August 13, 2015

pai love // part 2

After spending a week living on an organic permaculture farm in Northern Thailand, I went a little Eat, Pray Love and spent the next week at a yoga retreat in another area outside of the small town of Pai. It was a wonderful week learning more about yoga and myself as well as meeting some great new friends! Xhale yoga retreat was an easy choice when looking for a yoga retreat in Pai. There aren't many and on tripadvisor it is a top rated attraction in the area with only the best reviews, all singing the praises of Bhud, the energetic and mindful owner and teacher that makes this place so special. With a very reasonable price too, this is easily the best week I have spent in 3 years in Thailand, doing good things for my body, mind and soul!

The retreat is 5 nights, 6 days of healthy vegan eating, 2 yoga classes per day, meditation and yoga theory classes as well as a different nightly activities like soaking in hot springs and energy chanting and dancing in the moonlight. The meals were all picture perfect and deliciously nutritious with Thai and international foods as well as fresh fruit and tea all day. Everything here was healing. The lovely bungalows are comfortable and welcoming after an exhausting day and I fell asleep every night with a smile on my face.

Bhud is an amazing teacher who is very passionate about what she does and has a wonderful positive and healing energy to her. Her smile is infectious and she really tries to get to know you, listens to your story and makes you feel loved and important. This retreat is great for people who have never tried yoga and many of the other participants really impressed me with their openness to learn and try new things. Bhud is really great at making everyone feel comfortable. It was also wonderful for people like me who have practiced yoga for many years and want to have a deeper understanding and grow in their yoga practice. She really inspired me to continue practicing and learning about this ancient art form. I even did a day of complete silence which was challenging, trans formative and relaxing all at once. Bhud encourages and guides you the whole time during this week of detox and life changing experiences.

I highly recommend anyone going to Pai to spend a week at Xhale Yoga Retreat with Bhud and her wonderful group. It was the perfect way to decompress, cleanse your body while getting closer to nature and yourself.

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August 11, 2015


Tickets have been purchased, final visa arrangements made, resignations put in and leases ending. Now for the final push of getting rid of 4 years of memories and deciding what to keep and let go. The time has finally come, I am leaving Asia. 

Now it all feels so final, these tasks checked off and the words actually said. I have felt at home in this country for a long time now and have even stopped writing on this blog for lack of finding new things to say and fear of becoming that blogger that writes about how they went to movies and ate good sushi on the weekend.  Though the adventures haven't stopped, they are so much a part of me now I cannot seem to put into words all the people and places I have met lately. I also felt like I was just bragging about how my life is amazing.... all these exotic lands, foods and people, it is a bit overwhelming even to me and I have learned a great deal about humbleness being an expat here. But here I am again, trying to let out my feelings on this big change as I don't know another way to organize these thoughts and anxieties I am having. I don't think any of us know where we will end up but right now I am so excited to go home! It has been a long time and I am practically like the rest of the world now and have this picture perfect idea of what America is going to be like! Big skies and mountains, lots of healthy food options, normal sized clothes and shoes and affordable health care! I'm trying not to play it up too big as to not be disappointed when it of course does not meet my expectations but it sounds heavenly. 

I have spent the last good portion of my life traveling to places I never knew existed and meeting extraordinary individuals on the way. Teaching students English and becoming a role model all while trying to balance my finances back home, beginning and maintaining a marriage, while trying to become a better person and simultaneously remember where I came from. This year alone I have traveled to Laos, Japan and Bali and Malaysia with an epic trip planned to India (and a bit more Thailand) before heading back to the States for my first 'western' Christmas in 5 years. (Do people use the term 'western' when talking about Europe and North America back home? I have no idea anymore.) I have just gotten used to this life of wonder and am more nervous about going back to my 'real life' than I thought possible. It will be an adjustment, just please don't make fun of me when I get back, I have weird, slow English now I know, just let me be. 

I have so many plans for the future yet I have no fucking clue what I am doing. Sometimes I think I just want to find an easy job with not a lot of responsibility and chill for a bit, get a dog and 5 cats, grow a garden and live the simple life. Other days I am planning to move to Munich and get a (practically free) masters degree. Most days though, I am sure I am ready to move on from this place. Four years is a long time (5 years living in Asia!) and I have grown and changed in immeasurable ways. I know that I am not a big city girl and I need more space the 30 square meters to live and a mode a transportation that is not stuffed with literally thousands of other people at once. I know that I love working with kids and I am kinda good at it. I know that I love curry and coconuts. I do not know what I am doing with my life and am even further from figuring it out than I was before. Finally, at least for now, I am okay with that. I am not letting it stress me out. I am living in the the moment, enjoying it all while I still can and I KNOW it will all work out. It always does. The biggest lesson I have learned in my short time here on this Earth is that life goes on, all you can do is deal with it as it comes and everything depends on your outlook no matter the circumstance. 

