Best Retreat Destinations by Mae Bejo

Be warned: Like Sirens luring you in from the sea, Thailand has a way of drawing you back in. This vibrant kingdom of Southeast Asia paints a mystical picture with its spectacular temples that offer a quiet solace away from the noise of tuk-tuks, bustling streets and commotion of the major cities. Thailand is a favorite among yoga enthusiasts because of its deep connection with traditional healing treatments, most popular of which is Thai massage, which combines acupressure with yoga-like stretching techniques. But where do yoga retreat regulars go when they want some of the best wellness experiences in Thailand? Here are four luxurious retreat destinations worth giving a try.

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Yin Is In

Yin is in

As the world seems to move faster and faster, fueled by a never-ending stream of information that is constantly available through our mobile devices, there is a need to slow down. Even in people's yoga practice - that is intended to relax the body and calm the mind - there is often a striving to look and be a certain way, fed by social media and other external factors. Many people are exhausted and are looking for different ways to enhance their well-being, or so it seems. The quiet practice of Yin Yoga is one of the answers; no matter where I teach (whether in New Jersey, Amsterdam or Norway) my classes are packed.

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Yogis united

Over the past 7 years I have been returning to Samahita Retreat regularly to continue my studies with my teacher Paul Dallaghan - continuing on my path of diving deeper into the practices of Yoga. And whenever I return back home to my own community of students, I bring along new insights and inspiration to share with them.

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10 Tips for Making it to Yoga Class When You Are Too Busy

Even if you are busy, yoga still makes sense. Okay, we get it; you’re absolutely rushed off your feet – who isn’t? With that in mind, then, wouldn’t you like to take the weight off those tired old feet for an hour or so and just…well…relax? Of course you would! And guess what? Yoga is the best thing for you right now. Getting you back to ‘you’, it’ll relax your body and your mind and give you the boost you need when everything else seems like one big stress. To help you, here are our top ten reasons you should make it to yoga class when you’re just too busy to do much else:

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sascha romana posing

How to become an early Yoga bird

Why would anyone bother to get up very early in the morning if he or she doesn’t have to? Well, there are many reasons, and going to a Mysore class is certainly one of the best. By Sascha and Romana Delberg

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A tasteful yoga practice!

In the yoga tradition the relationship to food and eating is almost looked upon as something holy. We are eating to live and encourage life which involves a lot more than how many calories are in the meal, or nutrients. Yoga would say that even things like how the food is prepared, how we eat it and the condition of our mind as we eat, has an effect on how the food is able to support us and our health.

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sascha romana during yoga

Mysore is the real thing ~ Romana Delberg and Sascha Delberg

Who or what is Mysore? To begin with, Mysore (spelled like “my sore“, which sometimes gives cause to more or less funny remarks) is a town in the Indian state of Karnataka. It was in Mysore that Shri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009), the most important propagator of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, led his Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (AYRI), a place of pilgrimage for innumerable Yogis from all over the world.

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cooking spices

5 Unusual Ways to Boost Your Energy, Happiness and Wellbeing ~ Jessica Blanchard

Ever feel overwhelmed? Like you’re a hamster running on a wheel, and you long to jump off? But just between the essentials like work, family life, relationships, and getting food into your mouth, there's an incredible amount to fit into each day. So you keep running for dear life. On the days when you squeeze in a yoga class or morning meditation you feel incredible. But frequently you just can’t find the time. Sigh.

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melanie cooper

Where should I feel this? ~ Melanie Cooper

A common question asked by yoga students is ‘where should I feel this’. This is often harder to answer than it might seem. Firstly bodies are complicated things! The old model of individual muscles moving or restricting a single joint is now largely thought to be too simplistic. The body has come to be seen as a system of inter-connecting or even continuous lines of muscles. In this model, a restriction in a muscle or fascia in the foot can be felt as tightness or restriction in the neck. Bodyworkers will also talk about ‘referred pain’, where an injury or restriction in one part of the body is felt as pain somewhere else entirely. So ‘feeling it’ somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where the problem or restriction is. Also, different people experience pain in a very unique way. What is unbearable agony to one person may be an acceptable level of pain to someone else.

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sunset on a beach

Do You Know What Most Centers and Grounds You? ~ Carmen Marshall

I always love thinking about and savoring the current year we’re in, before we head in the next….and simplifying the core principles of my company, Create A Life You Love. These are some of the questions I’ve been asking: What are my non-negotiable practices, that most ground and center me? What have I learned this year that has helped me most relax, feel connected and more easily co-create with the universe? What do I want “pack in my suitcase” for 2016? I love threes. My brain thinks in 3’s, 7’s and 10’s. So here’s my 3 non-negotiable practices that most ground and center me:

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The Deeper Connection ~ Sara Granström Thorsson

When I ask yogis from different parts of the world why they practice yoga the answer they give has usually to do with something that is referring to a deeper connection with the core of their being. This connection can show itself in many different ways. Someone will say: “I become calmer when I do yoga and feel more at peace with myself.” Someone else describes the same connection as something that makes them kinder towards other people. 

