Monday, August 3, 2015

Underground Adventures

Daniel's Experiments with Permaculture


Maya, one of our 300hr students, helping out during karmayoga time
Anyone who has spent time in the ashram has seen Daniel running to and fro, usually with a few tools or a wheelbarrow full of fresh soil, and always with a bright smile.

Bath time for bamboo
His enthusiasm and curiosity for these endeavors is infectious, and one can't help but smile and trail after him to learn about the latest project.  Speaking of which, we currently have two projects underway simultaneously.  The first is an experimental structure made of woven bamboo poles, for which we made miniature models with our 300 hours YTT students as well as Stefano's three wonderful daughters.  You might be wondering how exactly one goes about bending trees that were recently rooted firmly in the ground. The first step, after acquiring several stout bamboo poles, is splitting them lengthwise into approximately equal strips.  Step two typically involves soaking the bamboo in warm water, such as in a large pot.  So, of course, we chose to give our bamboos a bath overnight in our pond. 
Making miniature domes together.

Bamboo is naturally flexible and impressively strong lengthwise, and this pliability increases hugely when softened with a water bath.  Following our paper models, we eventually interwove our bamboo strips into a cohesive unit, after which we began the slow yet steady process of affixing each joint with wire and watched the dome gradually appear.  We left the dome overnight to "cure" and strengthened each joint again the next morning -- now it's quite solid!  We're still thinking of how exactly to cover the dome, whether simply for shade or a more waterproof option, but more on that later.

Beatrice casually holding up the entire structure

Complete! Now to find a covering...

First layer...
Our second project is a long-term investment.  Daniel has been investigating permaculture and recently was introduce to the concept of "hugelkultur" or "hill culture," in German (see example here).  The idea is part of a "no-effort" permaculture technique which is somewhat of a contradiction, as for the past three weeks Daniel has been laboriously hauling cartloads full of earth, sticks, soil, and still more soil around the ashram -- which certainly requires a bit of effort.  However, this is all the preparation for this hill culture, which imitates the natural ecosystem of a forest floor.

Firstly we lay down a bed of relatively large branches and sticks in order to store water and nutrients, as well as biodegrade over months-years to continually nurture the soil and plants above.  This is fenced in by a short wall made of still larger tree limbs to contain the structure.  Consecutive layers of sticks and leaves are added on top of this, gradually compacting into a a dense bed.  The final layer is a mound of new soil, preferably compost-based, but any good soil works well.  This is formed into a hill with soil deepest in the center and only shallow around the edges, allowing for plants with different root systems to grow simultaneously.   
One of many layers of leaves and branches
One could ostensibly begin planting at this stage, but we've decided to go even further so that even less effort is required long term.  We next put down a layer of cardboard over our hugel -- which will both store water and discourage pests and unwanted plants from growing. 
Designer garden!
We designed our little garden on the boards and sliced out holes for each plant to germinate.
After lovingly embracing the hugel, we scattered our bountiful seeds into their domains and put down the ultimate layer: straw mulch.  This finishing touch again soaks and stores water, as well as decomposes above the newly-planted seeds, providing fresh nutrients to them almost immediately.

Final layer....
Hopefully we've done everything correctly on this attempt and imitated nature's rhythms accurately.  If so, we should see some lovely little sprouts within the next few weeks!  Ideally, we have nothing left to do but remove the few undesirable plants that may pop up, harvest, and eventually add more fresh soil on top.  The rest ought to take care of itself on its own time and on nature's benevolent and fruitful terms. 

Our anticipated bounty includes: lettuce (purple and green), radishes (two varieties), beetroot, onions (bush and German), Thai tomatoes, celery, parsley, basil, zucchini (two varieties), capsicum, and Thai sweet peppers.  For good measure, we scattered around something called feldsalat about which we're not entirely sure but which looks to be some kind of salad green.  Here's to unknown futures and what looks to be a beautiful crop!
Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me...


For more information on permaculture; life here in the Wise Living ashram; 200-, 300- or 500-hours Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand; or anything else -- check out our Facebook page or the Wise Living Yoga Academy website

May all beings be happy, well, peaceful, and skillful. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Yogic Detoxification

Part of the 300 hours Yoga Teacher Training course


Beginning shankhaprakshalana...


