensively through Southern and Northern India on eight occasions. And I’ve successfully led international yoga groups to India in 2016 and 2019.

Yoga has been the foundation of my life for over 15 years. And my dharma is to serve others.

Most importantly, on the Lotus of the Heart India Retreat 2024 I go all-out so that you have the best, most heartfelt and rewarding experiences.        

“It was a magical fortnight in India and I thank Natalie for giving so much of herself. It went deeper than I had expected, and flowed so beautifully. The afternoon debriefs were tremendously helpful in understanding and integrating the benefits of yoga and meditation into my life. I am already looking forward to the next India retreat!” ~ Cheryl Ramalho

What You will Receive

With the organising done for you, you get to relax and reap all of the integrated benefits that time-out for your body, mind and soul offers.

The retreat cost includes: 

  • 1 night twin-share/single (extra surcharge) deluxe room at the Lemon Tree Premier Hotel Delhi;
  • 13 nights’ twin-share/single room (extra surcharge) three-star guesthouse accommodation in a quiet Rishikesh location;
  • Airport transfers to and from Delhi international airport;
  • All group coach and taxi transport;
  • Twice daily vegetarian meals, either inhouse or in local restaurants;
  • Daily yoga and meditation classes in a private rooftop yoga shala;
  • Special farewell dinner;
  • 3 creative sessions, exploring yogic song, dance or art;
  • Day pass access to a nearby swimming pool;
  • 2 Ayurvedic massages/body treatments; and
  • Entrance fees to temples and day trip destinations.  

The retreat cost does not include airfares to/from India, travel insurance… nor your inhouse laundry.

Places are limited to 12 people – and all previous groups have booked out. If India calls you and this retreat resonates, you are encouraged to get in touch and book early to secure a place!

Your Retreat Investment

Dates:      Sunday 20 October – Saturday 2 November 2024 (14 days, 13 nights)

Total Cost:

AUD $3700
AUD $1300
AUD $3900
AUD $400

Early Bird Special Paid in Full by 26 April 2024 – SAVE $200
Payment Plan (x3 monthly payments)
Paid in Full from 27 April 2024
Private Room Surcharge (optional)

Before you book, please familiarise yourself with the Retreat Refund Policy.

Travel Insurance & Visa:  As part of the terms and conditions, you are required to take out comprehensive travel insurance. You must also obtain a Tourist Visa to permit entry into India prior to leaving your country of residence. Indian visas can take days or sometimes weeks to process and should be planned well ahead of time! Australian residents can apply for an online e-visa and details will be provided upon registration.                     

Getting to/from India:  You need to arrange your own flights to and from the Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport. Return flights from Perth to Delhi are reasonable in October and can cost as little as AUD $1000. Your arrival (flight) in Delhi can be any time on (and must be no later than) Sunday 20 October, and departure (flight) can be any time on (and must be no earlier than) Saturday 2 November.

On arrival at the airport, our friendly local Indian tour guide will meet your flight and accompany you to the Lemon Tree Premier Hotel to join our group. We will stay the first night in Delhi then travel to Rishikesh the following morning.

Once you make payment, you will receive an email receipt that confirms your registration. Then in the coming days, I will be in touch with a welcome email that guides you on your way to India.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t be shy – reach out! All queries are very welcome. You can get in touch with me via the Contact page.
                
I’d love you to join me for this unique, transformational India retreat!