My week in Thailand on a Yoga Retreat - continued
Published on: 03/04/18
Every day we start the morning in silence, giving us time to focus, be mindful and to avoid disturbing the wonderful sounds of the jungle waking. Qigong helped prepare us for a challenging Yoga practice; battling against the heat, learning new asanas and working through an old injury. During practice Simon taught a new chant to the group, this is all a new concept for me so I decided not to join in but in instead closed my eyes, listen and feel the vibrations within the sala.
Relaxation was on the agenda today, the jet-lag started to kick in and the mornings Yoga session had exhausted me. So I simply rested in the hammock for the afternoon and occasionally dipped into the lake to cool off - its a hard life!
Another reason why I’ve not benefited my past experiences with Yoga is because I struggle with relaxation but where better place to try this than at Jungle Yoga where there are no distractions (other than the occasional monkey swinging in the nearby trees). With no phone signal I am unable to log onto work emails, check my facebook feed, send messages to friends or read what is happening in the news which occupies my headspace.
I have discovered that I really enjoy Yin Yoga and learning the art of mindfulness, both my body and mind are already feeling the benefits. Recent studies say that only 47% of the time our mind is focused on the activity we are doing and our attention is only kept for 6 seconds before the mind wonders - this is why mindfulness meditation is so beneficial.
Tonight after dinner Dickie showed us his slideshow of all the animals and creatures he has captured on film over the past few years, including; elephants, leopards, monkeys, bears, deer, buffalo, snakes, spiders, butterflies, birds to name a few. I had my fingers crossed that we would get a few sightings tomorrow on our jungle walk.
Up bright n early ready for our morning trip, no Yoga this morning instead we took a very short boat ride around the bay to the start of the trek. It was a silent walk, not to disturb the local wildlife. As we walked through the jungle watching our steps whilst surveying the landscape it wasn’t long until we heard some movement above us! Watching the monkeys swing from tree to tree was such a lovely moment. We continued to descend through the jungle until we reached the lake. This is where we boarded a raft and drifted down the lake to visit a cave. The cave was so unexpected, using our head torches we could see the stalagmites and stalactites, finding a corner of the cave we all sat and the group chanted in darkness - a surreal moment.
We floated along the river eating breakfast and there was an opportunity to jump into the lake to cool off.
Returning the raft and walking back through the jungle coming across a few spiders along the way 😳 then making our way back to the Rafthouse - what a way to spend the morning.
This mornings Yang Yoga practice was my favourite, I loved how it flowed and that all the asanas we’d worked on throughout the week led us to the Dragon Dance. Maybe I do like Yoga afterall...?
In the afternoon Pat and I decided to head out in the kayak to explore more of the jungle. It was pretty quiet out with it being midday but the sights were amazing. We said we’d go out again early Friday morning before sunrise, let’s see if we can get up before 6am.
I can’t believe it has been a week already! The experience of living in the jungle on the lake has been unreal so of course we got up before sunrise to kayak again. As we kayaked behind the bungalows all the other guests were still sleeping and it was so calm and peaceful on the lake. The only sounds were from the Gibbons calling to one another high up in the trees and some other animal noises that I couldn’t identify. We did see some water hogs, took some pictures from afar trying not to disturb them.
Our morning practice started with Yin Yoga which was very welcomed after our morning kayak. I followed this with another Thai massage, which was incredible - she found the areas of my body I never knew existed.
After lunch we made kratongs; floating lanterns made with banana leaves, candles and incense. These were to be sent off down the river later in the evening whilst making a wish.
Thirty minutes into our final Yin Yoga practice a storm was brewing. The winds picked up and the clouds were heading our way, we all left the sala to stand on the pontoon to watch it all unfold. It felt so exciting being in the middle of the rainforest storm so Simon led the rest of the Yoga session outside. It was impromptu and felt like the perfect end to a wonderful week, laying out in the rain and just being present in the moment.
Sat on the river boat making the hour long journey back to the mainland, I observed the scenery around me and prepared to return to civilisation. Reflecting on the week I had just spent in the jungle, waking up to nature around me, no distractions from technology, meeting a group of wonderful inspiring people, ENJOYING Yoga and even embracing the dozen cockroaches that housed in my bungalow. An experience I will never forget and one shared with one very special person; my Mum.
I plan to continue with my Yoga practice as I feel it has become a way of living for me and will help to gain the balance in my lifestyle.
I can highly recommend this retreat at Jungle Yoga with Simon Low.