A few thoughts about Basunti (by Helen Humble)

IMG_7204Basunti, Basunti… the name makes me sigh with contentment and were I a cat, I would purr! It would be easy for me to write 300 words about how beautiful, peaceful, stunning and panoramic it was; but for me, the experience was deeper and longer lasting than a ‘holiday abroad’, albeit with some rather cracking yoga!

I arrived at Heathrow airport very stressed, emotionally exhausted, having tried to hold together a negative NHS team throughout a very difficult winter. It had been 6 months since my last break from work. I had an uncomfortable ovarian cyst, was hooked on Double Coca Mochas and sugar. Would I cope 2 weeks without my ‘props’?

The flight was a bumpy one, the pilot navigating a lot of turbulence, ending with the most perfect landing. I had been looking forward to the retreat but was almost too tired to become excited about it. I knew that it would be beautiful but nothing prepared me for the reality of the experience. We arrived at dusk after 24 hours of travelling; tired, aching and hungry.

Dave (Basunti’s owner) and his team greeted us with warmth and a genuine concern for our comfort. A quick settle into the room and it was time for supper. The contrast of airline food and that first meal was unbelievable… fresh, full of prana and prepared with love… it was all there.

The storm had followed us to Basunti and that night we were treated to the most exhilarating display of lightning and accompanying thunder and wind. From then the experience just got better and better. The stormy weather blew away to reveal the Himalayas in their glory, white peaks touching the sky. The birds began to sing… I have a particular fondness for the ‘tweet tweet’ bird.

The mornings started with meditation on the roof-top with sunrise followed by kriyas and stretches. Something began to change deep inside me. I had discovered the power of kriyas. Energy started to move and shift at a deeper level than simply doing a yoga class. The evening classes (also on the rooftop for sunset) ended with a deep pranayama practice, this too having a profound effect, each day going deeper and deeper. I felt like an onion peeling away layers of crap and energetic stagnation. The daytime classes were held in the thatched circular yoga shala complete with its own moat and large dancing Shiva at the entrance.

This sense of energetic cleansing cumulated in the second week with a massive ‘shift’. Whilst the rest of the group were blissed out during a deep yoga nidra session, I was very uncomfortable as a rush of stagnated liver energy suddenly moved, making me agitated and almost nauseous as the energy flowed. That night I realised that the ovarian cyst had gone and my body felt at peace with itself and my mind settled. I realised too, that I had not missed the sugar, chocolate nor double coca mochas.

The group was very special… usually in this situation there is some undercurrent of group dynamics. I can honestly say that all of the group were loving, kind, thoughtful and a wonderful mix of beautiful women, an inspirational young man and two thoroughly decent chaps. People who I was very pleased to share this special fortnight with. Duncan and Andrea are partners in every sense of the word, both as yoga teachers and bringing together a beautiful energy that is awesome to observe.

Back home, as the realities of life make themselves known, I seem to have retained a sense of peace and grounding. Every morning I do my kriyas, and every evening pranayama. I have had no hot flushes or menopausal symptoms since my return. I feel no stress, despite being back in the same challenging situation. The healing of the Basunti experience continues and flows within me.

I feel inspired, well and at peace. Basunti is not just 3000 miles away, I brought a little bit back – inside me.


My Beautiful India (by Julie Lea)

IMG_1735I booked this trip a year ago. I had been on many weekend retreats with Duncan and Andrea. And I had a deep sense that India 2013 was my time. As the date approached I went through many different emotions. I have two beautiful daughters, and at times I couldn’t imagine leaving them for 16 days. But at other times I felt: please bring it on!

I also hated flying. Luckily on the outward flight I was sat next to Jackie and Helen. I explained to Helen about being a little nervous and her reply was: “don’t worry I know I am going to live until I am 90 so you are fine on this one”. Wow, I thought, she sounds bonkers, but I am going to go with that, thank you.

I am sure that every amazing destination is arrived by an incredible journey. Basunti was such a treasure.

The first morning I was sat on the roof top, after some well earned meditation and stretching. As I looked to my right I noticed the most beautiful clouds, all in a line just floating there. I looked a little closer and noticed that they were the snow capped mountain peaks of the Himalayas. I burst into tears and felt such a connection to them, they were so beautiful and powerful I felt literally punched in the face by them.

The group of amazing people came into its own. An incredible energy grew between us all.

There were times for singing, times for laughter, times for stillness, and times for tears. The group felt safe. A safe place for emotions to flow, which for me, of course, they did.

After a wonderful 2 day trip to McLeod Ganj at the end of the first week, we arrived back at Basunti and a sense of stillness grew. The silence increased. The meditation and pranayama deepened, more than I had ever experienced before. It wasn’t until I got home, after two days of feeling utterly depressed that I started to understand what had happened to me. I began to feel happier, lighter, I felt clearer.  Most holidays stay with you for a few weeks after getting back home.

I am now five weeks back and I am still carrying that sense of space, and calmness.

Yoga is a practice and believe me I am practicing.

A huge hug and kiss to all the people who made my 16 days of freedom an experience in my lifetime I will never forget.


This is Basunti (by Nicola Glassbrook)

IMG_2710Some of you who have been on a weekend retreat, the foundation course, or teacher training will know the sheer pleasure of experiencing a DSY residential with Duncan and Andrea. Well, imagine early morning kriyas sat on a marble flat roof, the sun just risen warm in your face, a gentle breeze blowing, exotic bird calls and across a still lake a view of the snow-capped Himalayas:

This is Basunti.

Imagine after a lovingly prepared breakfast and warm shower (yes hot water in India), asana practice in the shade of a yoga shala surrounded by lush bougainvillea, bees and butterflies gently floating in and out and cheeky Bulbul’s flying in to watch:

This is Basunti.

After a leisurely simple lunch, imagine relaxing by a refreshing swimming pool, or a gentle exploration of your surroundings; down to the lake or a walk through ‘the jungle’, up to the village or down to the meadows, knowing it’s safe to go wherever you please, time for reflection, or just to watch the gentle pace of life:

This is Basunti.

Imagine a weekend trip to Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj nestled perilously high, the Himalayas looming large, with beautiful Tibetan temples, including ornate and detailed decoration and fabulously tacky Hindu temples where you walk in to a ‘tiger’s mouth’ to ascend the stairs. Plenty to see and plenty to buy! Although the clean mountain air is often tempered by vehicle fumes, the hustle and bustle and the beeping of horns makes you glad to return to the oasis:

That is Basunti.

In summary: amazing yoga, wonderful hospitality, beautiful surroundings, great companions. I am already planning my return. If you are thinking of booking to go, well stop thinking about it and just do it!

Get to Basunti!

The next DSY North India Retreat to Basunti will take place 27 March-12 April 2014. If you are interested in attending, please email the DSY office at: info@devonyoga.com

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