Discover a sacred journey to one of the most magical countries in the world...
Step out of the business of your daily life and into a true pilgrimage of the heart, a more beautiful relationship with the Divine, and a more profound understanding of seva (selfless service)...
Immerse yourself in celebrations and profound teachings of spiritual masters at the International Yoga Festival... and the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ historic pilgrimage to Rishikesh.
Explore a new template for grace... for holiness... for selfless service... for Spirit... for finally experiencing a real “Heaven on Earth” on A Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India .
It’s a journey like no other into the soul of India — one that will leave you changed forever.
This sacred pilgrimage will give you 12 days and 11 nights 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 transcend modern science.
We’ll be walking on the same land that’s been visited by great yogis and sages for thousands of years — and that The Beatles themselves traveled to in 1968!
We’ll be staying at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, a beautiful spiritual oasis located on the banks of the holy Ganges River in the lush foothills of the Himalayas.
We’ll make pilgrimages to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram (The Beatles Ashram), Vaishitha’s Cave, Anandamayi Ma’s Ashram, Swami Keshavananda’s Ashram, and other holy sites.
The spiritual imprint left at these sacred sites by great masters offers a special opportunity to awaken your own connection with the Divine.
We’ll receive the blessing, teaching, and transmissions of some of India’s most revered spiritual leaders, as well as from renowned luminaries from the West (like Bruce Lipton, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Kia Miller, Tommy Rosen, Gloria Latham, and Laura Plumb). You’ll share intimately and deeply with a group of advanced seekers and teachers on the path of self-transformation.
A major emphasis throughout the 12 days will be learning about seva, or sacred selfless service — insights on how you can apply yogic principles to address issues in your family and community, as well as how to approach global concerns like poverty, environment, health and sanitation, etc.
We’ll learn from Swami Chidinand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji of Parmarth Niketan about their work with the Divine Shakti Foundation. We’ll hear from other yogis and yoginis about how they approach seva in the modern world through putting yoga into action while honoring the Divinity in all.
We’ll participate in a SevaChild day of service alongside local child aid workers and hear directly from SevaChild’s founder about challenges facing India’s children and some of the practical and effective ways to help them not only live safe and healthy lives but also to realize their full potential.
A major 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 — and have 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 own yoga practice and spiritual development further with some of the world’s most renowned teachers. Presenters in 2017 included:
...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.
Also during the festival, the trip team leaders will conduct interviews with world-renowned yoga teachers and yoga practitioners from across the globe. These interviews will be featured in the Yoga Day Summit — an online summit produced by The Shift Network in partnership with Parmarth Niketan and UPLIFT to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Yoga. You’ll have the opportunity to peek behind the scenes during the planning and production of this global event and will be invited to share comments about the impact of yoga in your life to be shared with others (optional).
Check out this video from last year’s yoga festival:
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 2017 while at the same time conducting interviews for the Yoga Day Summit — a celebration of the United Nations International Day of Yoga. It’s 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.
2018 is also the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ visit to Rishikesh, India, which has been credited with helping spread meditation and other Eastern spiritual practices around the world. It will be a powerful and auspicious time to be in Rishikesh and to visit The Beatles Ashram.
Also, we cannot say enough about His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, the people at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, and the International Yoga Festival.
Parmarth Niketan is the host of the annual International Yoga Festival, one of the world’s premier yoga events. It is incredibly inspiring to be with people from around the world, attending yoga classes, kirtan performances, and spiritual talks all along the banks of the holy Ganges River. This global celebration is a testament to the impact of yoga around the world, which is helping spread peace one person, one breath, one posture at a time.
Finally, we are deeply moved to offer you an intimate and profound exploration of seva (selfless service). Combined, we’ve worked more than 50 years on social transformation initiatives that have impacted people around the world. We also have been practicing Kriya Yoga and traveling to India to interview world-renowned yoga teachers and spiritual leaders about the spiritual essence of seva and its practical applications in the world. We have designed this trip to offer you an opportunity to reflect upon and deepen your own selfless service in your family, community, nation, and world.
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 a joyful reconnection. And if it’s your first time, you’re in for an incredible treat! Expect the unexpected to occur!
Philip & Sandra
PS: We also want to mention that during this trip last year we experienced an explosion of joy! It felt like the simplicity and highly energized spontaneous joy of childhood — living completely in the moment and 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.
