Frequently Asked Questions
What should I bring?
Please pack lightly, with a maximum of 15 kg per bag, 10 kg or less being preferable.
All the luggage has to be transported to each new site!
Participants will arrange the luggage into the van.
Two smaller neatly packed bags are easier to life into the van than one very heavy bag.
Travel lightly! Please choose a sensible amount of easy going and comfortable clothes.
You need to bring with you the following:
Tent with tent pegs - Please do not bring a single skin tent. Whatever they may tell you in the shop, they are usually not waterproof.
A warm sleeping bag. It can be cold in the evening/night times
A good sleeping mat or blow up mattress and a . even i
Sun hat and protective clothing for hot and sunny weather
A pillow case to put clothes in to use as a pillow
Waterproofs (umbrella, jacket, leggings) for wet weather
Warm jumper and jacket for cool weather and for fresh evenings and mornings
Good walking sandals, shoes or boots
Water bottle(s) at least to carry 1 liter, preferably for more
A box for the lunch (baguette) sandwich
A small bag for the walk
Sun screen, insect repellent, blister plasters
A torch and spare batteries
Cup, plate, bowl and cutlery
Toiletries, towel, swim wear, etc
If possible, all soap, tooth paste, shampoo etc should be eco-friendly and biodegradable
Driver's license. If you are willing to drive one of the hired vehicles or if you are a parent who will share in driving the kids vehicle then email and send a scan or photocopy of your driver's license before July.
Be aware that opportunities for shopping on the Yatra will be very limited and only for essential needs.
We are unable to provide any camping equipment, mattress, sleeping bags, pegs, cutlery etc to participants before or during the Yatra. We food shop for all participants but not individuals. Please ensure that you bring every item you need. Please feel free to bring with you nutritious food items, such dried fruit and nuts or healthy energy bars for yourselves and your children. Please not that the kitchen is not available for personal use.
Can I stay in contact with friends and family?
The Yatra is happening in a countryside, where mobile phones are not always connected. Some days you’ll be able to phone, others not...
Naturally there are no cybercafés and we cannot be responsible for any lost or broken electronic devices, so we recommend leaving them at home. There will probably not be any electricity on the Yatra, so gadgets can quickly run out of power. Bring extra charger as backup for your mobile phone.
What if I cannot come?
If your plans change and you need to cancel please inform us straight away via email. Many times, we have a waiting list and your place will allow someone else to attend.
Please note that your registration fee is non-refundable.
Who can participate?
Anyone who can walk and wants to explore Dharma. But the Yatra, moving nearly every day, can be a real challenge for those with health problems and for parents with young children
Parents and children are welcome but the Yatra is not a family camp!
Parents with meditation experience will hopefully find it easy to continue their practice with their children. Nevertheless, the practical constraints due to the presence of one’s children make such practice difficult.
For single parents, we advise you to come with someone your child knows and who can share everyday logistics. A minibus, run under the responsibility of the parents, will provide the possibility for children to walk only a half day (morning) by picking them up at the lunch spot and bringing them to the Yatra campsite. Note that we are limiting the number of children to 10 for various practical reasons. The ratio is around six adults for every child under the age of 16.
Are children welcome?
Children of all ages are very welcome on the Yatra and it can be a wonderful and enriching experience to come as a family. There can be challenges for both parents and children and also lots of good support. Everybody needs to be able to walk at least for half a day. Small children can be carried, and older ones walk in the mornings. Usually there is the option for them to be transported back to the camp in the afternoon. Parents accompany their children in the minibus for the afternoon. Some older children and teenagers walk in the afternoon.
Most important is that everybody needs to be flexible and realistic about keeping up with Yatra rhythms and the practicalities of life with children on the move.
How much does the Yatra cost?
On the Yatra, we are trying to work in a different paradigm than making a fixed price charge.
The Yatra is entirely supported by donations, but in two different ways.
Firstly, we have the Shared Expenses to cover the costs of the Yatra. These expenses include all the practical things that have to be bought or hired for the event to take place.
Secondly, we invite dana - a freely given act of generosity to support the ongoing work of the two teachers.
How Do I Register?
To register for the Yatra, please click on link on home page for Registration.
Book early as the 60 available places can fill up fast.
