My Yoga Teacher Training experience and recharging journey in Nepal. Happiness Contribution Show: Episode 21.

In this post, also available as an episode of the Happiness Contribution™ Show, I share with you

  • How did it all start and why I went to Nepal for a Yoga Teacher Training as a much-needed learning and recharging journey
  • 3 types of recovery recommended by Tal Ben-Shahar to handle any type or amount of stress
  • What did I do in Nepal for a whole month
  • What is actually Yoga, really
  • 15 takeaways from my learning journey and the Yoga Teacher training
  • three gifts technique that allows us to turn any challenge into an opportunity, from Shirzad Chamine Positive Intelligence Coaching program I followed in April & May
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Why did I go to Nepal for a Yoga Teacher Training?

In November 2022 my life was turned upside down overnight & I lived through the 3 most challenging & uncertain months of my life while my husband was intubated and paralyzed in ICU with an unclear diagnosis (of either botulism or Guillen Barrè Syndrome in Miller Fisher variant). More about this in podcast episodes 16 The Chronicle of a tough time and 19 The learnings.

In addition to faith & my network’s help and support, two main things kept me going:
1. Keeping up my daily wellbeing practices (incl. laughter yoga, heart coherence, qigong & EFT – covered in episode 17 Meet Houda Dortland, EFT Practitioner), taking many mini-recovery moments & few mid-recovery (massages & walks)
2. Thinking that once it would all be over and sorted, I would take a macro-recovery & go somewhere in a solitary retreat for a while

In the Happiness Studies Academy, Tal Ben-Shahar talks about how the real problem today is not stress but lack of recovery. We can handle life stress as long as we take a good mix of 3 types of recovery:

  1. mini-recovery (just a few seconds breaks through the day and short walks),
  2. mid-recovery (like a day away or a massage), and
  3. macro-recovery (like a holiday or a week away).

After 3 incredibly stressful and uncertain months, I knew I had to plan a macro-recovery and that it needed to be on my own (no kids or hubby)

My husband returned home in February still working on his condition & improving, so in March I started considering that recharging moment for myself, but I really had no brain power to think & search about the what & where about. And then my spark came from a simple post on LinkedIn by Ilenia Vidili – whom I had only just met in October when we both delivered a keynote during  CXDay event in Italy. My heart had a sudden “yes this is it” and likely my mind trusted and followed the hint.

Nepal had always been on my bucket list, I love personal development & learning (weirdly I felt that I could recharge more having a full-day learning schedule than laying on a beach doing nothing). And I was curious to learn more properly about Yoga (a practice that I had done on & off in the past 10 years & that always made me feel much better when I did). I spoke to Ilenia, did a bit more research on the Himalayan Yoga Academy & their courses, asked plenty of questions to owner Suyog Simkhada who tirelessly & promptly answered them, & within a week I booked a FULL MONTH stay at HYA.

What did I do in Nepal for a whole month?

I arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday 27 May, got picked up at the airport by HYA’s driver, and within a short but crazy 30-minute drive across unimaginable traffic and cracked roads, I was at the Academy by noon.

The owner Suyog gave me a warm welcome personally showing me around and taking me to what was a beautiful and simple room with a big terrace and the most amazing view on the entire Kathmandu valley. He also informed me that the Reiki training – meant to start at 2 PM – would be postponed for 1 or 2 days, a change I was actually thankful for as it meant, I could actually first rest and recover from the 18+ hours trip, and properly land before starting a full month of intensive training.

However, the first 2 days of slowing down and doing totally nothing (except for 6 PM meditation and 7 AM Hatha Yoga class) turned out to be tougher on me than I expected. For the first 48 hours there, while appreciating everything, I kept wondering how I could possibly have thought that spending a full month there would be the best use of my time. As I didn’t leave the gate of the academy for the first 72 hours, I also felt like it had made no sense to go all the way to Nepal for it as I may just as well be in a building closer to home.

Eventually, things started changing as the Reiki course started two days later (my intellectual wellbeing started being nurtured by new learning, and my relational wellbeing by connecting with new people). And it made a difference to actually go outside the Academy for a 10-minute walk to drink (after 72 hours of abstinence) what turned out to be the best espresso ever. My caffeine withdrawal (and with it the headache I had for 4 days) was released and my explorative interest got fulfilled by walking around and starting to experience Nepal and Nepalese people.

