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Eat, Pray, Yoga

on
May 6, 2019

We travel for many reasons- adventure, spiritual growth, escapism and relaxation- but too often travel means compromising our own wellness routines.

This summer, the Linden Centre will show how we can all better balance wellness and travel, and stay healthier and enhance our respective journeys to better understand ourselves.


In the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” young professional Liz is a popular writer for the “The New York Times” who seemingly has it all: global travel, a handsome husband, and an overall stable, successful life. However, Liz gradually begins to feel empty and anxious, as if nothing around her is what she really wants. So on one ordinary morning, Liz leaves home for Italy, Bali, India etc.

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This summer, instead of going to India, come to Dali to seek a new path in life, meditate under the mountains, and do some yoga. Explore the morning market, experience local customs, go to a sacred temple to have a meal, and talk to monks about their practices and experiences.

 

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Jeanee Linden, co-founder of the Linden Centre, is herself a yoga lover, and has often wondered why we don’t use yoga to rediscover Dali and ourselves.

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In December of last year, Wing and Ronney, a couple who practices yoga/meditation together, came from Hong Kong to the Linden Centre for the first time and immediately fell in love with it. Two months later, they came again to spend Chinese New Year in Xizhou. On that occasion, they gained a deeper understanding of the place, and felt inspired by the mission of the Linden Centre. During their stay, the couple could often be found practicing yoga and meditation in the courtyard; Ronney would often sport a white tunic while practicing tai chi.

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Wing is an experienced yoga teacher whose classes are educational and tailored to the specific needs of her students. She focuses on alignment, mindfulness and breathing with the aim of cultivating a deeper connection between the mind and body. She believes yoga is a powerful tool to build physical and mental strength and to help clear emotional blockages. Through regular yoga practice she hopes students can find true happiness and inner peace.

Wing experienced a significant change in life when a friend took her to a yoga studio in 2003 – at the time, she was still working for an airline. She immediately fell in love with yoga, seeing it as both mentally and physically challenging and a great way to stay fit and healthy. Wing soon realized that yoga was much more than just a form of physical exercise and decided to deepen her knowledge by pursuing intensive yoga instruction at the Sivananda Ashram in India.

Wing has been teaching adult yoga in Hong Kong since 2013, most recently at FAC (Fight Arts Center) and the YMCA.

Wing has completed:

  • 200 hours Yoga Teacher’s training course in 2012 – The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, India
  • 100 hours Level I – Insight Yoga Teacher Training Intensive Yin/Yang Yoga & Mindfulness Meditation in 2014 – By Sara Powers in Koh Samui
  • 100 hours Teacher’s training certificate course in 2013- Asana Andiappan College of Yoga & Research Center, Chennai, India
  • Vipassana Meditation Camp conducted by Vipassana Meditation Centre, Cambodia – 2016

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Ronney is a learning and development professional, with academic background in IT and psychology. He has learned various meditation techniques from Buddhist organizations such as Plum Village and Dharma Hill, and secular organizations such as the Potential Project. He has also conducted academic studies on mindfulness in 2010 for his Master of Science degree in Organizational Psychology.

Since 2015, Ronney has been leading weekly mindfulness meditation practice within his company. He believes in the adage: “different strokes for different folks” and aims to help his participants discover a form of meditation practice that is most suitable and joyful for them. Ronney is also a longtime practitioner of Tai Chi and believes that anyone can reclaim their health and peace of mind through the study of mindfulness and meditation.

During their stay at the Linden Centre, Wing and Ronney met a couple from Beijing who also love yoga, so together with Jeanee Linden, they practiced yoga together everyday during their stay. By the end of the visit, Wing and Ronney decided to design an experience combining yoga, local culture, and travel with the hope of sharing their wonderful experience with more people. So together we decided to create a special tour.


