YOGA + MEDITATION + CULTURE
SEPTEMBER 18th – OCTOBER 1st, 2020
Mystical India Retreat
YOGA + MEDITATION + CULTURE
SEPTEMBER 18th – OCTOBER 1st, 2020
Urban Balance invites you to join certified Yoga & Pilates Instructor, Rebecca Schefstrom on a magical journey through India. Steeped in ancient history, sacred rituals, holy sites, and colorful landscapes. Explore the beautiful northern part of India, visiting Agra, Vrindavan, Jaipur, Pushkar, Rishikesh and Delhi.
Each day is designed with every detail specially chosen for its unique sense of purpose, history, and ambiance. From distinctive excursions to hand-picked boutique hotels, this Mystical India retreat will be an experience of a lifetime.
Cultivating a daily practice creates strength, grace, and balance to help guide you through your journey and in your life back home. Greet each day and channel the spiritual energy of India through an early morning breathwork and meditation practice, followed by a 90-minute Hatha yoga class. In the evening enjoy some downtime in the gorgeous pools at the stunning properties were staying at.
A variety of adventures await at each destination including fire ceremonies, cave explorations, temple inspirations, and visits to many historical sites. A walking tour will take you through local villages and to the mountain top in Rishikesh. You’ll also get to see the bustling city of Jaipur wake up. Enjoy a sunset boat ride on the Yamuna river in Vrindavan and a camel ride in the Pushkar desert. Visit an elephant sanctuary outside of Jaipur and many more hand-picked excursions each day. We have such a special retreat planned full of heartfelt practices, devotional ceremonies, cultural immersion, and time to bond and share delicious food and epic adventures with your fellow participants.
Unplug from your day-to-day life and gift yourself time to be free and experience something completely outside your current reality. Time to strengthen your practice and experience new adventures. Explore ancient and effective tools that can help infuse your daily life with inspiration, devotion and balance far after you come home from your trip. Keeping a strong practice while traveling and experiencing exotic locations awakens a greater potential as you replace familiar routines with new, deeper understanding of yourself.
Flight Details: Delhi | September 17th-18th
Plan to arrive in New Delhi at Indira Gandhi International Airport either on the evening of Sept. 17th or early morning of the 18th. The retreat officially starts on September 18th, 2020. Urban Balance will arrange all flights within India. There is an additional fee for these intra-flights on top of the retreat price. This fee must be paid in prior to the retreat. If you arrive on the evening of September 17th, Urban Balance recommends booking a room at the Radisson Hotel near the airport. All retreat participants will meet up for a buffet breakfast at the Radisson on the 18th and then hop on the Urban Balance bus to begin our Mystical India retreat.
Day 1: Agra | September 18th-19th
Our first stop is Agra. This city sits on the banks of the Yamuna river that was ruled by the Mughal dynasty for centuries, along with other rulers and is full of historical monuments. Among those that we will visit are Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal. The Double Tree hotel by Hilton provides comfortable sleeping rooms and space for an early evening practice and buffet dinner.
A very early morning wakeup call provides an opportunity to see the majestic Taj Mahal at sunrise, led by a professional tour guide. Full of symmetry, white marble, and preciseness, the Taj was built for the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan’s wife and is known as one of the seven wonders of the world. It was created for her as a remembrance of their love. Afterwards, head back to the hotel for a morning practice and buffet breakfast. After checkout, enjoy a scenic drive to Vrindavan.
Day 2-3: Vrindavan | September 19th-21st
In Vrindavan, one of the holiest cities in India, experience a place that is abundant with spiritual energy. Known as the place where the Hindu deity Krishna spent his childhood, there are many temples dedicated to Krishna and his beloved, Radha. People come to this place on a pilgrimage to pay them respect and to participate in several festivals held here yearly.
Upon arrival, there is a buffet lunch. In the afternoon, a guided walking tour through the auspicious city. Enjoy taking time to immerse yourself in daily life of the local people. We’ll visit the famous “Prem Mandir” which has some of the most beautiful art illustrations of Krishna’s life and can help to gain a better understanding about Krishna’s and Radha’s life together.
Afterwards, head back to the hotel for dinner and a restful night of sleep. After morning practice on the outside terrace and a buffet breakfast, a professional guide gives us a very special tour of Vrindavan. First stop is visiting some widowers where we can do seva/offering for the ladies. Next, we take a short bus ride out into a village for a special meditation practice, under a 5000-year-old tree, where Krishna played his flute to his beloved cows. If we’re lucky, we may even hear him playing in the tree.
