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Why Yoga

Why Yoga

WHY YOGA?

Hatha Yoga combines movement, conscious breathing, and mindful awareness and presence to offer physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual practices that connect us to the deepest aspects of our selves and our true nature.

 

Benefits of Yoga


The Benefits of yoga are boundless and include alignment, balance, strength, flexibility and connection to nature, community and our highest selves. Wherever you are in your yoga journey, Francie offers challenges that will match your skill level. Beginners Welcome!

Enjoy this short practice that explores a simple standing sequence to build strength in alignment, flow with the breath and movement and openness in the hips and heart.

 

Yoga literally means “union” or “to yoke” our everyday selves with our highest most divine selves. Yoga is a powerful tool that teaches us how to live a life of balance, peace, harmony, strength and flexibility on all levels. The practice of yoga helps us become stronger, more open, free, happy, flexible and balanced, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Through yoga, we open ourselves to the infinite possibilities of life, allowing us to connect more deeply with ourselves, nature and community.

A Disciplined Practice of yoga has the transformational benefits of deepening our connection to the body, mind and spirit, supporting us in living and loving long, vibrant, happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.Yoga teaches us the art of letting go, letting grow, letting flow. We move our bodies to move energy and restlessness to ultimately still the mind and enter the bliss of meditation, wherein our individual consciousness can merge with the ultimate or spiritual oneness consciousness, leading to our remembrance that we are not separate from that which appears to be outside of our own minds.

In practicing yoga, we become humbled and trusting in the body of wisdom that is sacred and vast and greater than our individual selves, looking at the reflections life shows us in the form of experiences, people we come cross, emotions that enter. We practice the art of receiving, giving, striving for an open heart even especially when it wants to close, believing the seemingly impossible to be possible and embracing feelings of gratitude for the perfection of it all either way

From wherever we are at, where ever our own personal edges are, breaking through our conceptions of comfort and of who we think we are, and having the biggest openings is another great benefit of practicing yoga. Becoming more conscious, more mindful, in the choices we make everyday, from diet and lifestyle to the company we keep, so that we are living in full truth, love and integrity, is another great benefit of practicing yoga. Yoga helps inspire a deeper connection with mother nature and her cycles. To feel connections and allow synchronicities is such a delightful fruit of this practice. It is after all and most importantly, a practice!

Top 10 Insights to help prepare you for the Magic of our Yoga Retreats

Top 10 Insights to help prepare you for the Magic of our Yoga Retreats

Top 10 Insights to help prepare you for the Magic of our Yoga Retreats

Tired? Overworked/ Stressed? At a crossroads in life? Time to give your self the break you deserve.  Time to Re-TREAT yo-Self!

A Yoga Retreat is a great opportunity to unplug, unwind and focus on the true you, as you take a break from your day-to-day responsibilities and regular routines of life.  A retreat is unlike a holiday in that it requires discipline and showing up, finding the balance between practice and pause.  It’s an opportunity for you to deepen your connections and understandings of Yoga and yourself, in an exotic, gorgeous and exciting paradise while meeting great new people from all over the world.  You may love it so much that you keep coming back every year.

10 Insights to Prepare you for your re-TREAT!

 

1-Yoga is the gift that keeps on Giving  & You may come home Transformed

Warning: Going on retreat may cause serious side-effects including and not limited to feeling more: Aligned, transformed, Refreshed, Invigorated, Relaxed, Calm, Soft, Kind, Warm, Bright, Spacious, Light, Slowed down, Connected to yourself, Creative, Embodied, Focused, Clear minded, Strength to overcome new challenges, Resilience, and heightened sense of flexibility, both in the body and in the mind.

2-Expect the Unexpected and Remember 

What matters in life, is not necessarily what happens, so much as what happens next.  In other words, what matters is how You respond or react.  Let’s begin with one of my favorite Rumi poems:

This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

– Rumi

The Yin / Yang of Koh Phangan:  The magic of our location on the crystal-quartz island of Koh Phangan is that it is remote, stunning, high vibrational and so it attracts yogis, meditators, fasters, artists, travellers from around the world and party animals too!  Koh Phangan as you may know, is home to the monthly Full Moon Party.  Generally, we are not so affected by these parties, but there are loud weekly music dance parties and all vices in our bays as well.  Generally there are all-night parties Friday and Saturday. It is a unique situation in that you can wake up at sunrise, do your practice and then go dance all day, or you can stay up all night.

