I spent a week up in Northern Thailand, doing yoga in Pai. Pai is a little town about a three hour bus ride from my old home city, Chiang Mai. First of all, being back in Chiang Mai was a little bit like coming home to myself. I was reminded of everything I love about Thailand. There are quaint shops everywhere, birds chirping in the morning, and scooters zipping around the streets. Furthermore, after living in fast-paced Seoul for a year, it was like a breath of fresh air to arrive somewhere with such an easy-going vibe. (And amazing vegetarian food!)
Yoga in Pai
I had done a retreat with Bhud Xhale Yoga previously. The yoga retreat took place about five years ago on a little island off of Cambodia. Read more about Nomad’s Land, Cambodia here.
The retreat in Pai was set at a resort about 10 minutes from the center of Pai Town, and was surrounded by gorgeous rice paddies.
Yoga classes are run by Bhud, a lovely Thai woman who is honestly the epitome of love and light. Without getting too sentimental, she embodies everything that a yoga teacher should be. Bhud’s teaching style is fun yet helpful, and I felt encouraged to try new things and test the limits of my comfort zone. Under her guidance, I got into my first headstand and bridge from shoulder stand.
In addition, there are other activities offered at the retreat, such as a cooking class and a trip to the hot springs. Bhud even teaches you how to make her famous chai with coconut milk. The chai is honestly some of the best I have ever had. I must try that recipe when I get back home!
The retreat fees include three healthy meals, but Bhud is very into eating ‘only what your body needs’. As a result, the meals are are small, but very healthy and packed with nutrients. Usually, we had soup and fruit for breakfast. Eating soup in the morning was quite strange for me, but apparently having less in your stomach allows for a more effective yoga practice. However, the lunches and dinners were larger, and usually included homemade pasta or brown rice.
Yoga classes at the retreat are intense. Classes are held 2 times per day, and each last about 2 hours. Bhud teaches hatha yoga in the morning, and yin yoga at night. Yin Yoga is definitely the more relaxing of the two, but holding the poses for 5 minutes each can be quite challenging! Meditation practices are scheduled in the morning and evening. Meditation, as per usual, was the most difficult for me. I have the hardest time turing my brain off and just being present.
In the afternoons, Bhud leads a little yoga ‘philosophy session’, where she discusses the roots of yoga. She also encourages students to learn how to take your practice home with you. Bhud wants yogis to be able to keep that inner-peace present at all hours of the day, not just on the mat.
Overall, it was a fabulous retreat and I would highly recommend it. I was feeling a bit burned out after partying in Boracay and the Gili Islands, and the retreat was a great way to reset my mind and body.
Finally, if you ever are ever in Northern Thailand, make sure to head up to Pai and check the retreat out. The people I met there and the lovely teacher, Bhud, will always hold a special place in my heart.