Yoga Retreat in Thailand

Sometimes the world has a funny way of making your dreams come true. For the past 5+ years, I have been dreaming of traveling to Thailand. I didn’t know how or when it would happen, but I hung pictures on my wall & wrote down Thailand on my bucket list. Then, I forgot about it.

In my Elephant Trek post, I wrote about how it all came to pass:

Less than 1 year ago, I traveled to NYC for a Yoga workshop & met my now very good friend Heather, and we connected through instagram. We met up in March for my half marathon in NYC, and she invited me to Thailand for a yoga retreat in September.

I’m normally a solo traveler, planning my trips, staying in hostels, and being super adventurous… I would have never gone to a yoga retreat for pampering, relaxing, and laying by the pool. If I did go on a yoga retreat, it would most likely have been a training course to add on to my yoga training. With that being said, I DID learn from the instructors, and I was able to bring a lot back to teach in my own classes! The week ended up being so amazing – including an elephant trek, snorkeling, muy thai classes, 2 yoga classes a day, awesome instructors, thai massage, and becoming friends with so many amazing women from around the world!

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Flexi Lexi Thailand Yoga Retreat

The yoga retreat was hosted by Flexi Lexi Fitness, a yoga clothing store in Thailand. The retreat was 1 week long in Koh Lanta, Thailand, and cost $2100 for the week (with a roommate). This sounds extremely expensive, BUT —- there was a LOT included:

  • 1 Week stay in a 5-star resort
  • Buffet brunch & Dinner included (I think I only ordered food 1-2 times at lunch the entire week… the brunch filled me up!)
  • 2 yoga classes/day
  • Photographer (you could take pictures with him whenever & wherever… and we all got a USB drive with ALL pictures on it from the entire week!)
  • $100 of Flexi-Lexi Clothing
  • 1 all-day island excursion
  • 1.5 hour Thai massage
  • 1 free cooking class
  • Free workout classes & excursions (I took a 1-hour muy-thai class + a guided bike ride to a temple!)
  • Free transport to and from airport (1.5-3 hours from the airport, which included a car  + ferry/water taxi)
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First view upon arriving at Pimalai!

Every day started out with a 1.5 hour yoga class at 7:30 am. The instructors switched classes the entire week, and it was a mix between yin, heated/vinyasa, acro, and rocket yoga. The instructors – Robin Martin & Irene Pappas – were very different from each other, (a good thing!) and I learned a lot from both of them.

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That’s me with the cheetah butt 🙂

Following the morning yoga class, we had brunch from 9-10:30 am overlooking the infinity pool & ocean.

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Brunch view every morning!

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Then, the afternoon was free until our second class at 5 pm… I laid out by the pool a few days, went for a run one day, and did a few other fun things the other days:

  • Went on an all-day snorkeling adventure
  • Took a private muy-thai lesson (please note that my ankles/feet/shins were literally black and blue for 2 weeks following this!! Extremely painful, but an amazing workout & experience!)
  • Rode a bike past town to a Monestary, where we lit candles & gave our blessings
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Heather giving blessings

  • 1.5 hour Thai massage – I requested the deep, deep, DEEP tissue massage… please note that this isn’t a massage for the light-hearted. I have a high tolerance for pain and normally receive deep tissue massages, but this was really painful. The massage therapist used her elbows and really got into my back & neck (she climbed onto the table to really get in there!). She also got into my calves/shins and broke up a lot of scar tissue/build up, which felt amazing AFTER the massage. So if you are in Thailand… I would recommend getting a light-medium Thai massage, unless you really like pain 🙂
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Post-massage relaxation area with ginger tea

  • Went to Old Town Lanta to explore & shop – a few hours in this tiny town is all you need!

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Little Girl in a Tuk Tuk

  • All-day excursion to a small island (included lunch, snorkeling, Stand up paddle-boarding, kayak, etc)
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Boat ride to the island!

The all-day excursion was perfect… we hopped on a boat and relaxed for about 1.5-2 hours until we arrived at the island. I took a kayak in, and we took pictures with the photographer all day!

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Me & Serene

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Thailand Beach

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SUP Yoga!

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On a sinking paddle board!

On the final night, Pimalai put on a GORGEOUS closing ceremony dinner, including a beautiful table set-up that looked like it was for a wedding!