Registration opens at 9 am (CET) on 14th March 2022.
Your place will be confirmed when we have received your basic details and the registration cost.
What do the Teachers do?
The teachers will offer guided meditations, meditation instructions, facilitate small groups, give short talks and meet with people individually, if requested. Teachings will be given directly in English with German translation, or vice-versa. We will endeavour to offer a French translation, if requested and a translator is participating. Christopher is the senior teacher. He has attended every Yatra in France since 2001 and in the UK for some 10 years before. Christopher and Ulla are the two teachers.
Will all of the Yatra be in silence?
The walking, as well as meditation periods, are held in silence. Other times of the day allow for structured discussions and teachings, and informal connection with Sangha. There is much time for developing friendships. The Yatra explores the integration of silence,solitude and interaction. The meditation marquee will always stay silent, aside from the time for teachings.
Will the Yatra be different from previous years?
Each Yatra is unique but also similar to the others. While the spirit stays the same, the location, weather and people do change. We will include exploration of ecological issues and the steps we can take in daily life.
How far do we walk each day?
Between 8 and 20 km. Some days are only half-days of walking, to allow for rest, and for more Dharma activities. We walk in single file with regular hourly breaks of 10-15-minute.
How often do we move camp?
We stay in three campsites rather than move daily, as it means moving the whole Yatra infrastructure.
Do I have to carry my luggage and camping equipment?
No. We hire vehicles to carry the luggage. We ask that you pack lightly.
If 75 people have 15 kgs, that is more than one ton to transport. Travel lightly!
During the day, you only need to carry a bottle of water, rain gear if appropriate, sun protection and your valuables in your daypack or shoulder bag.
What is the registration fee for?
The registration fee helps us cover some of the expenses needed before the start of the Yatra.
It also adds a level of commitment from the people who register to participate.
In 2006, we didn't have a deposit, we were soon oversubscribed and had to turn some people away.
About 40 registered participants failed to show up for the Yatra. We realised we needed a system to ensure people registered and joined the pilgrimage.
Since we introduced this registration fee, very few cancel.
What does ‘co-operative’ mean for the Yatra?
The Yatra needs you! We need your support from route planning to vegetable chopping. We have a rotation system on the Yatra. We need people to help in the kitchen, volunteer to be site crew, shop, washing up, drive the truck and mini-bus. We rotate the tasks.
If you are willing to drive one of the vehicles, you need to be more than 21 years old and must have had your driving licence for more than 3 years.
If you are interested in helping with some driving, please contact us to send a scan or photocopy of your license before July.
What about my car, where can I leave it?
There will be a field for the cars near the starting point of the Yatra. They will stay there during the 10 days. At the end, a van will bring the drivers back to pick them up. The directions to get to this parking will be sent with the confirmation of your place on this year’s Yatra (after you register).
What will the weather be like?
Generally, it is warm in August in this area of Germany. Bring suntan lotion, a summer hat and a bathing suit.There may be an opportunity for swimming in a river. The evening times can be surprisingly cold. There can be summer rainstorms. Please bring warm clothes for the evening and night, rain gear and an umbrella for very hot days or rain. If a heavy storm comes it can be very chilly.
Do I need to speak to German?
No. All announcements, signs and talks are given in English or German. There will be bi-lingual people from Germany, who can act as interpreter.
When can I join or leave the Yatra?
Please arrive at any time on 2nd August before 18:00 and leave any time after 13.00 pm on the last day of the Yatra of 12 August. The Yatra lasts 10 days. It is essential to arrive on the first day to hear many practical announcements.
Can I bring a dog or cat?
To help us offer a hygienic event with an outside kitchen, young children, cattle, farms, road hazards, etc, we regret that animals are not invited on the Yatra.
Thank you for respecting this decision.
Beautiful, caring beings participate in the Yatra.
Long standing friendships and relationships can develop.
We look forward to seeing you.
PROPOSALS FOR DHARMA YATRA
IN AUGUST 2023
We wish to continue to develop the Yatra with teachings/practices and a harmonious flow through the ten days.
During the Yatra in August 2022, I (Christopher) had daily conversations, often 1-1, with some of the participants on the Yatra. Some participants had much experience with Yatras over the years. Below are some of the suggestions we talked about, as well as points Ulla and I referred to.