My 9:30 AM walk to “Moki café” for my espresso between breakfast (9 AM) and the start of classes (10 AM) became a fixed routine I embraced every day for the entire month, even the last day (then at 7 AM) just before driving to the airport.

Yoga Teacher Training Nepal 2023 Graduation Certificates

While at HYA I took 3 courses and gained 3 certificates:

  1. 4 days Reiki Level 1 course
  2. 22 days – 200 hours Yoga teacher training (which included an overview of Ayurveda too),
  3. 1-day Singing Bowls introduction course

And had 4 excursion days:

  1. To Pharping (a Tibetan village) and Dakshinkali (a key Hindu temple and pilgrimage destination, visited also from India)
  2. To the wonderful and high-energy Bhudda Temple in Kathmandu
  3. To Tamel area and Durban Square in Kathmandu
  4. To the local neighborhood around the Academy, surrounded by a jungle and multiple Buddhist and Hindu temples.

Overall, the Yoga Teacher Training and this month in Nepal turned out to be the MOST enriching, expanding & fulfilling experience of my life! 
My time at HYA was a wonderful HCX example… a human-centered, happiness-contributing & heart-connected experience that nurtured my heart, mind, body, and soul.

  • My heart is full with all the connections made during the month and the incredible care & attention received: HYA’s owner Suyog and his mum Kopila showed the most amazing care, and responsiveness and made the best and most nurturing food. They even accommodated gluten-free and dairy-free (at no extra cost). And Suyog got a new table and chairs for the rooftop terrace within days from me suggesting how great it would be if there was a sitting and study area on the roof terrace.
  • my mind is enriched with all the new knowledge & insights gained from the best teachers I could have wished for (thanks Swami Padmasattva, Yogi Sudan Bhetuwal, Yogi Raj Kumar, Suyog Simkhada, Muna Sharma, and Prapti Shahi): there is so much wisdom and potential for health and happiness in the knowledge and practice of Reiki, Yoga, Ayurveda, and Singing Bowls;
  • my body is recharged & released from all the tension accumulated in past years (especially during my husband’s illness) thanks to the Yoga Teacher Training and the regular daily practices it included. I’m no morning person at all, but somehow in Nepal, I woke up every day at 5:30 on the dot without alarm, I did a short Reiki practice before 6:30 on my terrace, then joined the team for a Jalaneti (nose cleansing) practice before a 7 AM Hatha Yoga practice till 9, and then breakfast. We then had a second Hatha or Ashtanga Yoga practice every day from 3:30 to 5:30 PM. I slept an average of 5 hours a night (while I normally cannot function without 7 to 8 hours) and yet felt more energy and flow than ever;
  • my soul is reminded that learning, exploring, connecting to people and different cultures, and then teaching what I learned, sharing my knowledge and experience with others in my own style, are my life purpose and the path I want to keep pursuing.

I actually had not realized that as part of the Yoga Teacher training, I would also be required to:

  1. Complete three written assignments (one per week)
    1. What is Yoga to me
    2. What is Pranayama (the art and science of increasing our energy through breath control)
    3. Who am I (yeah this was quite a reflection trigger)
  2. Complete three practical assignments designing their content based on our uniqueness.
    1. Lead a 1 hour Yoga Nidra session (mine included a sunflower field visualization)
    2. Lead a 30-minute subtle yoga practice (Sukshma Yoga)
    3. Lead a 90-minute complete Yoga session (mine included all required elements – introduction, subtle yoga warming up, asana, pranayama, meditation, and closure – and my extra touch with Laughter Yoga before the asana block)
  3. Complete a written exam with 20 questions in 1 hour on the day before graduation
  4. Prepare a 20-minute presentation deepening research and understanding on a topic of choice: I choose to look at the different types of yoga (did you know there are 16 main ones?) in relation to the 7 different chakras.

I will be sharing more about each of these items in future posts and podcast episodes. Here I thought I would share the first assignment and my key learning.

What is actually Yoga, really? And what is Yoga to me!

As likely many other peoples, I always assumed that Yoga was about a sequence of postures to stretch and relax the body. In this month, I learned that postures (Asana – which represents Harmony with the body) are only 1 of 6 key elements of Hatha Yoga and 1 of the 8-fold paths or limbs or ethics of Ashtanga Yoga, where Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga are only 2 of 18+ types of Yoga. Yoga is so very much more than just Asana as we assume in the West.

