A: My name is Nikkel Maria Walter. I am the housekeeping manager at the Retreat Center at the Himalayan Institute. I grew up in Lake Ariel, PA where I attended North Pocono High. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, and a pretty great friend! I have two brothers, one younger and one older. Both reside in Scranton currently, as does my mother. After high school I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona where I worked for a community outreach program. When I returned home I attended college at Penn State and earned a degree geared towards non-profit work. During the next few years I did a lot of traveling across Europe, Scandinavia, and South America. Two of my favourite places are Russia and Brazil. I was also able to attend the Olympics in Beijing which was pretty amazing! I moved to Philadelphia and lived there for many years where I started working in the healthcare industry. I was able to transfer my position to San Francisco, so I decided to move and give the West coast another shot. After some time, I needed to relocate for family reasons. I found a position working for a group of Orthopedic surgeons, and this led me to become a clinical administrator for a cancer center in their chemotherapy department. During that time I found the Himalayan Institute and started my journey here!
Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?
A: I took yoga classes for many years in Scranton and Philadelphia and heard about the Himalayan Institute through some of my teachers and fellow students. When I returned from San Francisco I explored the website to find programs that interested me. At that point I knew I wanted to come and stay and was considering being a SEVA participant.
I found a community of like minded seekers where I can flourish personally as well as spiritually.
Q: What inspired you to join the community?
A: Because of my yoga practice I became more interested in meditation. I started frequenting a Buddhist temple where I was living in San Francisco. I enjoyed the sangha of like minded individuals I met there. When I moved home I really missed my practice and wanted to be somewhere that fosters both yoga and meditation. I wanted the opportunity to expand as a human being.
Q: What have you learned during your time here?
A: To enjoy the journey. There are so many wonderful things to learn on breathing, meditation techniques, asanas, ayurvedic medicine, nutrition, etc. The Himalayan Institute has many knowledgeable faculty members that are extremely accessible and take the time to get to know you. They are also great people who are on their own spiritual path which makes the Himalayan Institute have a beautiful sense of togetherness.
Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?
A: I found a community of like minded seekers where I can flourish personally as well as spiritually. I’m grateful to be in a place that I’m valued, respected, and feel like I belong.