Ashu, our devoted guide shares some of the ancient and playful stories of Krishna and Radha to help explain why this place has such vibrant and special energy. In Vrindavan, you can experience different kinds of yoga that’s taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita such as bhakti yoga “loving devotion” and karma yoga “selfless action” as well as Jnana Yoga “path of knowledge”.
In the evening, a majestic sunset boat ride on the sacred Yamuna river and participation in the evening Yamuna Aarti on the ancient Ghats, and a must visit to the Banke Bihari temple before heading back at the hotel for dinner and a good night sleep! In the morning we’ll practice, eat breakfast, and enjoy a drive and lunch on our way to Jaipur.
Day 4-7: Jaipur | September 21st – 24th, 2020
Experience a completely different kind of India visiting Jaipur in the colorful land of Rajasthan. Spend two nights outside of Jaipur, in the rural countryside, at the Samode Baghe. Settle in and enjoy some quiet space to take in the new surroundings, nature, fountains and birds. Based on the Royal tents during the Mughal era, stay in a tented cottage with all the amenities one requires. In the evening, enjoy some downtime, go for a swim, get a massage or do nothing! In the morning, enjoy a lovely yoga practice held in the gardens by the lotus pond.
After practice and breakfast, we head out to the elephant sanctuary where we get to be with these incredibly majestic animals. We get to feed them and help wash them. Be sure to bring an extra pair of clothes because you are going to get drenched! We also get to go for a nice walk with the elephants. There is no riding the elephants. Afterwards, there is lunch in the village. In the evening, partake in a special gala dinner at the Samode Palace. Be sure to wear your best outfit!
The next day, after morning practice and breakfast, head to the famous Amber Fort and stop for lunch and a little shopping on the way to the hotel. Spend the next two nights at the Samode Haveli located in the heart of the walled pink city of Jaipur known for its rich history of palaces, historical sites, and bazaars with some of the finest shopping in jewels, shawls, rugs, block printing and handicrafts in the country. After morning practice and breakfast, option to head for al half-day guided tour of the main sites includes: Palace of Winds, City Palace and the Observatory. In the evening, you’ll have the option to meet with a palm reader. Dinner is on your own.
The next day, an early morning walk through the markets provides a chance to see how the bustling city wakes up and locals prepare for their day. After our walk we’ll have a short practice and breakfast before heading to Pushkar.
Day 8 & 9: Pushkar | September 25-27th
After arriving at the hotel, take rest and meet up for a sunset camel ride in the desert. In the evening, there is free time to walk around the city and enjoy some shopping or have dinner somewhere. The next day after practice and breakfast, for those to want to hike up to the Gayatri or Savatri temples, Rebecca can escort people. Otherwise, it’s a free day to explore whatever you feel like doing. We’ll stay 2 nights at the Pushkar Westin. On the morning of the 27th, we’ll drive back to Jaipur to take a flight to Dehradun which is the closest airport to Rishikesh.
Day 10-13: Rishikesh | September 27-30, 2020
Our retreat continues into the foothills of the majestic Himalayan Mountains. Rishikesh is known for being the birthplace of yoga. It is a magnet for sadhus, yogis and soul searchers from all over the world who come to bathe in the sacred Ganges, study yoga and live in yoga ashrams.
Nestled about 30 min. outside of Rishikesh and surrounded by exquisite natural beauty is the Veda 5 Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat Center. Veda 5 is known for their Ayurveda treatments and serves organic vegetarian cuisine, grown from their own gardens.
There is time to breathe in fresh mountain air and let nature, beauty and stillness begin to work their magic, to create an unforgettable wellness experience toward the end of your retreat. Each participant receives an Ayurveda “detox wrap” combo treatment. A sacred fire ceremony held in the morning, and optional mountain hike to see the beautiful landscape and visit a local village are among your opportunities for adventure.
Additionally, you may take an all-day excursion to Rishikesh with a visit to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram located within the Rajaji National Park. This ashram received world attention when it briefly housed the members of the legendary English rock band The Beatles in 1968. After exploring the ashram, visit some shops and head to the Laxman Jhula bridge, one of the suspension bridges that crosses the river Ganges.
Next stop, the Vashistha Cave located on the east bank of the River Ganga where, according to legend, Sage Vashistha meditated. Spend some time taking in the emerald sacred waters and beautiful scenery. Take a dip if you feel called to do so.
In the evening, head to the Ganga Aarti at the Triveni Ghat and then back to the retreat center for a farewell dinner. On your last day, there will be a morning practice, and breakfast before flying back to New Delhi.
Day 14 Delhi | September 30th – October 1st
In the morning of, enjoy a last yoga practice followed by breakfast. For those who have a later flight time visit a few popular shopping areas to pick up some last-minute treasures. If you have time, Delhi has so much more to offer. It might be worth staying an extra day or two.