The mission of Yoga is summarized in 3H: Health, Happiness, and Harmony, which totally resonated with me and is very aligned with my own mission.

So here is how I summarized what “Yoga is to me”.

To me, yoga is a combination of art, wisdom, science, philosophy, and practice that brings Harmony, Nourishment, Connection, and Contribution.

Harmony between and Nourishment of:

  • mind, body, energy, and soul through breath
  • our inner self and our outer self
  • all the different systems in our body and all our five senses
  • all elements of wellbeing: spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational, and emotional
  • Awareness of own limitations and capacities
  • Knowing, doing, and being


  • With our inner self and our outer self
  • With our mind, body, and soul
  • Between our inner self and higher consciousness
  • With and between the chakras and the 5 elements
  • With the universe and universal energy
  • With the here and now, with living in the present moment
  • With all other human beings and to divine in every living creature

Contribution to our:

  • happiness and growth
  • health and quality of life
  • Increased compassion and gratitude
  • Self-discovery & self-management
  • Calm and resilience
  • Centeredness
  • Performance and success
  • Knowledge and being
  • Awareness and understanding
  • Improved perception of what is real and of the impermanence of things
  • Liberation from worries and desires
  • Expansion and self-realization
  • Peace with oneself and among everyone on earth

15 takeaways and learning from my Yoga Teacher Training

  1. I can always choose between a complaining attitude and a gratitude attitude, looking for the small things to be thankful for;
  2. I can always consider alternatives to my preferred way, and remember that sometimes these turn out to be even better;
  3. Starting the day with sunflower breathing, sun salutation, Jalaneti, Yoga & Reiki practices, gives me extra energy and a better attitude for the entire day
  4. Surprisingly, I felt very energetic with just 4-5 hours of sleep per night, totally vegetarian food (note: I’m usually a big meat eater), and one espresso a day
  5. I continuously expand and contract. Expansion and contraction are part of the same process, and both are needed. Contractions are needed for expansion (think of birth dilatation) and expansion will be better and wider if our mind and heart are open to it; I can focus on and choose more of what expands me, while finding the ease in the discomfort during contraction;
  6. There are people that expand me and appreciate me and people that contract me; I can choose who to spend my time with and when I’m stuck with contracting people, I can simply close my energy /aura field to theirs so that they can’t dim my light;
  7. We have only a limited number of breaths in our life and that faster breathing equals shorter life. Ask and choose whether something (or someone) is really worth my time and energy (aka number of breaths). I have the choice if and how often/much/long, I let someone or something contract me for, before moving to expansion again;
  8. I expand when I go traveling and exploring, learning new things, and connecting with local culture and people;
  9. I can always stay rooted in my strengths and trust in the process;
  10. I can always – and need to – recenter by taking a few moments of silence and deep breathing;
  11. I actually love creating and teaching a yoga class, combining physical practices with knowledge sharing;
  12. I can always set an intention for as little time as manageable at that moment “Just for today I will…” or “Just for this meeting/session I will….”
  13. Take the time to check in with people, ask about their stories, passions, and challenges, and to connect with them from the heart.
  14. Prioritize self-love. The biggest love and starting point is self-love. If I love myself, I don’t deem my light nor do I need others’ love to light my fire. I can simply radiate my essence and bring my light also where there is darkness;
  15. Sometimes it is just what it is and it will not be better: then just embrace it, remembering that everything is temporary and looking for the learning and inspiration in it.

The link between my trip to Nepal and the Positive Intelligence “3 gifts technique”

In April and May, I followed Shirzad Chamine Positive Intelligence coaching Program, where one of the key beliefs of operating from a Sage Perspective driven by love and trust (as opposed to a Saboteur perspective often driven by fear), it’s to believe that every single “bad” outcome or circumstance in life can be turned into a gift or opportunity. Shirzad proposes to look at every “bad” situation through the 3 gifts technique:

  1. Knowledge: which knowledge can I gain from what happened or I need to gain now so that I can have a better payoff in the future?
  2. Power: which power do I need to grow to be able to handle this situation?
  3. Inspiration: which inspiring action I can commit to that I wouldn’t have done if this “bad” thing hadn’t happened?