Over the past four weeks, our 300 hour students have studied Ayurveda, nature cure, and holistic health, and have also cultivated increased body and self awareness.  Additionally, they undertook intensive investigation of the various cleansing techniques, the shatkarmas and kriyas, as described in yogic literature. While some of us may turn a skeptical eye towards claims such as heavy metal toxicity, it is undoubtedly true that we all encounter some toxins in daily activities as a result of industrialization and pollution.  The body can remove some of this waste on its own, but much of it remains in our systems, clogging and bogging us down. Therefore, an entire module of our 300 hours YTT course is devoted to learning and practicing a variety of cleansing techniques.

Fun with vamanadhauti, for Stefano at least

Beginning with review of the techniques learned in the 200 hours course, such as jalaneti and karnrandhradhauti, they continued with theoretical exploration of further techniques, sagely espoused by our visiting teacher from Indonesia, Stefano Notarbartolo.  He also shared his practice of nauli,  kapalabhati, and other abdominal and breathing techniques, which were to prove instrumental in the coming days. With this strong theoretical foundation provided by the Gheranda Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the students progressed to practice of sutraneti, vamanadhauti, and even shankhaprakshalana.

Catheters for sutraneti
Trying to find the sutra
Each of these techniques aims to cleanse the internal body of mucus, filth, and other contaminants collected during daily life. Coming from a Western society in which, for example, the nose is only blown when one is ill, these practices proved surprisingly beneficial for day to day activities.  Even the basic practice of jalaneti, or nasal water cleansing, clears and opens the nasal passages remarkably and with little effort.  With this potential in mind, our students dove into the new practices, beginning with sutraneti -- nasal cleansing with string/catheter. As shown above, a sterile rubber catheter was used for this practice. The sensations experienced while inserting this into the nostril, passing it through the nasopharynx, and out the mouth are interesting to say the least, and certainly an exercise in patience and acceptance. 
Sutra successfully inserted! Time to floss
Also valuable from this is the direct experience of anitya -- impermance -- with the knowledge that the sensations, while somewhat strange, were only temporary.  Sutraneti proved even more powerful in mucus elimination than jalaneti, and breath flowed smoothly and easily afterwards, lighting up each student's face.

Glug..glug...glug... while Stefano demonstrates nauli
Stefano chugs his 1.5L very salty water...
Smiling as they oversee the purging students
Vamanadhauti, cleansing of the stomach and esophagus, was the next technique explored which, in addition to further new sensations, involves the consumption of a large quantity of saline water in order to cleanse the stomach and upper gastroesophageal tract.  Theoretical investigation of the process as well as uddhyana bandha and nauli techniques were practiced, which facilitated the cleansing experience.

After becoming aware of the body during morning meditation, and on an empty stomach, 1-2 L of saline water is rapidly imbibed to fill the stomach completely.  The urge to purge naturally arises, and vomiting of the saline-mucus mixture soon commences (aided by nauli and/or manual stimulation). 
This is actually a fairly pleasant form of vomiting, as one is doing so consciously and not involuntarily due to food poisoning or other illness.  Students reported feeling lighter, cleaner, brighter, and more energetic afterwards, though for some it may be a physically tiring practice.

Stefano provides close supervision throughout.

Shankhaprakshalana, the full intestinal wash or master cleanse, was investigated over several sessions, as were the less intense variations of lahgoo shankhaprakshalana (short intestinal wash or partial cleanse) and TTK solution (brief intestinal cleanse). Once more after meditation and on empty stomachs, students consumed saltwater -- though in smaller quantity and of lesser salinity than for vamanadhauti.  A routine of five specific asanas was then performed, followed by further saltwater intake.  This routine was repeated several times in order to flush and squeeze the saltwater throughout the entire digestive tract, fully cleansing every surface of mucus and contaminants.  After several rounds of saline-asanas-saline, students attempt to void their bowels of the accumulated fluid by gradually building up internal pressure until evacuation was achieved. 
Close tally is kept to track each student's progress

Twisting, squeezing, and compressing the abdomen
Timing varies depending on individual physiology, health, and mental/emotional state, ranging from 1.5 to 4 hours for our students, but eventually the water will be passed through the body, ferrying toxins and refuse out and leaving it fresh and new, having shed its old and sullied protective mucosal lining.  Thus, physical rest along with specific dietary limitations must be observed after performing shankhaprakshalana in order to allow the digestive tract to regenerate a new lining and resume normal function.

