Across religions, nationalities, ages and interests, the Himalayan Mountains are holy. To those who live amongst them, the mountains are sacred places to be treated with the utmost veneration. Certain mountains are even worshiped as no less than gods on earth. To outsiders, the mountains are a different sort of god, and climbers travel from all corners of the globe to try their skill at earth’s highest peaks. For all, these mountains connect with the core of our humanity to command a reverence. And when gazing up, we’re all stirred and challenged to reach higher, to be better.
In a place so drenched in spirituality, to trek without respecting that would be like walking the whole way with your eyes on your own feet. There must be a reason multiple religions find connection to their different gods through these peaks, while the secular stand in awe and the most cynical mind is silenced. If meditation had a Mecca, here it is. So when we found a trek that added yoga as well as meditation, it seemed perfect. If this meditation thing ended up being a sham, at least our bodies would get more flexible.
We signed up with the recommended Purna Yoga for an 11-day trek up to Annapurna Base Camp. Over the course of each day, our guide, Chandra, led us in a variety of meditations, breathing exercises, and yoga practices as we hiked higher towards ABC. While we made our way through the gorgeous terrain, the stretches were easier for both our bodies and our minds.
There are countless resources on meditation and mindfulness, even for us western skeptics (we recommend 10% Happier by Dan Harris). Our experience and the evidence slowly worked on our doubt. What started as crunchy hippy talk began making more and more sense. The miracle can only be laid at the base of the great peaks. We can say, with the many who climbed before us, that these mountains changed us. Now, in addition to our feeling a reverence and awe towards the Himalayas, we’re grateful.
Blakely left her job as an advertising producer in New York to turn professional traveler with her husband. As they explore, learn, give, and get lost, thrilled, and changed through distant lands, she recounts it all on her travel blog and enables couch travelers everywhere. She now contributes to Glamping.com as a guest writer.