17 Days on the Banks of the Holy Ganges and into the Heart of Joy, Yoga and Devoted Service
February 21 to March 9, 2017
Watch This Beautiful Video About the India Trip:

Imagine for a moment the fulfillment of a life-long dream in which you experience a soul-filled adventure that takes you not only into the depths of India — one of the most magical countries in the world — but also into deep and lasting communion with the Divine. A true pilgrimage of the heart.

That dream can be yours with A Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India , a journey undertaken with supportive allies, wise yogis and sacred friends.

Discover a new template for grace. For holiness. For service. For Spirit. For finally experiencing a real “Heaven on Earth.”

This extraordinary opportunity includes:

It’s a journey like no other into the soul of India — one that will leave you changed...forever.

You’ll be able to receive the blessing, teaching and transmissions of some of India’s most revered spiritual leaders as well as renowned luminaries from the West (like Bruce Lipton, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Kia Miller, Tommy Rosen, Saul David Raye, Laura Plumb). You’ll share intimately and deeply with a group of advanced seekers and teachers of the path of self-transformation

And you’ll emerge with the experience of a new template for awake, joyful living.

Are you called to make this sacred pilgrimage with some of today’s brightest lights?

We’ll not only bathe in grace and awakening but also contribute to projects that provide assistance to women, children and impoverished members of the community. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to share your deepest wisdom and passions with your fellow travelers.

Visit Holy Sites, Meet Enlightened Masters & Learn about Sacred Service

This sacred pilgrimage will be 17 days in the birthplace of yoga — in the powerful and natural beauty of the Himalayas along the banks of the holy Ganges River, revered as “Mother Ganga” by yogis for her healing characteristics that go beyond modern science.

We will be walking on the same land that has been visited by great yogis and sages for thousands of years!

We will start the journey at the beautiful Sattva Retreat founded by world-renowned yogi, Anand Mehrotra. Located on sacred land outside Rishikesh, Sattva Retreat offers the ideal environment to gently enter into a transformative journey.

We will learn about yoga’s ancient roots and enjoy yoga classes and group meditations while creating a sacred community with our group. Anand will take us on a special trip to the famous Vashishta Cave (Gufa) on the banks of the Ganges River that has been inhabited by great yogis for centuries.

We will then visit sacred sites in and around Rishikesh and Haridwar, including the ashrams of Sri Mooji, Swami Sivananda, Anandamayi Ma and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (The Beatles Ashram). The spiritual imprint left by these great masters offers a special opportunity to awaken your own connection with the Divine.

A major emphasis throughout the 17 days will be learning about Seva, or sacred service — how to apply yogic principles to address critical issues, such as poverty, education, environment, health and sanitation, etc. We will visit projects of Parmarth Niketan Ashram’s Divine Shakti Foundation that provide direct assistance to women and children.

We will also learn from Swami Chidinand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji of Parmarth Niketan, along with Anand Mehrotra and other great yogis, about how to take yoga into action while honoring the Divinity in all.

Immerse Yourself in the International Yoga Festival

The second part of our trip features a week of profound explorations and practice at the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, an event permeated by the sacred origins and lineages of Yoga. Here, you will learn from masters of many lineages and well-known yoga schools — having the opportunity to participate in over 60 hours of yoga classes, including Kundalini, Iyengar, Power Vinyasa and Kriya yoga.

You’ll also have the great blessing of sitting in satsang with revered saints and spiritual masters from within India — including H.H. Pujya Mooji, H.H. Pujya Prem Babaji , H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, H.H. Pujya Radhanath Swamiji, Vandana Shiva and more.

The International Yoga Festiva l host somes of the greatest yoga masters from the Eastern and Western lineages of yoga. These individuals have influenced and defined yoga in the 21st century.

Alongside, your fellow travelers, you’ll take your yoga practice and spiritual development further with some of the world’s most renowned teachers, including teachers such as the following from last year:

...and many, many more!

