Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Neighborhood in Doi Saket - Thailand

For most students looking into yoga teacher training programs, location is among their top priorities. People are naturally curious about where the Wise Living Yoga Academy (WLYA) is situated, and internet search alone may not satisfy all the questions they have: What is life like around WLYA?  Is it very secluded? How will you get around?  Will you be using squatting toilets?  Read on to find out!
WLYA is tucked away in a peaceful, unpolluted neighborhood comprised mainly of rice fields and low rolling mountains in northern Thailand.  It is an ashram dedicated to students in the yoga teacher training programs.  It has beautiful Eastern designs integrated into Western facilities and amenities, so students can focus on their studies in comfort and peace.  
It is very safe to walk around the surrounding area.  Don’t expect the locals to speak any English, but you can bet they are very friendly, even by Thai standards!  The commercial area of the neighborhood is small, but you will have no trouble finding  basic necessities.  If you must, the largest city in northern Thailand-- Chiang Mai-- is less than an hour away.  Otherwise, many students use their time at the ashram as an opportunity to let go of their attachments and addictions, small or big.  
What you can find around the ashram
Within 15 minutes’ walk
  • Local shops selling basic toiletries and snacks
  • Vegetarian restaurant and juice bar
  • Temple


Within 30 minutes’ walk/5-10 minutes’ bike ride
  • Small supermarkets
  • Two resorts with pools and services
  • ATMs
  • Bike and motorcycle rental
  • Local massage places
  • Copy and print shop
  • Hospital
  • Dam with a view
  • Secondary school

Within 30 minutes’ bike ride
  • Doi Saket Market
  • Many temples
  • Many cafes and bakeries run by both Thai people and foreigners
Within 30-60 minutes’ taxi ride
  • Chiang Mai
  • Airport
  • Waterfalls
  • Countless tourist activities!
Getting around
You will very rarely see tuk tuks or minivans around the ashram.  Songtail (truck taxi) is the transportation of choice.  It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get here from Chiang Mai.  
Bikes are a great, inexpensive way to explore the neighborhood.  There is a bike rental shop in town where you can rent a bike daily, weekly, or monthly.  You can also rent motorcycles for a negotiated price.  

Local SIM cards are best purchased at airports or in cities before you head up to the ashram, but a small selection may be available at the supermarkets in town.
WIFI is available at the ashram daily during designated times.  Several places in town (e.g. Jamjuree Restaurant and Tao Garden) have free WIFI for guests.  
Printing, Xerox copying, and desktop computers are available for a small fee at a shop in town.  
Past students have described the Ashram environment as one of their favorite things about their teacher training experience.  Please check out our Facebook page for photos of the ashram and yoga teacher training courses in Thailand!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yoga Relaxation in Everyday Life

Imagine yourself in a peaceful Ashram environment— deepening your yoga practice day by day, surrounded by positive energy and beauty, eating three delicious, organic meals a day, and finding balance within yourself.  Feel your mind and body start to relax.  Relaxation helps release tension in the muscular and nervous systems, quieten the mind, and increase concentration.  Many of our problems stem from our inability to relax fully.  People typically wait until vacations and weekends to try to relax.  But what about in our day-to-day lives?  How do we relax in a highly stressful and emotionally charged world?

There are various forms of relaxation techniques in yoga, many of which are simple yet incredibly powerful.  Visualization, as you sampled at the start of this post, is one of them and can be very effective.  In the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course in Thailand at the Wise Living Yoga Academy, students learn to lead relaxation yoga sessions.


During the relaxation session, students perform a sequence of asanas.  The main ones are Nishpandabhava (No Movement Feeling), Dradhasana (Firm Pose), and Shavasana (Corpse Pose).  In Nishpandabhava, students recline against a wall with feet comfortably apart and hands loose on their thighs.  They then direct their attention to sounds around them but without any reaction or judgment.  They remain passive and motionless, thereby promoting introspection and countering anxiety and the need to control their surroundings.

In Dradhasana, students lie on one side using the arm on the same side as a pillow and draping the other arm on top of their bodies.  When done on the right hand side, this pose aids the natural flow of the digestive process and is especially great after a meal.  Students relax in this pose before rolling over onto their backs for Shavasana.  The leader guides them to focus on different parts of the body, starting with the toes and moving up to the crown of the head: “Give awareness to your toes, and relax them” and so on.

A 200-hour YTT student guiding others in Shavasana

Asanas for relaxation help practitioners let go physically, mentally, and emotionally.  They become aware of body parts that may be neglected or hold too much tension throughout the day and then consciously relax them.  Practitioners are encouraged to practice relaxation at home or even in workplaces, and start to notice positive changes in their energy levels and mood.

Stay tune for more information on Yoga philosophy and practices! Namaste!