I can’t say I’m a Yogi, but Yoga has definitely been a form of exercise for me for quite sometime. I have read a lot about how this practice changed people’s lives in so many ways, like with the way they deal with stress or with whatever negativity they were into. In my case, I didn’t see Yoga as a way to transform me spiritually instead chose it as my exercise since I was quite tired of doing intensive workouts and not being able to fully commit doing it. So during that time, it was more of concentrating on a revamp with my body and not really the mind.
Then this idea of a Yoga Holiday caught my attention as I follow several certified Yogi’s in Instagram. My idea of it, was to fully commit myself in doing the practice daily and not anymore as an alternative workout.
As a birthday getaway, I wanted to visit Thailand. When I finally had my tickets ready, I started my search for a Yoga retreat. But since to travel was a part of the plan and to see Pai played a major role in my decision to have a Yoga Holiday instead of retreat in Chiang Mai.
I emailed several Yoga studios to inquire, one actually requires you to be in an intermediate level so I couldn’t. Then a reply from The Yoga Tree, they were very welcoming to beginners and to those who wish to practice Yoga and Meditation.
Along with a friend, we stayed to a nearby guest house and bought ourselves a 5-day Pass for Yoga. The Meditation was not included since that was donation-based.
The studio, true to what they described in their website, it was in a garden. It was rainy season in Chiang Mai, there were days it rained hard which made the practice more invigorating. I remember hearing the birds chirping during meditation and really that was very calming.
During our holiday, we only stayed within the “Old City”. Our day starts at 9:00 am and ends at 8:00 pm. We have tried different yoga style: Gentle & Restorative, Yoga for Women –this I believed focused on core, and the Yin Yoga. We also tried their Medical Qi Gong or Tai Chi.
In addition, Yoga Tree has become famous for its practice of the DANCEmandala. To describe this, a form of meditation that involves movement, a free-form of Dancing. I personally enjoyed this experience because for the first I was dancing without the fear of judgement from others and from myself. It was truly healing, relaxing, and I find it liberating.
The experience was really memorable, I honestly would invest into more holidays like this. But less on travel and focus more on spending time with myself, giving my body and mind some cleansing and simply disconnecting myself by getting a digital detox.
And I do recommend anyone to find time to take on holidays like this. Better to go on a real Yoga Retreat, it’s not cheap but it will be worth it. If the simple yoga holiday we did was already worth it what more for a real retreat? Imagine, for the first time in years I didn’t find the day to be long nor short. I guess a day well spent doesn’t really go unnoticed.
What else to do in Chiang Mai?
Since we had “break time” of about 4 hours, before we head back for the evening yoga and meditation classes, What else did we do?
- Rest in the hotel
- look for a place to eat
- just relaxing and having smoothie at the Yoga Tree
- walking around and exploring temples within the Old City.
I heard you, a temple-lover like me would not miss this.
We visited Wat Chedi Luang, this temple housed the Emerald Buddha, for a short time in the past.
We also visited Wat Phra Singh also known as the Temple of the Lion Buddha.
I may not have explored the place he way a tourist should have, but seeing the simplicity of the place and the people we talked to made it really easygoing in Chiang Mai. But mosquitoes were quite extra friendly here, so make sure to have a mosquito repellent handy at all the times.