The staple food for the first few days after completion if khichri, a mushy porridge-type mixture of moong dal and rice mixed with a small quantity of turmeric and a generous helping of ghee (clarified butter).  This dish is a classic in Indian cuisine, and is said by Swami Shivananda to be the only meal recommended by yogis due to its simplicity and completeness.  It offers a balanced combination of easily digestible carbohydrate, protein, and fat from sattivic ingredient, which makes it agreeable and acceptable to the developing digestive system, though it is typically prepared in daily life with other spices and vegetables for a more bountiful dish. Additionally, the ghee aids the digestive tract by providing a temporary protective lining while the body regenerates.

"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

After consumption solely of khichri, the diet is gradually transitioned to include other foods, beginning with boiled vegetables and thin soups.  Day by day this is expanded to include soft vegetables and dals, and eventually raw fruits and vegetables as the lining strengthens.  Careful observation of the body, including physical and mental conditions, energy levels, and digestive habits are maintained throughout to assess the condition and health of the body.  After approximately one month, regular diet may be resumed though with continued awareness and observance of dietary and digestive habits.

Freshly prepared khichri.  Bon appetite!

Students also investigated theory behind numerous other cleansing techniques, though actual practice is reserved for later studies.  However, the techniques practiced and performed during the 300 hours YTT course here have proved immensely beneficial to the health of each student, with reports of increased body awareness, lightness, digestive function, purity, and heightened sense perceptions.  With proper instruction and guidance, these techniques can all be performed safely and beneficially by nearly anyone at any time, though shankhaprakshalana just once per year. 

If you would like to learn more about these techniques or about our 300 hours Yoga Teacher Training program, please visit our website or the WLYA Facebook page for further details. May you all be happy, well, peaceful, and skillful.  Namaste!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ashram Cuisine

All fresh, organic, non-GMO, and vegan :)

What colorful tropical fruit!
Sant Jnaneshvar said, "food itself is Brahma." The whole universe originates from, sustains on, and merges into Brahma, the ultimate truth.  All living creatures originate from, survive on, and merge into food.

At Wise Living Yoga Academy, food is prepared and served with metta, or loving-kindness, by our jolly Thai cooks. Importance is placed on making the food with intentions and thoughts that are sattivic, pure and clean. As the food, so is the mind; as the mind, so are the thoughts; as the thoughts, so are the actions; as the actions, so are our karmas; as our karmas, so is our life. Hence our meals are prepared with these feelings of happiness and sacredness.

All joy around the lunch table.

After our sunrise meditation and early morning asana routine, we are served a wonderful breakfast that changes by the day. We have delicious vegan milks, fresh tropical fruits, and homemade muesli. Occasionally even scrumptious vegan omelets or decadent tofu scramble! Depending on the season, our tables abound with various other fruits such as rich mango, watermelon, papaya, dragonfruit, and pineapple.  The plentiful farms in surrounding Doi Saket produce these fruits in abundance.  Their deep, vibrant colors and bright succulent flavors put a smile on everyone's faces.

Fresh mango, avocado, and dragonfruit!
Our Thai cooks are geniuses and create wonderful Indian-Thai fusion dishes for us. Not only do they prepare our meals wonderfully but also with such love and grace. Sometimes we have delicious pumpkin curries, red chick pea salad, papaya salad, myriad fresh vegetables, purple cabbage salad, moong sprout salad, black-eyed peas salad, chana masala, chapati, Thai classics such as pad thai and khao soi, and many others.

Mmm...Khao soi
Fresh produce from our garden! Beautiful greens and purples grown with love.

