Monthly Archives: June 2013

Yoga Teacher Training at The Sanctuary

18 days since my last post? whoops! Probably because I’ve been yoga-ing from 6am (waking up at 5:30….which has become 5:40, from 5:15) to dinner at 7pm every day. Yesterday marked the 2 week mark since training began here on Ko Phan-gan so I reckon we’ve done about 120 of our 200 hours…and I know for sure that that is more hours than I spent in lecture for any given semester of my undergraduate, so I’m quite proud of myself.

As it would happen in a Yoga Teacher Training, lots of emotional highs and lows have come, passed, and surely await. For the sake of catching up on lost time I’ll start by giving the hard fact updates.

So we’re at the Sanctuary on Had Tien Beach on Ko Phan gan…yes, full moon island but surprisingly, a short 15 minute long tail boat ride (100-300 baht daytime, 600 for solo/100 pp late night) from full moon beach/ Haad Rin will take you to your own slice of hippy vibing-byron in thailand-cleanse/yoga-friday rave escape from reality.

The Sanctuary is basically a private beach—not technically, but pretty much, plus they are walking distance from had yuan and another very quiet beach further east. We are in the dorm (most of us) which gets cleaned every 2 days, and has clean, toilet papered bathrooms to overshadow the ant infestation. Laundry is 50 baht on the beach and doesnt happen if it rains. The resort has movies every Tuesday on the beach, Open mic every Thursday, and a market on Sundays. The staff and manager are delightful, and the other geusts aren’t pretentious…which is rare for Thai health resorts. Food is good…a bit of a pain to get dietary alternatives some days, but definitely great well rounded flavours–pricey though. Love lip, bamboo, and spice are all on property or a short walk and have all your thai faves for around 100 baht. There is also Horizon Muay Thai on the same veach which I THINK is a cheaper place to stay at.

As far as training goes…tough but great. Its definitely a shift to be back to the classroom and doing 6 hours of lecture a day! I am learning so much about my practice though, I can already feel the shifts in our morning practices! We all have to teach one class in teh 25 days, I did mine on day 10 (the 13th—as I would) and it went pretty well surprisingly! I equate this training to learning a language in the sense that when you go to yoga as a student, its like learning puedo uno cerveza in Mexico…you can say phrases (do postures) and probably even crack a joke (or meditate a bit) but then you really learn the language, the spelling and grammar, the verbs etc….all of the sudden its way harder to speak the phrases you know because you’re considering every detail of conjucation. The first couple weeks are overcoming the hurdle of ignorance is bliss as you begin to speak in sanskrit and consider aspects of asana (yoga postures) that you didn’t even know were factors. It takes a hit at the ego when you re set alignment and can no longer do what you considered to be a basic posture. Luckily therea re 23 of us going through the same learning curve.

Lila Vinyasa Training with Clara & Carolyn is great because there are 2 teachers…so double the experience, half the ratio, and different classes every day. Every yoga inclined person at the sanctuary that has seen our curriculum has been highly impressed with the depth of what we are learning, and even I have noticed us learning concepts much more advanced than some cues I’ve gotten even in workshops.

I would definitely recommend doing teacher training from teachers in the area (gernerally) that you intend to teach in as they will understand your yoga background and the demands of your future student community best. I toyed with doing my training in India, but realize now how beneficial it is to have native English speakers, and teachers who know the Canadian yoga scene. Even as an Albertan with Vancouverite teachers I’m noticing certain differences among my fellow students about what we expect from classes. It is also much easier to connect with the teachers and develop a sort of mentor relationship-it also makes them seem more accessible for the long term learning journey to teaching or just deepening practice.

Our lunch break is almost over and we have some gooooood shit to go through this afternoon, so up the 84 stairs to the dorm for a shower…I hopefully will post more later tonight or soon. Wifi isn’t free in the dorm, so I’ve been a bit lagged with my whole cyber life. Oh, did I mention there’s a talent show tomorrow….is budgetting and living in really gross hostels a skill?


It’s weird being away from ‘home’ for so long. Yes, only 7 months…but its a bit different to be travelling for such a period versus living abroad. When you’re living somewhere for even a week never mind months you establish relationships, favourite places, find good deals, and your favourite smoothie lady.

When I think of Canada it’s hard to think of what home I miss…obviously I miss my family and friends, but as far as the environment I don’t really miss much. I lived away for uni, so Calgary where I spent 18 years growing up doesn’t even seem familiar…I’m just that ‘old’ lady who remembers each club by what they were called 5 years ago when I had my fake ID. As for Edmonton, my life was greatly influenced by school but moreso by my workplace…with both of those relationships being done it’s hard to know what life would be like anyway.

As I wait for 12 hours in Bangkok to catch my second consecutive night bus, I feel ‘home’. I don’t know anyone here…I do have a fave smoothie lady though…but somehow Khao San Road and the live music cafes on Rambuttri are same same but different. The pad thais are selling for 5 baht more than my adventures in Bangkok a short 2 months ago, but the wifi passwords are still the same, and Backstreet boys is still the most played band (along with an asian cover of wonderwall–obviously).

It has reminded me what home is like …in the environmental sense…the sense of knowing where things are, how much they should cost, and most satisfyingly not being convinced into taking a taxi from the independence monument to Khao san (2 minute walk). Its a bit depressing in a way, as I’ve realized I probably ‘know’ Bangkok better than any city in Canada.

I will say though, that its almost a little victory of travelling…to return to somewhere you ‘know’. Helping fresh faced backpackers just arriving in Asia. Not price comparing fruit shakes. Just being comfortable…being able to walk somewhere and know that I’m going to get where I’m going, how long it will take, that it actually exists, and is open is a luxury I haven’t had in quite some time.

It was a bit familiar when returning back to Phnom Penh multiple times while taking side trips in Cambodia, but I haven’t had this sense of belonging and attachment to a place since my lay over in Sydney over 3 months ago. It makes you feel a bit accomplished, though…and it reminds me of one of they future joys of travel. As much change as I can observe from the last 2 months…imagine the evolution in years. I can’t wait to come back to these places and see what they become, and be able to say “I was in SE Asia when there were different visas and currencies” just as my mom can say the same about Europe. In such developing nations change is happening tenfold to what we experience in the West. It is a gift to be able to see all of these places and then to be able to come back and celebrate the advancements from the price of fake ray bans to road rules.

I feel more comfortable looking right-left-right for traffic, sabadee-kaa comes out of my mouth without processing, and even though its equally as hot here as Chiang Mai I feel more acclimatized even to the weather. I trust people (maybe with naive lenses) and am at ease. I’ve calmed down. It is amazing what not having to be on your toes for even 12 hours can do for mental health. Even the bus ride, I slept for 10 full hours because I had no stresses about where I was going. So, Thank you Bangkok for being a little different but mostly same same…I needed it.