Israel - Where East Meets West Yoga Adventure
About This Event
East meets West on this special journey to Israel, a land steeped in rich history and a deep-rooted spirituality.
Our 8 night / 9 day adventure together will offer a taste of the diversity of landscape and culture, food and history of this small country (the size of New Jersey!). Accompanied by hand-picked local guides who are “in-the-know” you’ll visit the lush landscapes of the upper Galil, the beautiful Ein Gedi (the mysterious desert oasis) and you’ll float in the healing waters of the Dead Sea. We’ll visit the worshipped, ancient city of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, Israel’s second largest city nestled on the beautiful Mediterranean sea.
We have partnered with the Society for Nature Preservation in Israel and Shatour tours to curate an experience that will be beyond any typical “tour”. Our daily activities will be complemented by our daily group yoga/meditation practices surrounded by stunning, unique Israeli landscapes such as the quirky, ancient city of Safed (Tzefat), the Hahula Valley and Mount Tavor.
We are limiting this experience to 16 students. Please scroll down to reserve your space with a deposit.
I loved the trip. Jerusalem left an indelible imprint on me as did Golan and the other holy sites we visited. Everyone of any faith should visit Israel. It is a place that is both eternal and anachronistic to our secular world. – Craig L. Dana is the perfect teacher for the Israel retreat. Her knowledge of her homeland, soft and forgiving approach to yoga, peacefulness, and fun-loving spirit made an indelible memory. – David M.
- ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS:
- Northern Israel– Safed, The Galilee and Tiberius The first three days are dedicated to Northern Israel. Upon our arrival, after we settle in we will begin in the ancient city of Safed where it is said that Noah’s sons (from the ark) originally settled. The city is pregnant with folklore and legend, including that of Amuka, a sacred valley where worshippers visit graves of holy sages. We will hike in Agamon Hahula– home to the largest bird migration in the world and visit the lush, green banks of the Banias river. We’ll visit On our second Hammat Gader for the luscious hot springs and we’ll experience the wonder of the Mosaic Beit Alpha Synagogue and fill our bellies with a delicious hummus lunch before driving up to Mount Gilboa for a fascinating biblical tour.
- Jerusalem (Yerushalayim in Hebrew and Al-Quds in Arabic, meaning the Holy city) is located in between The Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and considered sacred to the three major Monotheistic world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.We will explore the Jewish, Muslim and Christian quarters of the City of David (now referred to as the “old city” which is covered with ancient buildings and tunnels built as far back as 4th Millennium BCE! We will visit the Western Wall’s underground tunnels and the Holy Temple Mount itself. Jerusalem is also home to a world famous marketplace: Suk Mahane Yehuda, which we will visit to satisfy our hungry bellies after exploring.
- Massada, The Dead Sea and Ein Gedi – Massada, an ancient fortress with a dark history overlooking the wondrous Dead Sea is located in the Judean Desert and is one of Israel’s most popular destinations. After our hike up the plateau we will treat ourselves to a much deserved lunch and swim in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is unique – the water is so heavily concentrated with salt and minerals that it feels oily to the touch and provides the mud beneath it healing properties unavailable anywhere else in the world. No matter how much you try, you literally can’t sink. You may see locals reading newspapers and sipping coffee while floating in the water.
- Ein Gedi, the Israeli desert oasis is an absolutely stunning nature preserve. We will visit botanical gardens and possibly take a melliw night hike at Havarei Vadi, a beautiful moonlit marlstone (limestone and mudstone) trail.
- Negev to Khan Be’erotayim – A uniquely special desert experience, we’ll spend an afternoon and overnight at Khan Be’rotayim Beduin style! You’ll be taken back in time where a grove of giant tamarisk trees meet two ancient water used by hunters and gatherers some 55,000 years ago. In the shade of the ancient acacia tree, is a desert Khan built of mud, palm palms, mats and recycled materials. The natural ingredients, the colors and the variety of shapes / textures and the quiet around – soothe a magical feeling and a completely detached atmosphere. The Khan blends harmoniously with its natural environment, with no entertainment elements to disturb the quiet that allows its visitors to connect to surrounding spaces. The Khan offers hospitality in shares communal spaces, sleeping and eating. We’ll have an incredible shared meal, a group camel ride and a moonlit desert hike. The vastness and desert night sky are something to cherish. We’ll sleep like babies after this sweet day.
- Tel-Aviv On our way to Tel-Aviv we’ll stop for a hike and swim in Nahal David, a stream in the Ein Gedi oasis. Yoga in the desert? Yes! There is so much to do and see in this gorgeous country, but we had to give you at least one day in Tel-Aviv (Dana’s hometown!) Spend the day relaxing at the beach or explore the shopping and fabulous food. Perhaps we’ll grab a falafel at Hakosem or have lunch at the Miznon where they scream your name with gusto at the counter. Tel Aviv is home to many museums, cafes and bars.
- Our accommodations for the week are all surrounded by gorgeous natural landscapes and views of breathtaking cities, giving us the perfect opportunity to connect with nature and ground with a scenic yoga and meditation practice before breakfast. If you decide to sleep in on any given day and skip yoga, you’ll have the schedule and can always meet us during or after breakfast.