To rest during the heat of the day, we take afternoon tea -- but no caffeine! Instead, we have myriad delicious herbal teas in a rainbow of hues: ocean blue anchan (butterfly pea), bright orange bael fruit, golden ginger lemongrass, and deep sanguine rosella. They each have such exotic flavors and colors which delight the senses while simultaneously calming and soothing the mind.  All fatigue is forgotten when combined with a bounty of fresh, organic, seasonal fruits.

Rainbow on a plate.
Sumptuous dinners are served including a variety of soups such as corn, tom yum, and tomato; Indian and Thai curries including masaman and pumpkin; chana masala, sweet corn, and an extensive variety vegetable dishes and salads.  Every dish here is 100% vegan and organic with very little oil used, but heaping spoonfuls of love. Meals are also served buffet style so please help yourselves -- just remember to eat mindfully!  Additionally, each meal is also prepared in line with Ayurvedic traditions with all elements, tastes, and properties balance.  In this way we may achieve balance in life by consuming balance nutrients, three times every day.

Papaya salad, potato curry, and chickpea salad.

Our all-star chef, Panan
Consuming this wonderfully and lovingly prepared food, many students report weight normalization, improvements in skin texture and glow, healthier hair, and increase in their energy levels. This diet has proved to be a boon for overall health and well-being, truly a remarkable menu. This remarkably healthy diet compliments the holistic education, peaceful atmosphere, and wonderful people here. There could be no better name for this haven for pilgrims on the journey of life as WISE LIVING YOGA ACADEMY.

Wonderful staff

May you enjoy your meals today and remember to continue to eat -- and act -- mindfully.  Namaste!

For more information, and to see what we're currently doing at the ashram, head over to Wise Living Yoga's Facebook page for some insight into our 200, 300, and 500 hours Yoga Teacher Training here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Sometimes we're even lucky enough to receive vegan brownies!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Yoga During Crisis

Having worked in an emergency department for several years, I have had the opportunity of seeing a wide range of humanity in a vast array of conditions, both mentally and physically.  Some people arrive in severe pain, some in only mild discomfort, some in no pain at all but with significant anxiety and psychiatric issues. The accompanying family and friends, however, often swim about in their own pools of anxiety, worry, and fear over the future. They react to the sensations arising in their bodies, sometimes becoming agitated, anxious, and unable to coherently think or speak, so deeply entrenched are they in their worry. Imagine what an emergency department would look like if not only the patients and their families were running about in anxiety and fear, but also all of the physicians, nurses, and other staff. The entire building would be in chaos and nothing would ever get done. Nobody would be able to think rationally or logically and would simply stew in the release of hormones and neurotransmitters coursing trough their bodies.

"To be capable of fancies and imaginations is common to man and beast. To be violently drawn and moved by the lusts and desires of the soul is proper to wild beasts and monsters." -- Emperor Marcus Aurelius

We all encounter obstacles throughout life at different times and in myriad manifestations.  How we react to these situations often differs, based upon our individual lives and experiences as well as our state of mind at the moment.  Our reactions are instrumental in times of challenge, difficulty, or crisis, and heavily impact both the way we perceive the encounter as well as our behaviors during and afterwards. 

Imagine you are preparing your evening meal, perhaps peeling vegetables as you wait for some water to boil. Looking to wipe your hands, you search for a towel -- only to smell something burning.  Flames burst into life from the towel accidentally placed too near the hot stove, and dark smoke begins to collect on the ceiling.

Now the question is: ought we to react or respond?

Initial reactions for many might be to jump up, make some noise, grab the flaming towel, or perhaps run out of the room calling for help. Panic, in short, is a common reaction to a fearful or threatening encounter. But would any of these actions actually help the immediate situation? Not quite so much as would taking a moment to think before acting in order to respond appropriately to the situation: by dousing the fire with water from the tap nearby.