Our eco-pilgrimage is in constant evolution. Teachers appreciate your suggestions.
After offering 30 Yatras over the years, I have decided to bring a closure for myself to co-leading or leading a Yatra. Ulla will continue offering the annual Yatra in Germany. I loved the Yatras and very much appreciate the kindness and support I receive over the years, as well as the opportunity to spend time with you all in the glorious and challenging nature.
Ulla and I agreed the Yatra needs a team of people to engage together in organisation before, during and immediately after the Yatra.
Ulla has taught/managed three yatras in Germany. Instead of much organising at the campsite, she could use the time at the camp site for 1-1s, small groups and plenary sessions for teaching/practice/mindfulness, as well as spend more time with her children on the Yatra.
This would enable the teacher(s) to maximise teaching time and minimise for organisational work before, during and after the Yatra.
The Dharma Yatra is a co-operative event with all making a contribution. This keeps running costs affordable rather than payment for services.
Please note it may not be possible to implement all proposals.
The Proposals for the Yatra
To increase registration fee due to rising costs with numerous items, plus food, teacher, travel, petrol, vehicle renting and more. Agreed with Ulla and Christopher.
The team could function like a retreat centre with application to tasks. 1. Promotion/Social Media/Website of Yatra. 2.Taking Care of Registrations. 3. Food ordering. 4. Vehicle hire for transportation of marquees, kitchen, tents, backpacks etc. 5. Fixing sites with farmers. 4. Kitchen set up. 5. Purchase of non-food items. 6. Keeping accounts/receipts.7. To print out/laminated necessary Yatra information to go on a new, large notice board. 7. Updating Insurance with payments for any vehicle dents etc and more.
Team member to type, print out and laminate information to put on new notice board information of timetable, names of those who signed up for tasks. Copy of names/tasks to be read out upon arrival in circle back at camp by a person who takes up this task.
Plant-based diet to include daily fresh food - a salad such as lettuce/cucumber with evening meal and with packed lunch.
Breakfast to include boiled prunes/raisins in hot water to aid digestion to go with the usual porridge, bread/condiments, coffee, tea etc.
Two gongs. Two bellringers per day. Bell ringers to ring gong within five metres of each tent. Two bell ringers cover all tents etc. Music can be an alternative or with gongs. Both names and Day 1, 2 or 3 etc. Name, Day and Timetable on laminated paper.
Lunch (sandwiches/fruit) to be between 12.30 pm and 13.30 when walking rather than earlier.
40-minute group meetings at lunchtime. Facilitated group or guided meditation. Bell ringer to ring to end groups.
A single collection of walkers per day to return to camp after lunch. Parents and children walk until lunchtime. Children over the age of 7 years can walk with a parent/guardian in the afternoon to enable a flow of walking.
Kitchen team who prepare evening dinner (main meal of the day) to return to campsite with parents/children to prepare meal.
15 minutes of music/song before 9 am in a circle so walk starts punctually.
Bell ringers last to join circle or group having ensured all have come to the circle.
Bell ringer to ring bell after 45 minutes or so of walking for short rest. Break for 10 minutes or so starts when last person reaches resting spot.
All walks, morning and afternoon, are teacher led to safeguard healt/safety of everyone, and in accordance with insurance of teacher-led pilgrimage.
Anyone who arrives late for the morning yoga/evening meditation/ evening talk practices or sits at the back rather than enter the Dharma Hall. Front row to sit near teacher so there is space at the back.
On deconstruction day of tents etc, check bushes, trees, especially near tents, for paper/toilet waste and remove. Ensure no scraps of rubbish are left anywhere. An important issue for farmers.
Dana box (boxes) to be cardboard box with laminated sheet(s) explaining dana, plus flowers or tree cones on bench. No personal items to be placed on his bench. Parents/Guardians/children to make dana boxes. Laminated sheet to include ways to offer dana by Paypal using DharmaYatra email address.
Remember water conservation for showers and washing clothes. A single bucket for either use. Walkers could bring two flannels. Pour a little water. Use flannel for wetting/wiping over body and second flannel for drying the body. Consider two washes of hair maximum in 10 days. This is a practice of conservation of water.
An excellent quality handheld SATNAV for hiking.
- THANK YOU.