Arrivals and transfers to our Tel Aviv Hotel. Settle in.
Drive north with several stops on the way and overnight at Guest House at Kibbutz Gonen.
After breakfast and yoga we will begin our journey with the lush Banias nature reserve – a mix of ancient city ruins with the stunning nature of Northern Israel. The Banias waterfalls are most impressive during the winter and spring when the water is plentiful, on its way down to the Sea of Galilee. Next we we drive to Mas’ade, a Druze village in the Golan Height for a delicious Druze lunch. Druze (pronounced druse) are a minority religious group with roots in Islam whose 3 million practitioners worldwide are found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. The Druze are known for their hospitality and welcoming attitude towards guests and the food is delicious and as authentic as Middle Eastern food will get. We are in for quite a treat! Next we travel to Odem for Mama Yorta – to settle into a beautiful yoga space with a lovely overlook from the nearby village of Odem followed by Agamon Hahula. The Hula valley is a major stopover for birds migrating along the Syrian-African rift valley as Israel is home to one of the largest bird migrations in the world . This unique bird/wildlife tour is a wonderful way to end our first day together.
We’ll return to guest house for dinner and rest.
After breakfast and morning yoga at the Kibbutz, we’ll visit the Mount of Beatitudes and the Sea of Galilee, two holy Christian sites: the first on which it is believed that Jesus delivered his famous “Sermon on the Mount” and the second where it is believed that he walked on water. We’ll have lunch at Tzemah junction then head up to the Gilboa to Barkan Mountain and the Irises. (for a very brief time in the spring Barkan mountain is painted with beautiful irises. We are fortunate enough to experience its bloom during our time there!) We will take a leisurely hike enjoying the wildflower-rich scenery and the crisp northern air. Tonight we’ll have dinner at the Restaurant at Hammat Gader and stay at Kibbutz Nir David where we can enjoy the hot springs after evening yoga!
After breakfast and yoga, we’ll drive via the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem. Our time in Jerusalem will be a time of connection and introspection. Appropriate meditative practices will be offered to compliment our experiences in this holy city.
We’ll visit the city of David and Hezekiya’s water tunnel, an ancient water tunnel carved during the reign of King Hezekiya to transport water from one side of the city to the other. This is a true immersion into what ancient city life was like. Bring water shoes and shorts foe this excursion. Next, we’ll walk in the old city, visit the Jewish Quarter (Western Wall) and the Via Dolorosa – where it is believed that Jesus carried his cross. Jerusalem is holy to all three Monotheistic faiths and we will experience this religious diversity in all its glory during our time in this city. Lastly, we’ll visit Mahne Yehuda Market – one of the most vibrant markets in the middle east. This is the time to let our senses run wild with tons of options for food and drink. East truly meets west in this wonderful place!
On this night, your evening is free (no group dinner is planned) but suggestions will be offered.
Overnight at Harmony Hotel Jerusalem
Early rise (no morning yoga today). Visit the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock) ending our time in Jerusalem with a visit to one of the most holy sites for Muslims. This place is not only visually stunning (the dome is painted in bright gold as can be seen in many pictures of the Jerusalem skyline), but it is deeply fascinating both historically and spiritually. Next, we drive to the Dead Sea and visit Massada, a fortress on the mountain with a dark, ancient history overlooking the Dead Sea. Visit the beach on the Dead Sea where we will also have a relaxed yoga class. Afterwards, we head to Ein Gedi Hotel for time at the spa. We hope to offer a bonfire and meditation with our overnight at Ein Gedi.
Breakfast and morning yoga lesson at the botanical garden. We’ll walk thru the Nahal David Nature reserve as we transition into the quiet of the desert. Lush fresh water springs flowing into clear streams and waterfalls nestled between the dry Judean desert and the Dead Sea. After lunch we’ll drive to the Negev to Khan Beerotayim: for a truly authentic desert experience! Spending the afternoon and evening in Beduin style, The Khan is a special experience where we be taken back in time. Sleeping arrangements will be communal is large huts. Each has a shady balcony and hammocks. We’ll settle in, have a gentle yoga session and then we’ll have the opportunity to take a camel ride(!) We’ll share a delicious dinner then take a memorable evening desert hike. The vastness and desert night sky are something to cherish. We’ll sleep like babies after this sweet day.
After a relaxing morning, breakfast and yoga, we’ll take a drive to Tel Aviv where we’ll have free time to walk around Nahlat Benjamin — a quirky, charming artisan market in the heart of Tel-Aviv. The best way to experience this city is simply to walk around and take it all in! We have a special last group dinner planned and a last night at hotel in Tel Aviv. Dana will tell you all about her hometown and if you’re looking for nightlife, this is the place!
Breakfast and transfer to Ben Gurion airport for departure flights.
Venue HighlightsWe will be staying at various location during your 8 nights - Kibbutz's, spa's, hotels and a memorable night in the desert under the stars, Beduin style.
AccommodationsSingle and double accommodations are available through your stay with the exception of the one night at Khan Be’erotayim where they offer communally shared accommodations and facilities
- Includes Meat
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free