Keep this in mind.  Notice what arises within you.  There may be judgment, aversion, frustration, celebration, fascination; apathy…Again, everything that presents is just an invitation to know ourselves more.

Everything in your life is there as a vehicle for

Your transformation. Use it!” – Ram Dass

3- SANKALPA – What is your Intention?

We can think of the Universe as a very sophisticated GPS system.  Our jobs are to input our final destination address and then put our cars, ourselves into gear, letting the Universe navigate us and take care of the details of how we are going to get to where we want to go.

Reflect on why you have chosen to come on a retreat at this moment in your life: Take some moments to meditation or write about what has inspired you to join us here in Paradise on a retreat.  Why you are coming and what do you hope will be the outcome of your experience?  What are you hoping to feel during or after the retreat? 

4-Come with a Beginners Mind and Readiness to Play:

Some of us are New to yoga (add hyperlink to other blog post) and some of us have been teaching for 20 years.  Remember that the process of yoga is infinite, boundless, and vast beyond our wildest imaginations. Not knowing is the gateway to knowing.

When we come with our minds already full there is no space for the new, no space for transformation and expansion.  So the invitation here is to be child-like: receptive, open and playful.  Science proves that we learn and heal best through play, and that we ourselves are amazing laboratories for experimentation and self-discovery.  So let’s play!   

Beginners Mind – According to Zen Buddhism, when our rice bowl is full, so to speak, there is no room for more. Thus in order to stay open and keep learning, we must continually empty our bowls, so to speak. Throughout your time here, we invite you to meet each moment with a child-like sense of awe and wonder, in a spirit of openness, curiosity and playfulness as we explore and discover our personal patterns and edges.

5-Be Curious!

Life is an endlessly fascinating play with relentless waves of ups and downs, lefts and rights, and all arounds.  You may be coming with expectations of how things should be, or perhaps you have just had a blissful peaceful experience in mind.  The reality is, things happen.  Always. They don’t always go according to plan.  Maybe the boat driver is trying to rip you off, or you get sick when you arrive, maybe you meet the person who will change your life forever, or maybe not, maybe this whole non-hot water shower non- flushing toilet thing is really out of your comfort zone, maybe you don’t sleep as well as you wanted one night because you’re getting bit by one mosquito too many.  The point is, no one knows exactly what is going to happen next ever, and in accepting whatever is happening in this moment as perfect, we can use whatever is happening as a teaching to help us evolve.  Challenge, resistance, everything is conspiring for our betterment.

how-to-expand-my-comfort-zone

6-Be Willing to Learn, to Show up, and to do your Best 

Transformation is a reflection of our willingness to connect, to let go, to aspire to realize oneself. In other words, you get out what you put in. Use this as an opportunity to go deeply into self-reflection so that you can empower yourself to recognize and begin shifting patterns that no longer serve and integrating ones that do.

Allot of success is just about showing up.  There are going to be times when you’d rather be laying on the beach than being present in class.  Normal.  We encourage you to use this resistance as your teacher and to continue to show up for yourself and do the work.  Committing to the journey and doing your best will really support you in fulfilling your intention.

7-Feel Free to go alone! There is Sangha  – Community here!  –: Everyone who is presenting in your reality is somehow a reflection of who you are right now:

We are all coming to these retreats to find more balance, to love ourselves more and to awaken.   In this we really find common threads to connect and support each other.  Each group dynamic is so unique, some groups fall totally in love with one another, and other times there is frustration and annoyance, or feelings of being triggered.  Always though, each participant leaves the group feeling expanded and connected and more self-aware.  We don’t always get to choose the lessons we learn, but wow, if we can stay open to those lessons, and reflect on why this person or that challenge may be in our presence now, it can allow for amazing shifts.