Proposed Daily Schedule Overview:

First day

  • Check-in before 5 PM
  • 17:00 Linden Centre Tour
  • 19:00 Welcome dinner and introduction to schedule

Day 2

  • 08:00 – 09:00 Yoga for all levels
  • 09:00 – 10:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00-11:30 Guided tour of the village and the morning market
  • 12:00 – 16:00 Visit to Wuwei Temple, vegetarian lunch and basic Taichi practice
  • 16:00 – 18:00 Return to hotel, free time
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Meditation practice
  • 19:00-20:00 Dinner

Day 3

  • 07:30 – 08:30 Yoga for all levels
  • 08:30 – 10:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00 12:00 Free time
  • 12:00 – 13:30 Lunch
  • 13:30 – 16:00 Free time
  • 16:00 – 17:00 Stretch yoga
  • 18:30-20:00 Dinner

Day 4

  • 08:00 – 09:00 Yoga for all levels
  • 09:00 – 10:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00 12:00 Free time
  • 12:00 – 13:30 Lunch
  • 13:30 – 16:00 Free time
  • 16:00 – 17:00 Stretch yoga
  • 17:00 – 17:45 Bai people’s Three Course Tea tasting and sharing
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Meditation practice
  • 19:00-20:00 Dinner

Day 5 Last day

  • 08:00 – 09:00 Yoga for all levels
  • 09:00 – 10:00 Breakfast
  • Check out & send off to airport/train station
  • Suggestions for free time: visit Hai She Park, bike riding, reading on the terrace/garden, Dali Old Town, book a massage, or check out the Centre’s other activities.

An In-Depth Look at the Schedule & Activities:

Day 2

8:00-9:00

Cast Aside Your Worries in the Morning Sunshine

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On the first day of the journey, open your eyes to a new world through yoga, relax your body and mind, and immerse yourself in silence. Put aside any recent troubles, feel the dialogue with your heart, and find yourself.

10:00-11:30

Go to the Morning Market and Awaken Your Senses

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In Xizhou, people of all ages get up early to go to the market with bamboo baskets on their backs. Children sit on the back of bicycles that are pushed by their grandparents while stray dogs weave around busy feet looking for lost scraps. The road to the market passes by steamed bun shops, antique stores, tailors, and hair salons that have seen better days, and leads to the crowded fruit section, which is the entrance to the morning market.

In the market, people surge through the aisles looking for their daily groceries. In the area where pork is sold, Bai people push from stall to stall purchasing twelve or twenty kilograms of pork, while tourists standing off to the side stare with wide eyes and take pictures of the array of pig parts being offered for consumption. In the beef area, the Hui people wear colorful hijabs and never shout. Sometimes one or two customers come, choose a prime cut of beef, pay, and walk away.

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There is a lady at the exit of the market who makes and sells delicious sweet tofu. She places a spoonful of tofu in a small porcelain bowl, adds brown sugar water, and hands it to you as you sit on a small wooden bench eating alongside aunties and grandmas. For yoga practitioners the food that you put in your body is very important. For those who follow a sattvic diet, foods should be nourishing, vegetarian, and pure with no artificial or preservative elements. These foods do not allow toxins to accumulate in the body, which is conducive to maintaining the body’s light and energetic state and helps keep the mind at peace and steady. Soybean products make up some of the key foods used in pure eating.

Yoga is a peaceful and often solitary activity, but in addition to helping us find our center, it has an equally important purpose of helping us get in touch with the world around us. After quietly practicing morning yoga, the morning market is a perfect place to mindfully take in a lively environment with your five senses.

12:00-16:00

Wuwei Temple of Zen and Martial Arts

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Yoga and Buddhism are deeply tied. Even if you only have a superficial understanding of the two, you would find that they employ many of the same terms, such as “karma”, “six paths”, “chakra”, “meditation”, “enlightenment” and so on.

According to the history of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama practiced yoga and meditation even before he became a monk. It is said that Gautama reached enlightenment after he sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated for 49 days. After becoming the Buddha, he traveled and began to spread the teachings of Buddhism.

