“Strive for progress, not perfection”
I have really experienced something phenomenal this past weekend that I think there is not enough words to describe how I really feel and really thought this is something i would like to write about and share it with you.
This is the first time i went on a yoga retreat, i always wanted to go and then this time i went and I will do it again but of course logically you have to like yoga and silence otherwise i don’t think you will enjoy it as much.
So I just wanted to experience something different and then I have discovered this amazing place on the website called “Suan Sati” that is located in the heart of Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand and then I thought by myself, let’s do it, why not, I have a long weekend, let’s embrace it and create some new memories.
About Suan Sati
Suan Sati is a tranquil and an unique meditation and yoga retreat. Suan means garden and Sati means mindfulness, i love the name and the meaning behind it. This place only started about 2 years ago by an American from Seattle, his name is Will and he runs Suan Sati with his partner, Lisa from Austria. It’s about 30 minutes drive from the airport of Chiang Mai.
So the idea was very simple, it was to create an unique experience for each individual from all over the world and where you will feel more relaxed and connected after a couple of days or weeks, you can really decide how long you want to stay. It doesn’t matter your level of yoga or your nationality or your age, its quite flexible.
Suan Sati goal is really to be a place that you can practice Buddha-Dhamma through meditation, yoga ,ecological integration, and community living.
It’s a small property but its all natural with beautiful gardens, walkways that leads to the bungalows, chilling , dining and yoga area and the best part of it all is they have outside showers, so basically you can have a shower under the stars. It’s all bungalows and they can accommodate up to 22 guests if it’s completely fully booked.
At this property there are only 2 rules, isn’t this amazing?
- No expectations
- No judgment
It’s very peaceful and quiet but it gives you time to think, to reconnect or you just don’t have to do anything at all or you can try new things, the choice is in your hands.
They have a chilling area where you can read, write or keep yourself busy with some arts and crafts (painting, drawing, jewelry making, ect). They do have a small collection of books so if you want to read during your stay then go for it.
My experience at Suan Sati
This place is truly a gem, it’s magical and just peaceful and unique in its own way. I feel more connected to myself and to nature than ever before. I have arrived there late afternoon on a Friday and as soon you drive in there was this beautiful big gates and it says “Welcome to paradise” and believe me it’s a paradise.
They do provide everything you need (yoga mats and props, bedding, towels, etc) You just have to bring a couple of clothes, toiletries (preferably natural) and a book or two, it depends what you want to do when there is not yoga sessions on.
And here is the schedule for day 1, sounds pretty good to me 🙂
This was an experience I will never forget. So in the mornings its ‘silent mornings’ just till breakfast. So that just means no talking and then I have met this girl here below, her name is Shireen from Iraq, we have painted together and she has been silent for 10 days, its a choice but then it makes you realize you can communicate through other forms like body language, drawing, writing, painting, etc and what if you didn’t have a voice, there is always something to be thankful for.
I have stayed in a bungalow, heard frogs when I went to sleep and that was good for a change because normally I hear cars when I go to sleep because I live so close to the main road, the options were there to brush your teeth with charcoal if you didn’t bring any natural toothpaste, washed my hair with natural shampoo, ate vegan food for 2 days and I must tell you the food was really amazing that has been prepared by local Thai people and it was fresh and its all plant-based food but enough to fill you up, you will definitely not be hungry. After all that vegan food, it makes you feel more energetic and I guess its really a choice to be vegan. Since I have been living in Thailand I eat mostly white meat, I don’t really eat red meat here at all. It makes you think why do people really want to be vegan, is it because most people do it or is it a trend or maybe its really cruel to kill animals to feed human beings..?
If you have any dietary requirements you can inform Will and Lisa before your stay and they will try their best to accommodate your requirements.
For the first time I had coconut milk in my coffee, I just love the taste of it. Living in Thailand coconut is something you will get everywhere even in shampoo, food, body products, etc and I don’t mind it at all and it’s really good for you too.
I have showered in an outside shower, always wanted to experience that, just look at this!!!
I have meditated and did yoga in nature, did an expression dance (my first time ever) on Friday night in the dark (amazing how your body can moves) and we had an Irish girl that just wanted to do the traditional Irish dance but of course its wooden floors so they requested us not to jump 🙂 The expression dance purpose is just to let go and be you but if you don’t want to participate you can just observe too and so much more.
I feel extremely connected towards myself, towards nature and I am just so grateful that I could have experienced something so wonderful like this. Yoga and mediation is an art and its just beautiful, it really connects people as well and I will definitely recommend it
They do yoga and meditation early morning from 6am – 8am and then 4pm-6pm every day but the time goes by so quickly. The instructors rotate and then during the day/some evenings they have some other activities /workshops that the instructors plan so it all really depends and then Sundays there are no classes as it’s known as a ‘rest day’.
So if you enjoy yoga or just want some peace and quiet go to Suan Sati, you will definitely not regret it. I have only started with yoga consistently about 2 months ago at a gym before it was really on and off just because I have worked in hotels and I couldn’t always attend classes but after this visit to Suan Sati I have realized how powerful and meditation and yoga is and of course it’s not for everyone but to me when I meditate or do yoga it’s like you can feel the energy around you, it teaches you patience and its really good for the heart and soul.
And here I have enjoyed my last coffee with coconut milk before I had to leave if I could I really would have stayed for longer. This place is intoxicating!
Highlights of Suan Sati
- Definitely the outside showers
- Friendliness and welcoming atmosphere
- Plant-based food
- Yoga sessions in nature
- Peace fullness
- SOOO much more…
What to bring if you are going to Suan Sati
- Mosquito repellent
- Clothes to meditate or do yoga in
- Natural products (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc)
- Water bottle (no plastic bottles)
- Some casual clothes for during the day
- A thin long sleeve top for cooler nights or you can use for the yoga session
- Phone/camera for taking pictures
- A book to read or a notebook to write (that is your choice).
- A positive attitude
How to get to Suan Sati
Once you have arrived at the airport/train station, there are many transport services but normally I would just take a grab taxi. Just install the ‘grab’ on your phone and they literally pick you up from your location or alternatively Suan Sati can arrange a pick up for you too.
Till next time…
Thank you, Will, Lisa and the rest of the Suan Sati team. This has been an extraordinary experience that transformed me in a unique way. Yoga and meditation are a choice and really a lifestyle, it helps you with patience, your mindset and just getting perspective on things. Everyone does yoga or mediation for different reasons and like a wise friend once said the heart and mind are connected, they have to talk to each other. If the heart is not okay, then the mind will also not be good and it’s important to keep that in mind.
Yoga and meditation opened a whole new world to me even though i am still in the beginning stages of yoga and meditation, its the progress that matters and i have realized how truly powerful your mind and body is, it challenges you. It also reminded me that you have to be kind to yourself, to have a balanced lifestyle and be mindful and connected.
“Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance” – Buddha
Hi there! My name is Ané du Preez and I am from South-Africa. I am a teacher, writer and a solo traveler. I love learning about other cultures and traditions. I love good coffee, having interesting conversations and I love traveling. This blog is to share my wonderful adventures with all of you. I’ve been discovering the gems of mother nature and its amazing people. Join me as we venture into the beauty and inspiration that is all around us. I am an advocate for all to live their life to the fullest. To travel is to live!