For those who do (Please let us know!), more information is provided on suggested attractions and assistance with an extended booking at the Imperial. Head home having made a lifetime of memories and new friends.
Notice: Mystical India Retreat has been postponed until 2021. Stay tuned for more info.
Mystical India Retreat
YOGA + MEDITATION + CULTURE
September 18th – October 1st, 2020
Early Bird Price by April 1st:
Double Occupancy: $4895 | Regular Price: $5195
After April 1st
Single Occupancy: $5595 | Regular Price: $5895
$1000 deposit to hold a spot, due upon registration
Flights within India – additional cost TBD
- 14 days 13 nights in India
- All lodging including hotel taxes
- Roundtrip Airport Transfers to all hotels
- Daily Meditation & Yoga Class
- All Transportation
- Daily Breakfast, Lunches, and most Dinners included (a couple of meals are on your own)
- Professionally Guided Tours of historical sites and temples
- All entrance fees paid
- Elephant Sanctuary and Lunch
- Sunset Camel Ride
- Special evening at the Samode Palace
- Sunset Boat Ride in Vrindavan and Yamuna Arti
- One Ayurveda combo treatment at Veda 5 or equivalent to price
- Taxes & Tips for all drivers, guides, hotel staff
- Farewell Dinner
“Urban Balance provided a wonderful trip to India. They really made me feel welcomed and cared for. It was a great way to be introduced to yoga and meditation. I never felt intimidated to participate.” Susan G. | 2019 India Retreat Participant
“I came to India with an open mind. Many people said i was crazy and they would never go. But I wanted to experience it for myself. Knowing Rebecca had been there 15 times before and knowing how much India means to her I knew we were in for a real treat. Well to say our expectations were exceeded is an understatement. From the hotels, to the excursions, to the fire ceremonies to the ashrams to the yoga and meditation sessions to the food, every detail Rebecca put into this retreat was a “wow” moment. Rebecca provides a balance of experiencing luxury and poverty, religious and devotional practices. The two weeks flew by and I could of easily stayed another week. If you’ve ever wanted to experience India, I highly recommend Rebecca and the entire Urban Balance team. I promise you won’t be disappointed.” – Ryan P. | 2019 India Retreat Participant
- Inter-flights (Rishikesh)
- Extra Spa Treatments
- Mini Bar in Room
- A few dinners
- Extra tips
Things to Bring
Yoga/Pilates Clothing • Yoga Mat • Shawl • Scarf • Layers for cooler mornings & evenings • Comfortable Walking Shoes • Sneakers • Swimsuit • Sunglasses • Sunscreen • Journal • Adapters/Converters (230v) • Snacks • Medicines • Insect Repellant • Hand Sanitizer • Camera/iPhone • Hat • Camera or iPhone
All classes are all-levels and no prior experience is needed. Whether a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, there is common ground to practice together. Each class will be planned for the participants attending the retreat and the instructor will provide modifications as needed.
Early morning practice includes; breathwork, subtle body practices, and guided meditation. Participants are instructed on ancient techniques used to promote concentration and allow for a deeper experience. Part of this practice includes chanting mantras, learning hand mudras and kriyas which all help to calm the mind and prepare you for meditation. Participants are guided through a variety of meditations and given quiet space to apply what is learned. This is appropriate for all levels from the brand-new beginner to the seasoned meditator.
The morning sessions are inspired by Hatha, Forrest, and Ashtanga yoga. Each practice is thoughtfully sequenced and tailored to each participant.
The class can be athletic at times, to help build internal heat which is incredibly detoxifying. Each practice includes core strengthening exercises. These help with strength, flexibility, and better posture. Overall, the practice is designed to increase energy levels and awareness through techniques including targeted breathwork, focus on proper alignment, and hands-on adjustments to support each participant. Poses
are often held longer and some parts of the class will be a slower flow-style. You’ll leave each feeling rejuvenated, energized, balanced, and ready to take on the day’s adventures.
If you have your own yoga mat, we encourage you to bring it. We plan to bring yoga mats and straps.
The alchemy of daily breathwork, meditation, yoga, ceremony, and healthy meals combined with spectacular views and serene grounds will support and nourish the soul, far beyond the two weeks of this journey. Come home forever changed, with a glow in your heart, unforgettable memories, and a special bond with your fellow travelers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is our destination airport?
Book your destination to arrive at the New Delhi International Airport on September 18th, 2020. We recommend you book your flight time to arrive close to 6 a.m. local time so you can meet up with the group and make an early morning connecting flight with the group. If you come in on the night before on the 17th, we will help you arrange a hotel close to the airport. Allow for possible travel delays, so please do not cut your travel time too closely.
