Southern India Retreat

Journey to the heart of yoga and immerse yourself in Mother India

31st January – 14th February 2020

Southern India Yātrā

What is a Yātrā? The journey itself is as much as important as the destination, and the hardships of travel serve as an act of devotion themselves. Visiting a sacred place is believed by the pilgrim to purify the self and bring one closer to the divine.

Are you ready for a life-changing journey to the motherland of yoga?

I’m delighted to invite you to join me on my fifth (yes, I DO love India!) group tour to the magic and wonder of India. In this trip we will explore some of the most sacred sites of Southern India, as well as experiencing India’s amazing colours, delicious food and temples.

We will be exploring the stories and temples of Lord Sīva through story telling, chanting, temples and holy places. There will be opportunities for you to delve into a regular yoga practice, as well as a 5 day course with one of the world’s most experienced yoga therapists. This course will deepen all aspects of your yogic understanding and practice. This trip is suitable for everyone, from the most experienced yoga practitioner to the absolute beginner – practices will be suitable for all.



31st January

Arrive in Chennai for the 31st January. Chennai is my Indian home-town. I love this crazy, busy city and can’t wait to show you my favourite restaurants and temples.

  • You’ll meet my teacher Dr N. Chandrasekaran one of the world most experienced yoga therapist, teachers, and writers.
  • He will share stories of Nataraja (the dancing Síva) and his connection to the yogic teachings. This will prepare us for our journey.
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to have a yoga therapy practice given to you from Dr NC and learn an ancient Vedic Sīva chant which we’ll share together on our temple tour of Tamil Nadu.


2nd February

  • We depart for Mahabalipuram to stay for a single night.
  • The Shore Temple is the icon of the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram. The temple gets its name from its location on the Coromandel shore overseeing the Bay of Bengal. The Dravidian style of architecture dates back to the 7-8th century. The granite rock cut carvings are proof of the sheer brilliance of the artisans who have created this magnificent structure



3rd February

  • Travel to Pondicherry, a favourite coastal town where we’ll stay on the promenade near the white city and enjoy the café culture and shopping. Pondicherry (or Puducherry), a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, is now a Union Territory town bounded by the south-eastern Tamil Nadu state.
  • Its French legacy is preserved in its French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-coloured colonial villas and chic boutiques.
  • A seaside promenade runs along the Bay of Bengal and passes several statues, including a 4m-high Gandhi Memorial.



9th February

  • We travel onward to Chidambaram to visit the Siva temple where Patanjali is said to have received the teachings of Yoga.
  • The temple is dedicated to Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of the cosmic dance.
  • We will enjoy sari shopping, pujas and tours of this huge temple complex.



6th February

  • There are temple towns, there are mountain towns, and then there are temple-mountain towns where God appears as a phallus of fire.
  • Welcome to Tiruvannamalai, one of Tamil Nadu’s holiest destinations. The energy in Tiruvanamalai is palpable.
  • Its reputation for strong spiritual energies has produced numerous ashrams, and the town now attracts ever-growing numbers of spiritual-minded travellers.
  • At any time you’ll see Shaivite priests, sadhus (spiritual men) and devotees gathered around the Arunachaleshwar Temple, and the pervasive chant of ‘Om Nahah Shivaya’ adds to the experience and spiritual upliftment felt in this sacred town.


8th February

  • The final destination on our SĪva Yatra is Kanchipuram. Also known as Kanchi, this is an ancient city in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state. Considered a holy pilgrimage site by Hindus, it is home to many temples.
  • The 8th-century Kailasanathar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a vast complex with intricate sandstone carvings.



9th February

  • Next on our sacred journey we will return to our home base of Chennai for 5 nights where we’ll study a lesser-known Yogic text the Yoga Rahasya with Dr NC. The Rahasya is secret like a seed; the progeny of a great yogi, it contains yoga’s concerns in embryonic form. Its teachings guide and contribute to all of the 8 limbs of yoga – from breath through to prana.
  • We will learn about the intelligent steps involved in the practice of asana, pranayama and dharana (meditation), and the higher practices such as bandha, mantra and bhavana (visualisation), secrets of cleansing and increasing the efficiency of the physiological activities (koshas and nadis).
  • Krishnamarchya claims to have channelled the Yoga Rahasya at the age of sixteen when he met an incarnation of the 1200-year-old saint Nathamuni. It speaks the language of the past, it addresses the pressing concerns of our living practice.