 8-Trust the Process & Take NOTHING personally:

The image most people have in their minds of a retreat in paradise is often peaceful and blissful, and ultimately this is the destination!  But, the journey can be also be bumpy at times.  Immersions offer a safe space to look at our murkier bits, to give our shadow sides space and time to emerge and release.  Sometimes we can feel social and other times we can feel to be in a quieter space.  Remember this can be a really sensitive time for you and the others. We can never really know where another being is coming from and so respect where you’re at and where others are at and don’t’ take anything personally. 

9-Nurture yourself & Allow yourself time to Simply BE

What happens off the mat is as important as what happens on the mat.  What we are learning in our journey of Yoga is what our bodies and minds need to balance.  So reflect on what you need to find more balance in your body, in your heart, in your mind, and in your spirit and take advantage of this time to honour, listen and nurture yourself.  Get massages, take naps, spend time alone, be barefoot and most importantly

Allow yourself time to SIMPLY BE.   We are doing a lot:  Moving our bodies, filling our minds, breaking through comfort zones, meditating and looking within…. We also have some free time and the tendency we have as humans, is to fill these empty spaces with distractions, habits, addictions, and BUSYNESS.    Watch your actions, your words, and your behaviours and do your best to align these with your highest intentions.

10-Practice Gratitude Everyday

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to You”. – Lao-Tzu

Gratitude – thankfulness, appreciation for the simple pleasures, for your life’s blessings, for all that you receive – is said to the most powerful of prayers and the highest vibration we can emit to help us manifest a life of happiness and alignment.  At the end of each yoga class we will take a few moments to feel gratitude.  When we start this practice, we may feel challenged or inauthentic, finding it easier at times to grumble and groan rather than think of what we are grateful for.  The hardest part is just beginning.  So let’s start now – Today, I am grateful for… Perhaps you can feel grateful for the people in your life, the feet that support you, your morning coffee ritual.  Anything.  What most people I know begin to find, is that this practice has a magnetic momentum.  As soon as you start, more and more things will come to mind that you can feel grateful for, and this ultimately can shift your mood, your moment, and ultimately you life!  Please feel welcome to begin creating a list of all the people and things, big and small, for which you are grateful and be sure to thank yourself for being here, and from us, we thank you so much for being here now and all that you are!

Look forward to practicing with you soon!

New to Yoga?  – Tips to Ready you for the Journey Within

New to Yoga? – Tips to Ready you for the Journey Within

New to Yoga?  – Tips to Ready you for the Journey Within

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. –  Lao Tzu

Welcome! We are so happy you’re here! It can be daunting to try anything new and it can be intimidating going to a yoga class for the first time.

Thoughts that tend to go through the mind of a newbie:
I’m not flexible enough to do yoga! Yoga is for weird new –age hippies? Is this a cult?
I’m not (flexible, balance strong, disciplined, insert-any other self-deprecating excuse here)– enough. What’s going on here? I can’t touch my toes. I can’t…

“Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right” – Henry Ford

Here we de-mystify this ancient and sacred practice to ready you for your journey.

1- Listen to your body and Be Compassionate towards the Self

There’s not much you need to know before going to class other than respect your body’s limits. If you experience sensation, awesome, if you experience pain, back out of the poses.

a-Childs pose is your new best friend. Hang out there anytime you feel you need to connect with the breath or with simply being. This practice is for you. Find your edge; work with it, and practicing accepting where you are every moment. I have a teacher who includes Childs pose as one of the Warrior poses, because it takes, strength and courage to really acknowledge when you are at your age and …Yoga is not about competition, go at your own pace

b-Eating and Drinking. Drink water before and after your class. During the class part of what we are doing is building transformational purifying heat in the body, so generally e tend to avoid drinking during the class. Eat after class. When we eat our energy flows downward for digestion. The practices of yoga are actually trying to build an upward moving energy to bring clarity and peace to the mind.

c-Be comfortable and clean – Wear clothes that are comfortable, loose, that you feel comfortable sticking your legs up in the air in. It is best to bathe and wear clean clothes for Yoga and meditation as this helps keeps the body fresh, pure and full of positivity.

2-Yoga is for everybody. EVERY BODY. Just show up. Be Open to leaning. Be Expectation – free. Wherever you go, there you are, so start there. In order to be “good” at yoga, all you need is to do it. As in any new venture in life, we start from where we are. Being “good” at yoga has nothing really to do with being able to touch your toes or balance on your pinky finger with one leg touching the sky above your head. “Being Good at Yoga” means that you remain centered and calm when the $%#(@ hits the fan.

