Yoga was never really my thing. I had done it once or twice at the gym before but I never really understood what all the fuss what about. Even my parents are active yogi’s and still go to yoga three times a week, but me? Nah, I’m good. Until I was in Cambodia. My travel buddy Katrien told me about this yoga retreat just outside of Siem Reap and I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
Away from the hustle ‘n bustle of Siem Reap
After a 15 minute tuk-tuk ride from Siem Reap we arrived at our destination. The retreat was located in the midst of beautiful greenery where chickens, dogs and cats were roaming around freely. The owners showed us our little bungalow which would be our home for the next three nights and we soon got acquainted with the other aspiring yogi’s. There was a salt water pool to swim and sunbathe when there were no classes and there was a nice communal area where we would have breakfast and dinner with the group. Everything seemed really relaxed and got us straight into the ‘zen’ mode.
There were five classes a day: four yoga classes and one meditation class at the end of the day. Yogi’s from all levels were welcome to join – even if you’re a stiff, inelastic person like me. The first yoga class started right after sunrise at 6:30 and was a lovely way to wake up and start a new day. The other three yoga classes consisted of different types of yoga like pranayama yoga and more active yoga. We arrived in the afternoon, just in time for the late afternoon yoga class, and soon I discovered yoga isn’t for the faint hearted…
Ouch! Argh! Body! Aching!
Trust me, I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to working out. I love going to the gym and I’m a big fan of Les Mills Body Pump, but ohmylord, this yogathing is tough! To learn all the new poses, repeat them quickly after each other and bend like you’re an elastic doll was quite the challenge, and after a day I was aching all over. I never knew you could get so sore of yoga! But next to the aching I had to admit I was really enjoying what I was doing. It made me feel more relaxed and it definitely felt good to be working out again after months of traveling.
Mediation: not so much for me
I also tried the mediation class the first night. The class started right before sunset so that at the end of the session it would be completely dark outside. We had to sit in the lotus pose and remain completely still. We had to try to repress every thought that came to mind and just focus on the here and now – don’t let your mind wander. For me as an (over)thinker this was a suuuuper big challenge, almost impossible. And when a cat suddenly jumped on my lap I couldn’t help but move. I think meditation is a wonderful thing and that I could really benefit from it, but I’m currently not ready to fully devote myself to it.
The overall conclusion: I loved the retreat! Not only was it nice to work out again, to learn new things and to feel so relaxed, it was also great to meet new people and share stories and experiences. This 4 day/3 night retreat cost us $200 pp and included all classes, 3 nights in a 2p bungalow, breakfast, tea and dinner. There are many websites where they offer various yoga retreats, so depending on the country you’re in just type in to Google “[nameofthecountry] Yoga Retreat” and look for one which fits your wishes and needs. Namasté 😉