Here is a video from the 2017 Yoga Day Summit where Sandra, Philip and Richard (camera person) visit The Beatles Ashram:
We’ll be staying at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh. Parmarth Niketan, one of the largest ashrams in Rishikesh, hosts thousands of spiritual seekers every year. Located on the banks of the holy Mother Ganges River, Parmarth Niketan is just a few minutes walk from The Beatles Ashram and many wonderful shops.
The rooms at Parmarth 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’s all a part of the pilgrimage experience!
We’ll eat vegetarian meals provided by Parmarth Niketan Ashram. When we’re not at the ashram, we’ll organize and provide vegetarian meals.
The trip investment is $3999 but you receive a 10% discount ($3,599) if you apply by November 21, 2017.
In addition, each participant will be invited to make a personal donation to SevaChild to support its programs for children — providing protection from disease, preventing blindness, and saving lives.
These fees do not include flight costs 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.
If you’d like our cameraperson, Richard Bergin, to create your own “sizzle reel” with video footage highlighting you, that option is available. Richard is a talented film director and producer who will be accompanying us on the trip to capture footage for the Yoga Day Summit produced by The Shift Network. Richard will also be available to create a captivating two-to-four minute personal video to meet your own needs — he’ll conduct a personal interview with you focused on topics that you want to highlight, and that interview will serve as the script for your film. He’ll focus on shooting additional footage of you in your various activities — practicing yoga, visiting sacred sites, participating in a service day, etc. Cost of the sizzle reel is an additional $550, which will be arranged directly with Richard.
The sacred pilgrimage is now full. If you would like to be added to the waiting list and/or kept informed about future trips, please complete the application below.
We had very limited space on this pilgrimage, as we wanted to keep the group intimate and manageable. We also wanted to craft the most amazing and coherent group possible for this sacred journey.
CLICK HERE to go to the application.
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. Richard Bergin was part of the 2017 India pilgrimage and will be an integral member of this year’s team, serving as the soulful videographer. Rick Carlton will join portions of the trip to share details about SevaChild and to lead the SevaChild day of service experience.
Philip M. Hellmich is a thought leader in creating a new narrative of peace, from inner peace to international peacebuilding. As the Director of Peace at The Shift Network, Philip is the chief architect of the Summer of Peace, Yoga Day Summit, and World Peace Library — online global forums that seek to inspire, inform, and involve people in the many ways that peace is emerging around the world. He also is the co-lead faculty of the Peace Ambassador Training 2.0. These peace programs provide skills training, inspirational stories, and powerful solutions from the world’s top peacebuilders, social change leaders, scientists, Indigenous elders, and spiritual mentors. Philip has dedicated most of his life to global and local peacebuilding initiatives, including spending 14 years with Search for Common Ground. He also served for four years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, where he lived and worked in small remote bush villages. Philip is author of God and Conflict: A Search for Peace in a Time of Crisis with a Foreword by Lama Surya Das. Philip is also a devoted practitioner of Kriya Yoga.
Sandra de Castro Buffington is a global leader in entertainment for social change and a longtime practitioner of meditation. As the Founding Director of the Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI) at UCLA, Sandra unleashes the storytelling power of television, film, music, and new media to elevate consciousness and improve health, justice, and wellbeing worldwide. Sandra worked in developing countries for more than 20 years to elevate the health and wellbeing of women, girls, and families. Living in remote villages in South America, she experienced the power of conscious storytelling and of being of selfless service. For her work, Sandra was named one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in America by PODER magazine in 2012, "Woman Entrepreneur of the Year" by the World Film Institute in 2014, and "Honorary Maverick" by the Female Eye Film Festival in 2015. Sandra is Brazilian-American, fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, and is a devoted practitioner of Kriya Yoga.
Richard Bergin has been a cameraman and documentarian for many years, working on mostly humanitarian projects in many countries such as The Dominican Republic, Brazil, India, and Europe. Richard has been a Kriya Yogi for over 25 years and practices energy work and therapeutic modalities. Richard is also a connoisseur of chai.
Rick Carlton is the President and Founder of SevaChild. His humanitarian work began while he was living in the Caribbean in the 1970s, creating job opportunities to assist impoverished Carib Indians in Honduras and uneducated West Indians on the islands of Grenada and Saint Lucia. In the 1980s, he worked to bring international attention to the plight of the Tibetan people while maintaining a career as a business owner in the health and nutritional industry. Rick has spent the last six years as the President ofSevaChild, working in India to protect young children from the ravages of Vitamin A Deficiency Disorder. His interest and concern for the plight of impoverished children is the driving force behind this initiative. Rick is a Kriya Yoga practitioner, has been meditating for over 50 years, and has traveled extensively throughout India.
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 or call us at 415-223-7565.