Gut reactions are part of our inherent animal nature, and have been ingrained in us over millennia from our roots as gatherer-hunters to keep us safe from various dangers.  Humans at that time were significantly more aware and observant of their surroundings than the typical human is today.  Back then, there was complete reliance upon and involvement with nature; no cars, planes, or factories existed to create noise, pollution, and distraction, nor were there any cellphones or any of those other little tools to which our attention so frequently falls prey. These early humans relied completely upon their senses and observations of natural phenomena to survive. 

However, since those ancient times we have evolved complex brains with the capacity for logic and reasoned actions.  We have even developed the capability to give preference to reasoned responses over visceral reactions, though this ability requires practice. Cultivating awareness of emotions and sensations as they arise and pass away is integral to the development of this skill. We may practice this through meditation by repeatedly returning to the natural flow of the breath whenever the mind drifts astray.  With persistent repeated practice, we may train the mind to become more aware of the breath, and thereby more aware of both internal and external realities. 

Our reactions to external stimuli create sensations and emotions within each of us.  Imagine your favorite food; likely a feeling of joy or desire for it will arise. How delicious it is! But for someone else who does not enjoy that food, feelings of aversion or disgust might arise instead.  Thus we see that it is not any one sense object which create sensations, but our own reactions and perceptions. This process occurs for every stimulus; some reactions are pleasant, some unpleasant, and some neutral. But with awareness we realize that there are sensations occurring at all times, and all have their appropriate place.  We do not, however, react to all of these; only to the most gross and obvious do we typically take notice. But oftentimes such reactions do not serve us most beneficially in the present moment. We react thoughtlessly to fear, anger, lust, sorrow, and so many other potent emotions. We revert back to our animal nature and the biological drives associated with it: those gut instincts that impel us in an uncontrolled rush of activity. 

When the body encounters a stressful situation, the sympathetic nervous system is activated which drives us to fight or flee. Our amygdala and hypothalamus activate our pituitary gland, which in turn secretes a hormone (ACTH or adrenocorticotropic hormone) that signals our adrenal glands to release epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol.  All of these combine to effectively increase pulse and respiratory rates, inhibit digestion, dilate pupils, constrict blood vessels, and relax the bladder, to name just a few.  Additionally, this stress reaction induces glucose metabolism by the pancreas and the release of fatty acids into the bloodstream for the cortisol to metabolize, so that quick energy is available to the body. 

This is all quite useful when we encounter a truly harmful situation.  However, if this reaction is allowed to proceed in the presence of perceived threat, something that does not actually pose any harm towards us, we become unnecessarily stressed. Due to our reaction, we are suddenly filled with driving energy -- but to do what, exactly? To panic and jump around, shout, fight, run, move! But how will any of these reactions help us if there is no true threat or danger? Could we respond differently?

As medical staff, we are trained in ways to maintain cool, calm focus in the face of this potential chaos. Yoga, with its emphasis on awareness, is a powerful form of this training, allowing us to return to the present moment with awareness and equanimity. By cultivating awareness in daily life during nonthreatening situations, we are able to prepare ourselves for the stressful times.  By experiencing stillness, such as during a morning meditation session, we have a firm base upon which to stand when challenges present themselves.  When faced with such a difficulty, be it an unruly guest, a scurrying cockroach, or an unexpected outcome, we can return to our stillness and become tranquil. A wise woman once said that yoga is to stay happy and balanced in the middle of chaos.  By maintaining such a calm, balanced mind with awareness of the present moment, we can appropriately and efficiently respond to any situation.

Besides meditation and development of awareness, we can also use simple breathing techniques, called pranayamas, to refocus and calm ourselves as well as those around us.  By consciously maintaining inhalations and exhalations for the same duration, perhaps 3-4 seconds each, we begin to calm ourselves.  Subconsciously, we also tend to mimic the respirations of those around us. By taking initiative we can thus extend this calm to those nearby by continuing this conscious breath.  For more powerful effects, we can practice something called square breathing.  Each step of the breath cycle (inhale, retain, exhale, suspend) is performed for the same count, and repeated until tranqulity is reached. Beginning with just a few seconds and increasing with practice and as calm settles.  These two simpl
e breathing techniques support our meditative practices in development of awareness and involvement in the present moment. 

