Ashtanga yoga and Buddhist meditation retreat with Ellen Johannesen

Dates: 14 September 2019 - 20 September 19
Taught by: Ellen Johannesen
Location: Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Pharping, Nepal
Cost: 115,000 Nepali Rupees twin-share (at the time of writing, approx USD $1,050 or GBP £825). $120 supplement for a private room.

This September join senior Ashtanga teacher and Buddhist scholar Ellen Johannesen for a transformative one-week retreat that explores both the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice and Buddhist philosophy and meditation.


Hosted in one of the world’s most special locations – a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the foothills of the Himalaya – this retreat  provides a unique opportunity to delve deep into the Ashtanga practice, as well as learn about the philosophical foundation for meditation. Discover how these methods and ideas can deepen and expand your yoga practice and bring a sense of purpose and joy to your life. 


Experience living in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal, visit sacred sites and explore yoga and Buddhist philosophy under the guidance of an approachable and engaging teacher who has dedicated a lifetime to understanding these traditions.

Each day will begin with the counted Ashtanga vinyasa method. Ellen’s playful and creative approach to movement is inspired by her knowledge of functional anatomy and her background in dance. With more than 20 years of teaching experience, Ellen is able to use her in depth knowledge of body and mind to support each student individually. 


Afternoon workshops will  explore Ashtanga technique and Buddhist philosophy and meditation. Discuss the central ideas of Buddhism and learn transformative mediation techniques practiced by the yogis of the Himalaya in situ. 


Overview of this Ashtanga retreat in Nepal

The retreat will include:

  • Daily morning asana practice
  • Afternoon workshops on yoga and Buddhist philosophy and meditation 
  • Morning and evening meditation
  • Breath and Pranayama work
  • Dharma philosophy from the head teacher of the monastery
  • Visits/hikes to some of the great pilgrimage points nearby
  • Time for quiet contemplation in the spectacular location and joyful connection with like-minded others


The retreat welcomes all. Those with an existing Ashtanga Vinyasa practice will be supported through morning Mysore to deepen their practice, while Ellen will work with newer practitioners to guide them into the practice. All will find inspiration in the afternoon workshops and retreat journey.

Ashtanga yoga is a synchronised breath-and-movement system in which we flow with each posture, following the breath as we move. Each asana has a unique choreography of movements into and out of it, and it is this focus that ultimately makes this beautiful practice become a moving meditation.

Ellen Johannesen

Ellen Johannesen had studied and practiced Ashtanga for over 20 years. Following a career in contemporary dance, Ellen discovered the practice of Ashtanga in 1994 at Jivamukti Yoga Center New York.

A keen practitioner ever since, she has studied with teachers worldwide, was authorized from KPJAYI, Mysore by Sharath Rangaswamy in 2006, and intensively studied for two years with John Scott.

She also founded the first and still the leading Ashtanga Yoga studio in Norway, Ashtanga Yoga Oslo, where she continues to guest-teach when in Norway and which hosts top international teachers during their Norway visits.

In more recent years Ellen has dedicated herself to Buddhist studies, living mostly in India and Nepal. A growing interest in Buddhist Philosophy and Tibetan language brought her first to Bylakuppe, South India, where she spent 2 years living in a Tibetan Monastery, and then to Kathmandu where she trained as a Tibetan translator at Rangjung Yeshe Insitute, Kathmandu, where she is currently continuing her studies. Ellen has a keen interest in sharing her knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and practices. 

She is the perfect teacher to share this healing practice and this beautiful country.

Venue of this yoga retreat in Nepal

For Tibetan Buddhists, the hills of Pharping where we immerse for our retreat together is considered as sacred as Bodhgaya in India, as it is where is where the second buddha Guru Padmasambhava (“Guru Rinpoche”) attained the state of enlightenment, before going on to establish Buddhism in Tibet.



The monastery which is our home during the retreat makes important contributions to the preservation and sharing of the Buddhist teachings, and our stay there helps to fund education for the many young monks from remote areas of Nepal.

The lovely guest accommodation has spacious and modern rooms, comfortable beds for deep and refreshing sleeps, all with attached bathrooms.

The yoga space overlooks the rice paddies of the Kathmandu valley, and – when the weather is clear – gives us stunning views of the sunrise over the Himalayas.


It is the perfect place to go within and study.

Accommodation is on a twin-share basis, and the retreat fee includes a delicious, vegetarian and substantial brunch and wonderful healthy dinner each day. 

Course fee

The fee for the course is 115,000 Nepali Rupees. For an indication on what the rate is in your currency, see xe.comAt the time of writing, this equates to approx USD $1,050 or GBP £825. Payment details will be sent to you on confirmation of your place.

The fee includes all your retreat costs from when we meet you to when we drop you back: return transfer from central Kathmandu to the monastery in a comfortable private bus, twin-share accommodation, all your delicious vegetarian meals, teaching from Ellen, trips during the retreat. 

A limited number of single rooms are available for a $120 supplement: please enquire early if you’d like one.


Next steps

Simply compete and submit a registration form and we’ll help you from there.

Book this course