Sunday, 28 February 2010

Yoga in Samui


I can talk a lot about yoga, I simply love it and my ultimate wish is to become a yoga instructor one day...when I get more time...But for now I am still trying different styles and exploring new horizons..

So, Yoga in Samui... I start with the studios - they are amazing here. They are spacious, have lots of fresh air, and attract people with its great ambiance.

Sometimes it is called a sala - which is an open air space for massages, yoga, and general relaxation.

It can be up in jungle or in a beautiful garden ...

Sometimes it has a stunning view...

Sometimes it is a bit more sophisticated and has glass walls and your eyes can still enjoy the view - the studio in Absolute Sanctuary, where I personally go, is like that...

And sometimes you can just do it on the beach as you please...

There is plenty of space for everyone, you don't feel intimidated by someone sweating right next to you or someone in front constantly blocking your view of a teacher...No, it's good, really good.

Styles of yoga availavle in Samui

Funny enough - one of the most popular style in Samui is a Hot Yoga which is practiced twice a day in Absolute Sanctuary.

Hot Yoga is a series of yoga poses done in a heated room. The room is usually maintained at a temperature of 36-38 degrees. As you can imagine, a vigorous yoga session at this temperature promotes profuse sweating and makes the body very warm, and therefore more flexible.

I know what you are going to say - "Are you mad? It's so hot there already" - I absolutely agree, but still...Hot Yoga is so addictive, it helps you to lose weight quickly, it's very detoxifying, it makes you flexible much quicker than normal Hatha or Ashtanga..

It's a cardiovascular workout too, so we can skip gym...
Every time I get into the class, I think that I am going to pass out today, but then I am coming back again and again for more...

We also have a Bikram Yoga studio in Chaweng next door to TOPS supermarket.

Bikram is the authentic form of Bikram's Yoga originated with yogi Bikram Choudhury in 1974. Choudhury developed a series of 26 asanas to be performed in a particular sequence in a 40 degrees heated room. The classes are 90-minutes long and include 2 specialized breathing exercises as well.

Another style - Flow Yoga, also called sometimes Vinyasa Flow - The word Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement.” In other words, the teacher will instruct you to move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale. This technique is called Flow, because of the smooth way that the poses run together...Excellent for you too, and here you have to really work on your breathing as this is the most important part of this yoga...move with the breath, hold the pose with deep breathing, never hold your breath, do some cleansing breathing in the end of the class. ..

Then we have Yin Yoga - you are staying in the pose for a few minutes, it increases your blood circulation, makes you more flexible, working on your stiff joints..Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of asana practice.

Hatha Yoga - mother of all styles, slower than Vinyasa, more relaxing type of yoga, good if you are just starting. If you see a class described as Hatha, it will likely be a slow-paced stretching class with some simple breathing exercises and perhaps seated meditation. This is a good place to learn basic poses, relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with yoga.

Then we have Ashtanga - it's a hard core yoga, a system of yoga transmitted to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). This method of yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. It's not for everybody, some people find it too hard and challenging, but I personally like it.
The best place for Ashtanga in Samui is Yoga Thailand, which is a very serious institution on the south of Samui (they have recently opened a new gorgeous studio, and they have great workshops going on there all the time). A self-led variation (Mysore style) of Ashtanga yoga, done without a teacher calling out the poses. Students practice at their own pace and level of ability, but in the company of other students and with the encouragement and advice of a teacher as needed. The name Mysore comes from the city in India where Ashtanga yoga guru Shri K. Pattabhi Jois lived and taught.

Absolute Sanctuary studio also offers Pilates class once a week - great for your tummy, really hard class though. After having my baby I am still struggling every time I go to this class...

So, there is a big choice of styles, and there is always something for everyone, for hard core yogis, for someone like me - who is really into it and really enjoying yoga, for those who is just starting out and want to learn more about it, or for those who just want to try it once and then decide if it's for him or not...

If you don't want to try yoga or Pilates, then maybe you try Tai Chi, or just Meditation and Pranayama- yogi's special breathing, or Chi-gong (also spelled qigong)- a 2000-year-old series of bodily movements and breaths that calms the spirit and the mind. It strengthens the immune system, reduce stress, and improve balance and posture (all important as we get older). The most important goal of chi-gong is to learn how to breathe correctly -- which involves breathing from the tan tien -- a point 2 inches below the navel. - another type of breathing...

Or if you don't want to try anything, you can just go and have Thai massage, it's actually called passive yoga, as they stretch you during massage in similar way as you do in yoga class..

And finally...a couple of my achiewements captured on camera. Please be kind to me :-)


  1. Hi Elina,

    I plan to visit Lamai in Koh Samui. Do you know any yoga studios there or closeby?

    Yours, Gauranga Das

  2. There is a health resort called The Spa in lamai, you can google it, it has 2 branches - on the beach and up in the hills, they have daily yoga classes in both location, it's open for everyone. About 250-300THB a class