During the festival, you’ll have the chance to deepen your experience with your circle of Shift Network allies. We’ll have time each day in which to integrate, deepen and explore together, both in larger circles and smaller teams. This will give you the intimacy and personal support of a sacred circle while also benefiting from the teachings and saints present as part of the larger festival.

Our goal is to support you in blossoming into your Divine Self through the combination of the festival teachings and the small-group work of awakening, healing and sharing of our deepest gifts with each other.

Check out this video from last year’s yoga festival:

Benefits of this Trip:

A Personal Message From Philip & Sandra

Dear Ones,

We are beyond excited to have the opportunity to bring you to Rishikesh, India in the foothills of the Himalayas and on the banks of the holy Mother Ganga.

We helped lead this sacred pilgrimage in 2016 and it is hard to put into words how powerfully we were transformed by the enlightened beings and amazing yoga teachers we met. The area is considered the birthplace of yoga, an ancient science that is estimated to be 5,000 to 10,000 years old! The spiritual vibrations of the places we visited permeated every cell of our beings and awakened tremendous transformations in ourselves and the other participants.

We cannot say enough about His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswatiji and the people at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram.

We can both personally testify that Swamiji is “the real deal” among Indian saints, and we have the deepest reverence for him and his work. We’ve been continually amazed at his complete dedication to be both a messenger as well as a servant of the Divine. Swamiji is profoundly humble and is a believer in karma yoga, which is all about service. He works literally around the clock to create projects to help those in need in miraculous ways — totally guided by the Divine (we have stories to tell!).

This year, we are also blessed to start the pilgrimage with a visit to Anand Mehrotra at Sattva Retreat. Anand has deeply inspired us with his embodiment of yoga and his fierce wisdom that he compassionately shares with those who want to awaken to their true Self.

We feel so blessed by the opportunity to share Rishikesh and the birthplace of yoga with you. If you’ve been there before, it will be such a joyful reconnection. And if it’s your first time, then you are in for an incredible treat! Expect the unexpected to occur!

Much love,
Philip & Sandra

PS: We also want to mention that during this trip last year we experienced an explosion of joy! It was like the simplicity and highly energized spontaneous joy of childhood, being utterly in the moment, unselfconsciously playing!

India has always been one of the most magical and mystical countries in the world. And for those who long for both adventure and spiritual transformation, there’s no better place on Earth. Rishikesh, nestled at the base of the Himalayas, is among India’s holiest cities, with more than 3,000 years as a place of destination for pilgrims, seekers and realized beings.

What you’ll experience...

Week 1:

Week 2:

Accommodations & Food

For the first few days we will stay at the Sattva Retreat nestled in the powerful energy and natural beauty of the Himalayas on the outskirts of the heart of Rishikesh. Created by Anand Mehrotra, Sattva Retreat is a haven that rests alongside a pure waterway that flows down from the mountains and into the holy Ganges River. Sattva Retreat is a unique blend of ancient and contemporary offerings located on ceremonial ground. As a Sattva Retreat guest you can experience sacred land where great masters, yogis, and mystics of all ages continue to imprint the essence of wisdom that is even more relevant today. (Sattva Retreat offers optional spa treatments such as massages, reflexology, steam rooms, etc...)

We will then move to the Hotel Nirvana Palace which which is also nestled amidst the panoramic wonders of the Himalayan Mountain Range. Hotel Nirvana Palace offers a serene refuge of comfort and hospitality where Indian tradition and modern services are blended. Hotel Nirvana Palace is conveniently located next to Parmarth Niketan Ashram, site of the International Yoga Festival.

The rooms at the Sattva Retreat and Hotel Nirvana Palace are clean and comfortable, but are also somewhat spartan by Western standards. All rooms are double occupancy. That said, you will not be spending a lot of time in your room. And remember, it is all a part of the pilgrimage experience!

We will eat vegetarian meals at Sattva Retreat and Hotel Nirvana Palace. During the yoga festival, all food will be provided by Parmarth Niketan Ashram. When we are not at the retreat center, hotel or ashram, we will organize and provide breakfast and lunch, but you’ll have the opportunity to explore on your own for some dinners.