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Wuwei Temple stands proudly on Cangshan’s Lan peak. For thousands of years, monks have devoted themselves to practicing Buddhism here. Wuwei Temple was the imperial temple of the Dali Kingdom, and it was here that 10 rulers from the Dali Kingdom became monks. Nowadays, many people from China and abroad come to visit the monks and learn from them. In the courtyard, disciples can often be found practicing martial arts. Every day after lunch, the head monk sits under the osmanthus tree, chatting with the people who come to meditate.

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18:00-19:00

Meditation Exercises

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Meditation is a timeless practice that can be found across many cultures, continents, and religions. In ancient times, practitioners of Buddhism and Zen meditated on religious “retreats.” In many ways, yoga is ultimately a form of meditation. Compared with yoga, meditation not only exercises the body, but more importantly, it can change one’s mood and help one to achieve true “self-cultivation”.

There are many meditation methods that come mainly from Hinduism, Hindu Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, and Japanese Buddhism. The Indian style requires lying on the ground, while the traditional Chinese style involves sitting cross-legged and meditating. But no matter which “style” of meditation we are talking about, all share a common theme: a quiet space.

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On a recent afternoon, sitting in the quiet courtyard of The Linden Centre: Yan’s House, I soaked in the sunshine bouncing back from the white reflecting wall. It is said that there is spiritual energy flowing from the Cang Mountains of the west to Erhai Lake in the east. The spiritual energy is contained in the courtyard by the reflecting wall, and helps create a perfect spot for meditation.


Day 3

Yoga Day

Open your mind and body thoroughly on the third day of your journey

8:00-9:00

At 7:30 a.m. in Dali, the sky is on the verge of sunrise, and everything is still asleep except the sun and the rooster in the yard next door. Open the wooden door, go into the yard, quietly greet your yoga partners, and begin. Adjust your breathing, stretch your body, and warm up for your next excursion.

Our Recommendation:

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Haishe Park at Sunrise

With its abundant natural spaces, Dali is the perfect place to practice yoga. Find your solitary, Zen place at the foot of the Cang Mountains or at the shores of Erhai Lake.

One of Xizhou’s interesting geographical features is a peninsula that is surrounded by water on three sides. The locals believe it looks like a tongue extending into the Erhai Lake, so it is called “Hai She Gong Yuan” which translates literally to “Tongue of the Lake Park.” If you are interested, you can get up early and go to Haishe Park to sit in contemplation. Take a yoga mat, walk along the grassy banks of the lake, sit on the ground, wait for the sun to rise, and stretch in the sunrise.

16:00-17:00

Stretch Yoga

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After the hustle and bustle of noon, the town gradually quiets down. It’s the second afternoon of the journey, and you have become more familiar with your surroundings. Relax your body and mind, feel your ligaments and muscles stretch, and through this hour of stretching yoga, you will find that your body and heart are completely opened.

18:00-19:00

Evening Meditation

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Many artists and entrepreneurs say that they often find inspiration in meditation. Whether it’s a piece of art or a business idea, a good meditation session can often lead to unexpected inspiration.

Famous actress Heather Graham, who practices Transcendental Meditation (TM) for 20 minutes twice each day, said: “I’m kinda high-strung, so it’s easy to get anxious. But TM calms you down. It helps you find that peaceful place inside yourself—so whenever your life is going a bit crazy, it reminds you how to be really centered.”

In the evening, Xizhou is bathed in the sunset. At this time, the clouds in the sky are the most abundant, with different shapes and colors; sometimes the whole sky is a lovely rosy shade of pink. This is the perfect time to calm down and meditate, and watch the changes in the clouds to find inspiration.


Day 4

A Zen Tea Experience

8:00-9:00

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In the early morning, walk along the stone roads of the old town to the Linden Centre, cross the stone courtyard, hold onto the railing as you ascend to spiral staircase to the terrace, and be greeted by a view of the countryside that’ll make even sleepy eyes bright. Facing the Cang Mountains, under the guidance of the teacher, slowly stretch your bones and muscles, open your ears to hear birds singing, enjoy the warm sunshine, and strive for enlightenment.