Additionally, we may utilize the words of ancient Yoga scriptures like the Bhagvad Gita and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. These are works on human psychology which carry enormous power to bring a deep tranformation of the mind at the subconcious level.

When practiced appropriately, yoga provides extremely effective tools for us to use during times of crisis.  Increasing our awareness of each moment as well as the arising and passing of sensations within us, we may gradually develop this center of serenity. Utilization of various breathing techniques during crises or when fear is encountered helps us to calm ourselves and return to rational, appropriate action. It teaches us acceptance of the present moment as it is; our quandary, then, is whether to respond beneficially and productively or continue to react blindly. 

The choice is yours, every moment, every breath.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Karma Yoga at Wise Living Yoga Academy

(*) Please note that only students who have attended a course or program with Wise Living Yoga Academy are eligible to apply for the Karma Yoga Program.

Karma Yoga is the Yoga of Action, or the practice of selfless service.  It teaches us how to give our best and work with mindfulness and joy.  In the Karma Yoga Program at WLYA, you will have a unique opportunity to live and work in an ashram.  You will work closely with the teachers, ashram staff, and 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training students, and help promote a sense of community.  It is a wonderful way of self-discovery and adventure!
Through this experience you can reinforce the yogic lifestyle and philosophies you have studied, which is why it is only offered to former WLYA students*. 
Selfless service means you should not expect anything in return for your work.  You will, however, benefit in many ways if you decide to come for Karma Yoga.
·         Deepen your practice and understanding of yoga
·         Get to know a new group of people from all over
·         Participate in morning meditation and asana sessions
·         Strengthen your teaching and leadership skills
·         Gain a better sense of service and commitment
·         Have delicious meals and fresh tea daily
·         Explore your interests and apply them to benefit to whole community

As with the yoga teacher training program, everyone will have a different experience doing karma yoga.  Be prepared to work hard.  We all bring different strengths and skills to the table.  The important thing is that you are ready to serve others joyously. 
·         Orienting and guiding new students, coordinating with Jeenal and Daniel
·         Teaching support
·         Social media updates
·         Gardening
·         Light housekeeping work, sometimes helping in the kitchen
·         Administrative tasks
·         Creative projects tailored to your strengths and interests

Practical information
·         Duration: 1 month— the Karma Yoga Program will run in conjunction with the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program (one Sadhaka/student per program)
·         Accommodation: You will be provided with the same accommodation as the students.  In the case the course is full, you will be in a homestay just in front of the center.
·         Cost:  We will offer this Program for free to one student per month. If more than 1 student is interested, then you can join by paying USD 200/week. Please write to us for availability and other details.

If you wish to join us and contribute in a meaningful way, please complete the Karma Yoga Application Form.

We will review each application individually and acceptance depends on overall availability in the Ashram.

Thoughts on Karma Yoga

Selfless service represents an unlimited source of spiritual growth, joy and happiness; never neglecting the circles of duty starting with the duty towards ourselves. Selfless service means not only sharing material goods such as food, clothes, shelter or money with people in need, but sharing love, compassion, knowledge and experiences with everybody who is open to it. All knowledge is already present inside of us and our mind is an infinite mine of information if we are able to connect to it. The process of sharing and caring leads to liberation of the spirit, supports purification of the mind, helps burning the Klesha (structural defects of the human mind) and provides self- evolution.

We have to be aware that every action taken results in consequences for which we have to take responsibility, as all our actions fall back on us throughout life. Moreover, with the actions we perform we have the huge power to determine who we are since they influence and imprint our character. All actions performed with the right attitude, cleverness and as a science bring out the power of the mind, which is already there within us, supporting the awakening of our spirit. Let-go and trust in your actions cause nature will give you everything you need exactly when you need it the most. The yogi knows that everything that happens happens for a good reason and for your own good.
*What if you are very interested in doing Karma Yoga here but have not been here yet?  No problem, you can register here for any of our upcoming Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Thailand. You will learn about the Ashram’s philosophies and once you are ready, you can come to do Karma Yoga.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Top 7 Reasons to Do a Yoga Teacher Training at WLYA in Thailand

Picking a place for your Yoga Teacher Training can be challenging.  You start asking around, researching online, comparing prices, and poring over the details.  Hundreds of aspiring practitioners have ventured to Wise Living Yoga Academy in Doi Saket, Thailand for their Yoga Teacher Training Course..  Let’s take a look at why!

