I have seen some pretty special places in my life so far and feel very privileged to have done so. But it is only since I have been practicing conscious living (In the moment) for the past 2 years that I really started to appreciate these special moments of me being in these amazing places. My recent trip to South East Asia & Indonesia held an abundance of value to the development of my being. From the people we met along the way, the healthy diet we were able to indulge in, the variety of high quality yoga spots we worked out in, the places we found ourselves in & also the challenges along the way!
When you go away for a period of time, whether that be travelling around or on a short vacation away, you are able to decompress and relax your mind from the everyday routinely struggles of life. This is an important thing to do in my opinion as it enables you to slow down for a moment, observe the path you are following, and adjust the direction accordingly from time to time. This of course is something not easily done for some people, who struggle to take a break from life and are caught up in the "doing mode" too often instead of "being" where wonderful things can develop for yourself and others around you. A good friend of mine recently told me that, "You have to treat life like a wave that you surf on, adjusting the board small degrees left & right as you navigate through the wave". This has stuck with me and find it a great analogy. If you don't take time to adjust then you just fall off, but of course when this happens, make sure you jump straight back on it!
Travel allows us to meet people of different cultures, experiences, tales & lessons to be passed on. The people of the local villages and cities showed such a warming and compassionate approach. Walking along the streets you would mostly see open hearted individuals who would simply smile and even say hello as you walk by them or "Sawadee Krab" should I say. Back in the western world you would probably think it was strange for someone to smile at you as you pass by let alone say hello! From hostels / Air BnBs & homestays, the hospitality was tremendous, with a completely different experience each time. Conversing with fellow travellers with similar interests, learning about their journey and aspirations, sharing some amazing experiences and views on the world today. The general feel of meeting this variety of people, definitely helped me deepen my perspective on life and practice gratitude as I was informally meditating along the way.
Since becoming a yoga teacher in India, I have made it my aim to visit the eastern world each year for a period of time to recharge my spirituality and physical asana practice of yoga. The quality and diversity of the sessions were fantastic! Me and my travel brother Jon entangled ourselves in around 15 different classes. Ranging from Yin, Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa & Bikram styles! I tried to interact and meet the teachers after the class to learn a bit about their journey as a teacher and human being. A truly special experience each and every one of them which all held their own separate challenges both physically and mentally. Some classes would see me with beads of sweat slowly dripping off my hair strands and tip nose onto the heavy mat, whereas others would allow me more to reflect focus on a certain feeling or emotional pull. Coming back from these experiences I aim to bring a bit of everything of these styles as each one lends itself to the other on bringing a person into the present moment, being able to tap into your body and reconnect. Whether your holding a more relaxing asana for 3-5 minutes in a Yin class or fluidly moving from one to another in the space a few calculated breaths, each practice within the yoga spectrum are as important as one another for various benefits.
I was astounded at how easy it was to find great, healthy and nutritious food! Around every corner there would be a really innovative, independently owned cafe/ coffee shop. We actively sought out vegan cafes which is only just becoming "a thing" here in the west. Smoothie bowls, stir frys, curries, wraps, Goji berry balls.... the selection was crazy good! Of course this food was all just costing the equivalent a few quid back home. The coffee shops were fantastic too, not just the quality of a good stiff americano but also the concept of each quirky little space we found ourselves in. This coffee culture has been growing over in Europe over the past few years of course and it was inspiring to see such places here too. Overall, it was pretty dam easy to keep to a healthy diet, even with some "raw carrot cake" thrown in the mixer too! The Thai cooking class gave us 20 dishes to practice back home where its a lot harder to eat healthy for a reasonable price!
If it wasn't for sanctuaries like "Elephant Jungle sanctuary", then elephants would not survive. The ethical values at this place were good as they are able to roam freely within a large area with no riding or tying up to stakes. We were in fact able to bathe, play and feed with these wonderfully intelligent animals.
For me, trips like these are not just trips, they are adventures. Full of experiences and challenges along the way. (Not to mention the accident I had in Koh Phi Phi, ending up in hospital for 3 days!) It's a space for growth, broadening the mind's perspective and remind yourself of a few simple values/ principles which are often reinforced in a yoga practice. Bringing awareness to compassion, non- judgement, non- reaction, acceptance, self discipline, gratitude. In awareness of these, they help you enjoy the journey, appreciate the now, reduce negative situations, & increase the effectiveness of your life. Good vibrations will always come back to you when you are giving them out, but same with negative ones so be aware of that. This is what yoga, reading books, meditation & travelling has taught me so far, a lifelong practice of trying to be a good person most of the time and making time to do the things you love that feed your soul.
I hope the reader finds value reading this blog to carry into their next journey, being present for the most part of it!
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