16:00-17:00

Stretch Yoga

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Take a break at noon; follow the teacher to practice different yoga movements, as you move your spine, feel the tightness and stretching of different parts of the body.

17:00-17:45

Three Course Tea and a Lifetime of Wisdom

Acquiring wisdom is also a major goal of yoga and meditation. In Dali, people can learn a surprising lot from a cup of tea.

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For the Bai people, serving “Three-Course Tea” to guests is one of the greatest signs of respect. As the name suggests, “Three-Course Tea” consists of a sequence of three different teas that build upon each other. The first is bitter tea; tea makers roast green tea in the pot and pour boiling water into the pot when the tealeaves start to emit a fragrant aroma. The tea is amber in color and has a strong aroma with a bitter taste. After serving the first tea, the tea maker cooks the tea again. Adding to the tea from the first course, he/she adds a few slices of baked local cheese (rushan), walnut slices, a little bit of brown sugar, and cinnamon. The sweet tea has a strong fragrance, and tastes, well, sweet. The third course is the “reflection” tea, which is a combination of the bitterness of the first course, the sweetness of the second course, in addition to a new set of flavors. For this course, ginger, numbing peppercorn, and honey are added to create a complex and unique flavor.

First bitter and later sweet, the “flavors of life” are found in these three teas.

18:00-19:00

Walking Meditation

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Meditation can be integrated into even the most seemingly mundane activities of daily life without limitations of time, place, or form. For example, it can be integrated into a meal at home through mindful eating, or even in a walk in the park to enjoying walking for its own sake, and not for the purpose of getting somewhere. Every step and every breath is full of mindfulness, which lets the heart naturally calm down, and allows you to gradually focus on the moment — your feet, your breath, and your senses.

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Baochengfu has two courtyards and a garden. Its varied and open spaces are the best choice for practicing meditation. Walk through the courtyard in the evening, keep quiet, feel the contact between your heel, sole, toe and the ground. As you walk, you might find yourself becoming more open-minded.

Morning Market Tour

If the weather is good, the teacher will lead you from the Linden Centre: Yan’s House to the courtyard beside the fields outside of the Linden Centre: Yang’s House. Along the way you might encounter snacks vendors, cycling couples, and local grandparents walking with their grandchildren along the way. How does it feel to find Zen in this environment?


Please Note:

  1. The location of yoga in the early morning will be adjusted according to daily weather conditions.
  2. For the evening meditation sessions on Day 1 and Day 3, the specific forms will be adjusted according to the specific circumstances of the day.
  3. This itinerary includes dinner on June 28, architectural lectures, accommodation, morning yoga, and buffet breakfast on July 2.
  4. We will accommodate dietary restrictions and provide special meals for vegetarians.
  5. Applicable to yoga practitioners of any level.

Program Information:

Dates: June 28, 2019 – July 2, 2019 (Sunday-Thursday)

Pricing:

  • 3980 RMB/Person (Shared Double Room)
  • 5980 RMB/Person (Single Private Room)

More Details:

  • Rooms will be arranged at the Linden Centre: Yan’s House site. The two available room options are standard twin room (for two people) and a kang-style double bed (for one person).
  • 10 people constitute a group.

Program Costs Include:

  1. Transportation to and from Dali airport/train station/bus station
  2. Room fare for four nights (6/28-7/1)
  3. Dinner on the evening of arrival 6/28; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on 6/29, 6/30, 7/1; and breakfast on 7/2
  4. All yoga and meditation classes
  5. Welcome drinks at our café/bar
  6. English/Chinese translation services for activities (note should be made in advance of need)
  7. Tour of the Linden Centre: Yan’s House (available on 6/28 afternoon and 7/2 morning for guests arriving early or leaving late)

Contact Information:

To book this experience, please reach out to us using any of the following methods:

Scan our QR code to add our Linden Centre Customer Service WeChat

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Telephone: +86(0)872-2452988

E-Mail: reservations@linden-centre.com

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