Entries in Mysore (2)

Sunday
Nov102013

On Samahita Yoga Retreat, Koh Samui

I can’t believe I haven’t told you about Samahita Yoga Retreat in Koh Samui yet. We went there earlier this year (much earlier – I really need to update more and I still have a retreat from this summer to write about) on the Thailand trip that also contained the pooing… I used Samahita as a sort of pre cleanse retreat before I had to live of juices and coconuts.

Food and sleep

Samahita was perfect for that. The buffet contained nothing but healthy and nourishing vegan and raw food for brunch and dinner. Beautiful dishes, juices and snacks – and as much as you could eat in a lovely sitting area overlooking the pool and the gorgeous beach. My only gripe with the food was that it wasn’t very Asian. In fact if it wasn’t for the Thai staff and the traditional Thai prayer houses it was pretty difficult to see that you we’re actually in Thailand. The luxurious houses were very European – almost Scandinavian in their minimalist design. They left nothing else to be desired, though: the bed was comfy and the bathroom was large and clean.

Location

Samahita’s location is beautiful. I didn’t expect to find a secluded beach on Koh Samui where great resorts and English pubs have taken over some of the towns (Hat Chaweng), but we had the beach by Samahita to ourselves. The water was clear and warm and we spent our free time relaxing on the loungers. I loved the secluded location, but it was a bit tricky when you wanted to do day trips. Unlike most other Thai island locations this one wasn’t filled with eager tuk-tuk drivers or taxis outside, so we had to book a massive private car from the venue to go look at a mummified monk and a waterfall. As much as I enjoyed the luxury (I’m getting old – you should have seen what my friend and I stayed in travelling Asia when we went at 20) of the place I would have preferred to travel backpacker style haggling over small baht change with a tuk tuk driver. You should go and see the mummified munk, get blessed by a live one and check out the beautiful temple at the end of the beach. I’d give the waterfall a miss. The elephants carrying tourists up and down are depressing.

The Yoga

There was a retreat with Simon Low going on when we were there, which most of the visitors attended. For the non-retreaters (there were probably 10 of us) there was a guided pranayama class in the morning followed by two options: a guided beginners Ashtanga class in the open shala by the beach, or a Mysore class in the small shala. I tried both and was happy to discover that even though I hadn’t done a full Primary Series in ages the teacher in the Mysore room could still maneuver my feet behind my head in kurmasana. In the afternoons there was meditation, yoga nidras and a gentler practice. All the teachers were experienced, calm and friendly. I would especially recommend the male Mysore teacher if only I could remember his name… The retreaters looked like they were enjoying themselves too and lovely chants came from their shala.

We had a lovely time doing yoga, eating great food and soaking up the sun on the beach. We could have hoped for a tiny bit more Thai authenticity and a tuk tuk or two but all in all the surroundings, the great practice and the food made up for it. If you're going to Koh Samui check out The Spa too.

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Tuesday
Apr032012

Yoga Stops Traffic

Sunday was the last day of my four donation based beginner Asthanga Vinyasa classes and I am proud to say that today I’ll be sending my 15 student's donations on to Yoga Stops Traffic.

Yoga Stops Traffic is a global yoga event created to raise awareness and funds for Indian anti-trafficking organisation Odanadi Seva Trust. The trust rehabilitates survivors of slavery, domestic abuse and forced prostitution in Mysore - the home of Asthanga yoga. As part of their rehabilitation program, the survivors use Asthanga Yoga to reclaim their bodies; build physical and mental strength, and restore a sense of peace, confidence and self-worth. The event lets yogis all over the world stand alongside the victims to do 108 sun salutations together showing support and donating money. As my Asthanga classes were for beginners we did traditional classes - but we did four. And all the money goes to Mysore. 108 sun salutations is hard core. I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve heard that it takes about two and a half hours. I want to do it next year for Yoga Stops Traffic if anybody’s up for it(?)