3-Yoga is more than just the physical shapes we make with our bodies.

MUCH MORE. It’s a 2500 year old practical and philosophical lifestyle system that encompasses deep body awareness, consciousness awareness, lifestyle choices, personal development, compassion, patience, love, trust and.

“I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” 
― Anaïs Nin

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt. Yoga is far more than physical shapes we make with our bodies

The benefits of the physical practice totally rock. You will feel more energized, more balanced, stronger in your core, your legs your arms, your mind. But to really and truly reap the 1000 fold benefits of yoga you have to be prepared to go deep into your resistances and explore the depths of your heart and mind.

4-Stick with it! The Arts of Resistance / Patience / Perseverance

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Mark Twain
Yoga is simple but not necessarily easy. One of my favourite meditation teachers, Pema Chodron, reminds, invites, and challenges us, like a puppy dog in training, to STAY. After your first few classes in a while, the body may be screaming at you to stop. The challenge is to keep going. Be persistent. Life with its entire myriad of distractions, the mind with all of its to-dos, all of its desires to be more productive, more efficient, more…. is urging you to stop. Slowing down, leaning who you are in the face of resistance, is the name of the game here on the yoga mat. Patience will help you so much to grow and evolve beautifully

5-Explore & Go Deep

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover – Mark Twain

Try different classes – There are bazillion yoga teachers, styles and classes out there. Find inspiration wherever it’s on offer. Find a teacher whose style, personality and philosophy resonate with you, then stick with them for a while and go deep.

Read. We are multi-dimensional multi-intelligence beings. Some of us learn more by doing, hearing, reading, writing, or creating or a combination of all. We can all benefit from getting the information in as many ways as possible. There are endless amazing books on yoga, mindfulness, meditation, presence, love, trust, surrender, open-ness. Here is an ever-expanding list of some of my favorite books to get you inspired…

6- Be Curious. Ask Questions.

Be proactive. Get clarity on what is inspiring, challenging or confusing you. In our yoga classes here in Thailand, we award each student 10,000 points per question they ask. Why? Its fun, and more importantly, your questions bring relevance, depth of understanding, and insight to others, while also building community and curiosity.

7- You are a Living Laboratory

You are a living laboratory to explore the practices of Yoga, the lifestyle guides, the thought forms. Try on what your teachers are sharing with you. See if it fits. If it doesn’t fit, cool. You’ve learned and grown and can let it go. If you have a lot of resistance to trying it on…go back to number 2 and explore where the resistance is coming from and why.

8- Side effects of Yoga May include….

At first it seems harmless. You are going to a class or two or 3 a week. Next thing you know you have more energy, you are thinking about all the things you are grateful for, you are watching TV less. You are feeding your body more organic vegetarian yummy goodness. You are singing chants. You are relating more openly, more clearly and consciously, or at least you want it. Relationships are affected. You start to notice what you are feeding your body and your mind…

9- Attitude is everything – The Shift

The lessons we need to learn in life, while incredibly profound, are often quite blatantly simple. I always remind myself that this moment is exactly as it is, and it is our relationship to the moment that determines our experience of it as happy, sad, boring, exciting… We are the directors of this play. Two people caught in the rain can have very different experiences. One can be miserable and cold, cross their arms across the chess and mutter about the blahness of it all, and the other can be jumping in puddles with glee. Thoughts simple exists, it is truly our relationship to them that gives them power.

10- Enjoy, have fun, and Celebrate all wins

Every time you succeed in making it to the mat. Celebrate. You did shoulder stand for the first time. Celebrate! You meditated for 5 minutes? Celebrate! You missed a day of practice? Cool. Moving on. You made it the next day? Celebrate! Set yourself up for success.

Even in just thinking about doing yoga, or cultivating a more mindful lifestyle, you are winning and so is everyone around you. Winning!!!!

Welcome to the amazing journey of Self-Discovery that is Yoga! Enjoy your time on the mat. Find the willingness to let go of perfection, the ego, and the thinking mind and try to drop into the spacious awareness within.

The light in me salutes the light in you and I know that we are one.

Namaste!