14th February

  • After our final day of lectures we depart Chennai and travel onward home or on other adventures.

Your guides

Ray of Light Yoga’s Rachel Nokes and Rebecca Blackman are passionate and experienced yogis who aspire to share with you the rich roots of the yoga traditions. They love India and want to share this love with you!

The tour group consists of no more than 10 yogis, keeping the group intimate so you can delve deeply into the history of the Indian culture and have all of your questions answered. more information about Ray of Light yoga.  

Tour Cost includes:

  • Exclusive tour group (maximum 10 people)
  • Twin share accommodation & breakfast
  • Yoga classes taught by Rachel (when schedule permits)
  • Private air-conditioned bus with driver
  • Yoga therapy consultation with personal practice designed just for you
  • 3 hour lecture
  • Introduction to Dr N. Chandrasekaran, one of the world most experienced yoga therapist, teachers, and writers.


Cost does not include:

  • Transfers (will be arranged but please pay your driver directly)

  • Lunch & dinners (approx. $10 per meal)

  • 5 day yoga practice and philosophy course with Dr NC ($450 to be paid directly)

  • Tips

  • Personal taxis for shopping trips, etc.

  • Puja ceremonies

On booking


Flights – arrivals and departures

Arrive in Chennai for the 31st January
Depart Chennai preferably on the evening of the 14th February.

Cost: $2595 
Early Bird $2225 if paid in full by 1st November 2019 


Some of our past retreat participants share their experiences about journeying to India with Ray of Light

Sue Reid ~ Meditation teacher and personal trainer (2016 Retreat)

I know and trusted Rachel as well as the opportunity to do yoga everyday with her. I have travelled in organised groups previously but this group was small and we were going to specific places to do yoga, ayurvedic healing and Hinduism in which I was interested.

I really loved southern India and especially the ayurvedic treatments and sessions with Dr NC in Chennai. Seeing Dr NC and gaining a practice to heal myself was the most beneficial item of my trip.

You will fall in love with India and the lovely people who are so gracious, helpful and accommodating. Fantastic food journey and marvelous experiences that you will remember for a lifetime. Do it!

Anna Scott ~ Teacher (India retreat 2016)

India can be a confronting, overwhelming country with so much to experience. I thought it would be great to explore it with someone who had been before and what better way than to have the company of likeminded people to do so. Your compassionate, fun-loving and easy-going nature made you a perfect choice to go with, as well as your experience with the country. Also being able to maintain and deepen my yoga practice along the way was a great incentive!

I rediscovered myself – my ability to go with the flow, to be excited, and feel at ease in seemingly overwhelming or confronting situations. I discovered my own passions and what is important to me, as well as feeling grateful for my own life and the opportunities I have, so to make to the most of my own life and live compassionately. I also deepened my own spiritual connectedness to life and was inspired by the people we met along the way.

Do it! This is a life changing experience. Rachel is fun and caring, always ensuring you are safe and well looked after. You will get to experience things you wouldn’t otherwise if you travelled alone. An experience you will always cherish!

Sally Curtis ~ Psychologist (India trip 2016)

I decided to travel with Rachel because she has been several times before and have a passion for India so I figured you would know the best places to go and would also show us some unique experiences! Also being time poor I didn’t want to organise anything myself!!

I learnt I want to see more of India!! Probably the biggest thing I got from the trip was learning about yoga from a more spiritual perspective and coming home and applying that to improve my day to day way of life at home.

To definitely go!! Its a unique place, with such an interesting history and culture.

Its opened me up to learning more about India herself and her people but also more about a philosophy of life and living that is completely different to that which we practice in the west.

Julie Lineham ~ Director (India trip 2016)

The trip and experience in India was awesome, thanks for organizing this amazing journey.

Every day was different. It exceeded my expectations and was truly an amazing experience.

I would recommend anyone to try this.

I had never done yoga before joining the group but it didn’t matter.

Thanks again Rachel for sharing your India with me.



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