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There is a tradition in Thailand to send off Sky lanterns – It is considered good luck to release a sky lantern, and many Thais believe they are symbolic of problems and worries floating away (Wiki). However, we did something a little different – our photographer hand-made floating lanterns out of banana leaves to float on the infinity pool (How beautiful are they?!).

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handmade banana leaf lanterns

We all lit our lantern, made a wish/blessed others/asked worries to disappear, and sent our lantern into the pool.

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It was the perfect end to the week, and I am so incredibly happy I went! It would have never happened without my friend Heather – she is so amazingly thoughtful and such a ball of energy – I had so much fun with her the entire week!

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Me & Heather!

One of the greatest things about Thailand is the friendliness of people. Everywhere we went, everyone was so kind & accommodating. Also, everything is so inexpensive! The exchange rate was about 100 baht to $3.25 US dollars… so, basically everything was under 5-10$.

The time difference from Ohio is 11 hours, so it was a bit of an adjustment getting there… however, if you time your flight/sleep schedule correctly, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue. I also stopped in Spain for 1.5 weeks following Thailand, so I was able to progress slowly back to Ohio time by the time I returned.

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Final night, sunset on the ocean in Thailand

The entire week was such a whirlwind and went by so, so fast… I would like to return to explore more of Thailand, including Bangkok & Chiang Mai! Koh Lanta was amazing, but it is such a tiny part of Thailand, and our group didn’t wander too far from the resort the entire week. Also – I loved the retreat, but sometimes, a vacation just needs to be done alone! (or maybe I am just a serial solo traveler?!) While I love meeting people, there is nothing like going off on your own and doing things on your own schedule 🙂 There is so much more to do & explore, so I will definitely be back… just need to add Thailand back to my bucket list 😉

Has anyone else been to Thailand? If so, where have you been? I’d love to hear about your travels!

 

Yoga Teacher Training Recap: Officially a certified 200 RYT!

After getting my 100 hour yoga teacher certification back in May, the plan was to complete the next 100 hours locally over the course of 4 months. From August through November, I completed a total of six,  10-14 hour weekends, put on a 1.5 hour workshop, attended a few trainee workshops, and completed 20 hours of additional workshops (think backbends, handstands, ashtanga, twists, etc). For anyone who doesn’t think it takes a lot in order to get certified.. well, it does. You can read all about it here, in 9 different blog posts, which barely even brushes the surface of what I learned in just the past 6 months alone!

Anyways… I finally finished off the last of my 20 required hours of workshops, and I am officially a certified 200 hr RYT! So what does this mean? In some ways, not much. I mean, it IS huge – I have way more knowledge, and some studios require teachers to have their 200 hour certification in order to even teach. I can also officially register with the yoga alliance, which means people can look me up to make sure I am legit and certified. It can also mean a bit more pay, since you have more experience, and you can charge more if you offer one-on-one services. For me, personally, I feel like I can officially call myself certified – not that I wasn’t before, but the amount of work I put into this certification + amount of knowledge I have accumulated makes me feel even more prepared to teach.

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So what’s next?

Continuous education – a workshop with Tamara Levinson-Campos in NYC in December, and then headed to San Francisco in January for an entire weekend event with The Yoga Journal. Teaching 1-2 more classes AND putting on workshops on the weekend (more teaching of inversions!). Maybe in a few years I will eventually get started on my 500 hour certification….

Starting up my Youtube Channel – I am creating a wide variety of videos, anywhere from stretching, 10 minute flows, 30 minute flows, to inversions! If there are any requests on what types of videos YOU would love to see, let me know!

Everyone always says “Yoga is a lifelong journey”… well, sure, but isn’t everything? We are constantly growing and evolving as human beings – things change, and there will always be more  information to learn. Same goes for teaching, doctors, etc. The learning never ends… which might seem a bit daunting and overwhelming at first. And it can be. It can get boring. However – a change of context always, always brings renewed energy. So constantly learning from others, seeking out new ways to make teaching exciting, and honing on the things that you feel most drawn to are what we should strive towards. Your excitement and passion is what makes a difference in others lives – if you aren’t bettering yourself for your own personal satisfaction/goals – why not do it for others?

And this is where I find myself – learning not just because I am curious & passionate about moving forward in life, but also being able to make some sort of difference… whether I am impacting a million people, or 1 just  person 🙂

So for those who have received their yoga certification – what are your thoughts on 100 vs 200 hours and continued education?

For those who take yoga classes... what type of education/experience in a yoga teacher makes you feel comfortable enough to take their class? Or is this something you even think about??

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