1. Immersive experience

The Yoga Teacher Training Course at WLYA is all about yoga education and lifestyle.  You live in an ashram environment with teachers and other students sharing your interests. You live and breathe and observe the yogic lifestyle every day for the entire duration of your training.  The environment really allows you to develop a solid routine comprised of a good diet, exercise, and meditation, among other things.

2. Traditional yoga

So many people think of yoga only as a form of physical exercise, and so many yoga teacher training programs cater to that idea.  But what about its root and history?  The vast spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects of yoga?  Yoga as a lifestyle?

WLYA is perfect for those interested in understanding how yoga is as a way of life. You are introduced to yoga as one of the ancient Indian philosophies and study important scriptures. The comprehensive curriculum is led by experienced teachers from the world’s oldest organized yoga institution in India.  You practice asanas (physical postures) and other techniques at a deeper level and learn how they contribute to one’s spiritual development.  You will find yourself shaping into a wonderful practitioner, educator, and ambassador of traditional yoga!

Follow the link to know more about our Yoga Training curriculum.

3. Affordability

Yoga teacher training is a significant financial investment for most of us.  At WLYA, you will find that the facilities are pleasant and simplistic without sacrificing comfort.  It is a very down-to-earth place with no frills.  You do not see products and services being marketed at every turn.  Likewise, the program costs have been made more affordable, especially compared to yoga centers that push for brand names and luxury.

The ashram is located away from the tourist central, and it costs less to do things around here.  You can rent a bike for less than 1 USD a day, treat yourself to a coconut that tastes like a slice of heaven, and then get an authentic Thai massage at a rate that almost makes it feel insensible to deny yourself of a good rubdown!

4. Location

Students have described the ashram and the surrounding area as the perfect place to study traditional yoga.  The ashram is tucked away in the neighborhood of Doi Saket in northern Thailand.  With few distractions around, you will be able to really soak in the ashram environment!  At the same time, there are great temples and places within reach if you want to venture out.  It is also a great stepping stone for travels before and/or after the yoga teacher training program.

5. Food

Part of living the yogic lifestyle means eating a vegetarian/vegan diet.  You have three nutritious meals a day made from scratch, along with fresh fruits and natural tea.  The food at the ashram is so delicious that students don’t miss meat, cheese, or junk food!  The ingredients are 100% organic and come from either the ashram’s gardens or conscientious local farmers.  Through an interactive nutrition session, you learn about the benefits and uses of all the ingredients as well.

6. People, people, people

Trained at The Yoga Institute in India, the teachers Jeenal and Daniel are very active and passionate about imparting their practice of traditional yoga.  They help you discover your strengths and weaknesses as you go through your journey, and are very flexible and accommodating to individual needs.  The ashram workers are locals who are incredibly generous and positive.  You will find them around the ashram smiling and putting in hard work to make your stay an enjoyable one.

At WLYA, you will meet students from all over the world and from different walks of life.  They have in common their interest in traditional yoga and spiritual development.  This tends to draw very genuine people, and the teachings shape the group dynamic in very positive ways. By the end of first week, the group will already feel like a family! 

7. Alumni network and support

The connections made at the ashram are invaluable and so are the networking opportunities.  WLYA has an active alumni group where former students share news and inspirations from around the globe.  This way, you are not just walking away with a certificate in hand, but you have a strong support network to pursue your next steps.

Several students also return for Continuing Education programs which are offered in modules of 100 hours (2 weeks) or as the 300 hours Advanced Yoga Teacher Training course (6 weeks). 

To sum it up, WLYA is an incredible place for those seeking a meaningful yoga teacher training experience.  Be prepared to work hard and learn so much about yourself and the world, and you will be richly rewarded.  Please check out our upcoming Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Thailand and reserve your place.