As it turns out now eight months after my husband got terribly sick (and recovered), this trip to Nepal has been the inspiration gift that came with it and has brought me also the gift of knowledge and power to prioritize my self-care no matter what.

Few visual glimpses of my month in Nepal

In the images below are just a few glimpses of the moments and places seen in Nepal. The 4 weeks recap link to the related Instagram post where you can more images of each week

Questions for ReflectAction and learning

📌 Did you already know about the wider meaning of Yoga or, like me, you have mostly practiced only the Asana part?

📌 Have you ever had a longer me-time learning and recharging journey? What was your experience and learning?

👇 Share it with us in the comments so we can learn and grow together 

Next steps to bring more yoga, happiness, and wellbeing in your life and work.

Is Yoga already part of your wellbeing practice? Have you ever considered taking a Yoga Teacher Training just as part of your own personal development? I didn’t, until the post from Ilenia Vidili on LinkedIn sparked the idea in me, so in case this post does the same for you, I can highly recommend the Himalayan Yoga Academy I stayed at and I’ll be happy to answer any additional questions that you may have. So reach out!

Curious to know more about wellbeing and happiness knowledge and practice in smaller doses and directly from me? Read on further or get in touch to discuss your specific needs.

How can I contribute to more happiness in your life and work?

I will be embedding all the new learning from this Yoga Teacher Training in existing & new courses to empower conscious leaders & companies to pursue happiness-driven growth both outside in & inside out! Get in touch if I can contribute to your individual or team growth with dedicated Yoga Programs. In the meantime, below you find a list of existing programs with which I can contribute.

Do you want to bring more harmony and happiness knowledge in your own life? Here are two (PAID) options:

and here are a few FREE options for you:

Do you want to bring more harmony and happiness knowledge to your team or organization? I have a few options for you:

Stay healthy, happy, and yellow!

Keep Smiling! Start Laughing!

💛 🌻 ☀️ Yours truly, Rosaria

* If you would like to know more about how to pursue Happiness Driven Growth in your company or would like us to deliver an engaging talk or masterclass about it at your event, get in touch or simply follow Rosaria Cirillo on LinkedIn & Instagram to receive her inspirational DOSE of Happiness.

** Customer experience is the perception customers have of the interactions with your company along every touchpoint and communication. It’s their truth. Great customer experiences don’t happen by chance. Instead, they require the orchestration of six disciplines across different teams and the mastering of six competencies. Would you like to learn more and grow your Customer Experience competencies? Get in touch to find out more about our newest HCX Online Academy, our in-company HCX Masterclasses, and HCX (Human-Centred and Happiness-Contributing Experiences) approach.

*** Yellow Factor is available for sale on Amazon/Kindle. Find links to your local Amazon store here. Did you already enjoy reading Yellow Factor and want to help us inspire more people? Helps us spread the word by sharing the quote that most resonated with you and by posting a picture of you with our book on social media using hashtags: #YFITW #YellowFactorInTheWorld #YellowFactorQuote #choosehappiness

About Rosaria

I’m an Italian sunshine of energy, enthusiasm, and passion, living in the Netherlands. I’m a Certified CX & Happiness Trainer, Advisor, Speaker, and Author with a mission to bring more happiness in the world one interaction at a time, the business world being my chosen playground!

I help conscious leaders make happiness their company’s competitive advantage with advisory, speaking, and training focusing on improving customer & employee experience (using VOC, VOE, and VOP as drivers for change).

I’m committed to empowering leaders and companies to achieve growth, productivity, and profits by cultivating happiness. Get in touch to find out how can I help you and your team with keynotes, training, and advisory services

Accelerate your HCX Transformation

Are you relentlessly trying to improve Customer & Employee Experience to ensure business growth? Perhaps your initial efforts are paying off, yet not enough and there is still something missing. How can your company achieve “remarkable” results while your employees feel that they make a meaningful contribution to a better world? Would you like to know how you can thrive and blossom while generating profits thanks to high retention? Check out our Training Programs based on the Happiness Driven Growth Model.

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The last 3 years have been tough! Working from home has taken a massive toll on all of us with reduced physical and social activities, increased stress, loneliness, and burnout. Chances are, you often ask yourself “how do I take care of my well-being with the limited time and resources I have? And where do I even start?”. Would you like to know how you can thrive and blossom in life and in business? Check out our Open Programs to nurture your well-being and increase your customer & employee experience knowledge.

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