The trip investment will be $4997. In addition, each participant will be asked to make a donation to Parmarth Niketan Ashram’s Divine Shakti Foundation towards its projects that support women and children.

These fees do not include flights and extras such as spa treatments, massages, etc. We suggest that participants fly into Dehradun, which is about a one-hour drive from the ashram. There are multiple flights each day from Delhi to Dehradun, and our group will pick you up at the Dehradun airport.

Apply to Join Us

We have very limited space on this pilgrimage, as we are wanting to keep the group intimate and manageable. We also want to craft the most amazing and coherent group possible for this sacred journey. So participation is by application only. We do have space for participants as well as for a couple more Team Leaders.

Please fill-out the brief application (use the same application for both participants and Team Leaders), along with your trip deposit of $100. We will get back to you shortly. If your application is not accepted, your deposit will be fully refunded.

CLICK HERE to go to the application.

Team Leaders:

Philip M. Hellmich and Sandra de Castro Buffington are co-leading this trip. They met at the International Day of Peace in Washington, DC in 2007 and have been dear friends ever since. Julia Maryanska is an integral member of the team and will serve as the soulful videographer.

Philip M. Hellmich is Director of Peace at The Shift Network. He also directs The Summer of Peace, a collaborative global celebration of and call to action for inner and outer peace. Summer of Peace is a groundbreaking series of events that bring together some of the world’s foremost peacebuilders and social architects, while serving to illuminate practical actions. Philip also is the lead co-producer of the Yoga Day Summit which celebrates the International Day of Yoga. Philip was the initiator and lead architect of the first virtual World Peace Library which has interviews of over 350 peacebuilders representing over 15 sectors of society, including science, spirituality, education, business, military, etc.... Philip has dedicated most of his life to global and local peacebuilding initiatives, including 14 years with Search for Common Ground. He also served for four years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone. A published writer, Philip is author of God and Conflict: A Search for Peace in a Time of Crisis. He serves as adviser to The Global Peace Initiative of Women and is a devoted practitioner of Kriya Yoga.

Sandra de Castro Buffington is a pioneering force in storytelling for social transformation. Sandra seeks to elevate consciousness and well-being by encouraging the soul’s expression through storytelling and by mainstreaming portrayals of social justice, health and peace in entertainment media. As founding director of the Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI) at UCLA, Sandra works extensively with Hollywood, Bollywood and other creative capitals to infuse television, movies and new media with socially provocative storylines. Her groundbreaking work resulted in 565 storylines that aired on 91 television shows across 35 networks in three years. As founder of the Story Collaboratory for Peace, Sandra is creating a global platform that will curate real stories of inner peace, peace in our communities, and global peace to inform storylines for television and movies. Awarded the World Film Institute’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014 and The Female Eye Honorary Maverick Award in 2015, Sandra serves as an international speaker on storytelling for transformation. Devoting her life’s work to global health and to uplifting women all over the world, she serves on the boards of Women @ The Frontier, and Harvard Medical School’s Personal Genomics Education Project. Sandra is Brazilian-American, fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and is a devoted practitioner of Kriya Yoga.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is your refund policy?
A: Upon registering, you will be asked to submit a partial payment along with your application. If you are not accepted, your payment will be refunded. If you are accepted, you can either pay in full or opt for a monthly payment plan. Y our deposit and payments are refundable for 3 business days after you are notified of acceptance onto the pilgrimage. Beyond that date, your payments are non-refundable, due to the hard costs of this pilgrimage and limited space.

Q: Are there scholarships available?
A: No, since we have a hard limit on the number of participants on the trip, we won’t have space for scholarships. However, we highly encourage our participants to raise funds to participate in this trip. Hosting a few house parties or creating a crowdfunding campaign can be a very successful way to pay for a portion of your trip and/or your donation to Parmarth Niketan Ashram.

Q: If I have any further questions, how can I reach Customer Support?
A: Click here: support.theshiftnetwork.com