What is weather like in September & October?
Temperatures are very warm in September/October and cooler in the early morning and evening time. The daytime averages around 90F. Nights will be warm but pleasant. You still want to bring additional layers to keep you warm just in case. (light jacket, light sweater) A shawl is good to pack and is nice to have on hand for the evening and early morning practice. A scarf is nice for the daytime.
Do I need travel insurance?
We highly recommend it.
Do I need a visa?
Yes, you will need a visa for India. India now offers E-Visa online which makes it much easier process. We recommend CIBT visas. Visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/ for more information.
Do I have to share a room?
This a small group of only 15 participants. We will do our best to pair you up with someone. If you have a travel partner, please let us know so we can pair you both together in the same room.
What if I want a single room?
There will be a few rooms available for those who prefer single accommodation. However, there is an increase in price for single occupancy.
What if my partner/friend doesn’t do yoga or meditation?
All are welcome. If your partner does not want to participate, there are plenty of other activities or time to relax on the grounds during the classes. Who knows, they may change their mind later and participate!
What if I am a beginner or haven’t done yoga or meditation?
Each class is customized for the participants at the retreat. Classes are all-level, and the instructor is very qualified in guiding students from first-timers to the most advanced. If you haven’t tried any of the systems, the instructor will guide you along the way and encourage you and offer plenty of modifications to fit specific needs.
Do I have to attend all the classes?
No, all classes are on a volunteer basis. If you feel like sleeping in, reading by the pool, or just taking some alone time, we encourage you to go at your own pace.
Do I need immunizations?
Always check for the latest updates on CDC recommendations. The website address is www.cdc.gov.
Is there anything special I need to bring?
If you prefer to bring your own yoga mat or props, we encourage you to do so. Bring your own medicine.
What if I have a food allergy or dietary restriction?
Please e-mail email@example.com any food allergy or dietary restrictions and we will work with the hotels to make any changes.
What kind of food will I be having?
Most of our meals will be Vegetarian. Non-Veg and alcohol are not allowed in Rishikesh, Vrindavan. The place we are staying at in Varanasi, only serves vegetarian food. However, in Jaipur and Delhi there will be a few options to eat non-veg or have some alcohol if you’d like to.
May I spread my payments out for the trip?
Yes, we will need a $1000 deposit at time of sign up to hold your spot. After that you may divide the remaining balance into two or three payments. The entire balance must be paid in full 90 days prior to the retreat, by June 1st, 2020.
How do I sign up?
- Click the “registration form” button below and download the PDF to your computer.
- Read and complete the electronic PDF and required signatures.
- Save the filled-out PDF forms to desktop.
- Email your completed registration forms to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call or email us to make payment arrangements.
A deposit of $1000 will be required at time of sign up to hold your reservation. You are welcome to pay the retreat in full, if you prefer. You can pay either by credit card with a 3% charge for credit card fees through the Urban Balance website, or by personal check which is our preference. We will send you an official confirmation and welcome email with a terms and conditions sheet, liability waiver and emergency contact form to fill out, sign, and return to us.
About Urban Balance
Rebecca Perry Schefstrom
Rebecca is a certified yoga and Pilates instructor and an experienced meditation leader. She has a natural ability to empower, motivate, and guide her students in support of their wellness and spiritual goals. Rebecca embraces a practical and playful approach to her teaching. Her professional and confident manner ensures that students feel cared for and at ease. She loves working with people of all ages, from beginners to the most advanced students.
In 2014, Rebecca founded Urban Balance, a corporate wellness company that brings yoga, Pilates, meditation, massage, and nutrition to the workplace. Urban Balance’s on-site programs help busy professionals increase their health and happiness and maintain a healthy work-life balance, while helping companies achieve their business goals. Urban Balance also offers local retreats and yearly international retreats.
Rebecca is certified by Stott Pilates on all apparatuses and all levels. She has a 200-hour Ashtanga Yoga Certification from the Mount Madonna Center in Watson, CA. Rebecca has also completed a 200-hour Forrest Yoga teacher training program in Santa Monica, CA with Ana Forrest, as well as a one-year mentorship program in 2012.
She is continuously evolving her own personal yoga and Pilates practice, creating the space within to nourish her dedication to the world as a teacher. Rebecca strives to embody one of her favorite teacher’s quotes: “Teach to learn,” while learning from her students and her own practice. She has traveled to many places around the world and has been to India more than a dozen times. It has been her dream for many years to combine her love of teaching and traveling. Rebecca is excited to have the chance to bring a yoga group to India again in 2020.