Many also experience that yoga gives them “a gap” or perhaps “a space” where they are able to see things more clearly. The great thing about this pause is that it creates options for how to react in different situation. The “gap” is the calm and quiet environment where you allow yourself to observe yourself.

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melanie cooper

The Ashtanga Opening Chant.

Vande Gurunam Caranaravinde—I bow to the lotus feet of the gurus (sometimes translated as ‘the supreme guru’). Vande means ‘I worship’, gurunam is ‘the gurus’ or ‘the supreme Guru’ and charanaravinde means ‘I bow to the lotus feet’. Depending on what you believe or how you see it, here the chant acknowledges and expresses gratitude to all the people who have passed yoga on for thousands of years so we can practice it today.

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Peter Nathaniel

A blog about Breathwork

My Breathwork Journey began with a drowned man. I arrived in Ubud, Bali, after two weeks on the Gillie islands. Two days before I’d witnessed the calm blue paradise waters take a life, without so much as a ripple to mark his passing. The experience of watching the last breath of a man I had never met float past my face, rising from a depth to deep to reach below me, had left me hollow and raw. So when a friend invited me to join her for a breath class, which might help with stress relief and the release of tension, I went along, though at first I failed to see any connection.

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black light yoga

Blacklight Paddle Board Yoga and the Monkey Mind

Last weekend, a friend of mine asked me if I would help her set up her booth at Wanderlust, a traveling yoga festival, and in exchange, she would give me a wrist band which I could use to go to some yoga classes. I’ve never been to a yoga festival before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to go. I practice Ashtanga yoga in a town where we don’t have an Ashtanga community, and so my practice is solo or with a friend or two in a quiet, mirrorless studio in silence. I love it.

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woman meditating on the beach

The magical power of pranava japa

It’s pure magic. According to Patanjali, Isvara (the Self) is expressed as pranava and the continuous chanting (japa) of the word Om brings many benefits, such as purification of the mind, the body and the environment, removal of attachments and attainment of all four aims of human life, namely obligatory duty (dharma), wealth (artha), pleasure (kama) and liberation (moksha).

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So you think you love yourself?

Everywhere you turn from personal development books to Oprah, we are told to love ourselves, but what does this really mean? And what are the benefits of loving yourself? In my own journey to “loving myself” my enquiry started with just that question “Do I really love myself?” Coming from Scotland, a culture that delights in its self-depreciating humour, “loving yourself” is not seen as an endearing characteristic in any way!

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Dahpne Tsu

Honoring my Inner Guru

This morning as I rose with Guru Purnima (a day of honoring all your teachers) and the big blue full moon upon us, I contemplated and gave gratitude for all the gurus who have supported and help guide me on my spiritual path. As the face of each teacher passed in front of me I recognized that every one of these gurus is an external guru. I honor each and every one of them yet, when I distilled it down to what is guiding me internally I realized that primary guru is my breath. Before any of my external teachers, it was just me and my breath. My friend and co-teacher, Ellen Watson says, “Your breath is your most intimate partner, closer than any lover will ever be to you.”

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Daniel Blog

Asana – Body, Senses & Mind

Asana (posture) is often thought of as a body practice, a form of exercise for improving strength and flexibility. Of course most of us know its true value but nevertheless feel dismayed by this perception. Some even go so far as to reject asana completely partly due to this misunderstanding and in an effort to prove to themselves that they are indeed more ‘spiritual’ in doing so. But this is also to miss the point given the history of the practice of Hatha Yoga in particular. We should remember why the body is there in the first place, it has and important function, is part of our evolved human heritage. To repress or ignore the body or relegate it is to strengthen the sense of duality that afflicts many including spiritual aspirants. The body and mind are not separate they co-arise. To be aware of one is to be aware of the other, to practice asana is to practice meditation. Body-sense awareness feeds into the mind affecting mental states, awareness and control of the mind affects the condition of the body. Finding this balance is essential to yoga practice as it helps heal the mind-body duality which causes disassociation and suffering.

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I am still learning

I am still learning (Catherine & Ewan) One grey Saturday morning in October 2009 we found ourselves in a yoga class, in an unsuspecting living room of an apartment in Putney, South West London. The poster simply said: Yoga Class. Apartment 8. As our first teacher, Diana, tucked us up with a blanket during Savasana and laid an eye pillow to rest our eyes, we experienced that sense of peace and bliss that draws so many to yoga. With a kiss goodbye, we suddenly found ourselves in the stairwell of our building.

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