The one true thing I have found about myself as I age , the one constant in my life since I was 18 has been yoga and my breath. This past year I have explored and learned even more about this ancient way of life and I am so excited to go to India for my 29th birthday to dedicate more than a month studying to become a yoga teacher, learning more about this passion in it's birthplace with free spirits and true yogis, living, breathing, practicing all day. So before I end this love affair turned long term relationship I have with Asia, I will be heading to the subcontinent to..... well I don't really know how to finish that sentence. Going in with an open heart and mind, ready for whatever life has next for me. All I know is that it is about that time to fly away again. Yet this time it is with intention, love and a content feeling like never before. 

Bangkok Bucket List
1. Floating Market
2. One more island escape
3. Khao San night out
4. Camping trip in national park
5. Buy as many Thai pants as possible
6. Sit at my pool every weekend
7. Eat as much curry, SomTom, mangos, and coconuts as possible. 
8. Laugh as much as possible. 
9. Get lots of student cuddles 
10. One last trip to immigration!!
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January 9, 2015

new year, new you.

Whoever said, "I feel sorry for people who don't drink, when they wake up in the morning that's as good as they are going to feel!" has obviously never had one of my infamous 2 day hangovers or a green smoothie and yoga in the morning. I feel 1000 times better during one of those morning situations and it no longer includes tequila shots and 3 am french fries. 

Like most other 20-something women, I am in a constant struggle of balancing a fun and enjoyable life with a healthy and productive lifestyle often times failing miserably. I love to binge watch Netflix and eat chocolate during ALL times of the month, I love to eat greasy fat burgers and drink yummy beer on hot days. Things I know I shouldn't do yet have no self control and let myself get sucked into the vortex of deep fried, not moving for 12 hours with an empty bottle of wine laying discarded next to my bra. We've all been there, right?  Every year I feel the effects of my early adult life taking their toll as I take days to recover from nights out when I always end up smoking more cigarettes than I ever plan (I always plan on zero obviously, once again fuck you 16 year old self for thinking smoking was fun) and when the shitty food I eat directly corresponds with spots on my face. I am sure as hell not 23 anymore, and while I have slowed down the direct abuse on my body considerably since my crazy college days, I am not ready to turn 30 years old (not quite yet, but sooner than I would like to admit!) being a lazy and squishy garbage eating hypochondriac with no follow through.

This year I have BIG health plans. I have been practicing yoga for about 10 years now, off and on, the past few months of 2014 making big steps at a yoga retreat and joining a studio. I always make excuses that it costs too much, I am too tired, its too far. Whatever. I am DONE making excuses.  I have slowly been changing my eating and exercise habits but take two steps back as soon as I get busy at school or starting traveling, making another excuse that I should eat as many greasy baguettes as I can while I am here, be in the moment, right? I am not saying I will never eat bread again, because I fucking love bread but this balance I am searching for starts with not feeling like I am going to die from heart failure because my sad little body can't handle the amount of cheese and wine consumption I like to call Wednesday night.  I feel like I have finally hit that tipping point and at this point its all down hill until I die. But I am saying NO MORE. I am done treating my body like I hate it when really I am so shocked and thankful I wake up every morning. I should not being feeling like this at my age and at the risk of sounding a bit too Lena Dunham and though I say this every New Year, I am done living like this, shit has got to change. 

This year I am going to become a yoga teacher. I am finally making moves and doing what I love. I am practicing my ass off, going to do yoga in Bali and then heading to India to spend a month in the mountains learning and discovering myself and the world beyond being wasted. It has been a dream of mine for some time now and with no more debt following me like plague I am in the perfect position to make more out of my experience of life. I am truly passionate about yoga, its the first form of exercise that makes me actually happy and even goes beyond exercise making me feel whole. I have joined a 30-day challenge at my amazing yoga studio for the month of January where I will be giving up alcohol, processed foods and practicing yoga and meditation everyday. It will be difficult juggling it all with my full time and part time jobs (and husband!) but coming home, ordering take out and collapsing into bed with the latest show I am obsessed with hasn't been working out either. 

I have started a new instagram account that is has been very beneficial to me, as my favorite form of social networking, I can spend hours looking at the beautiful and inspirational yogi's in the yoga community. I am even practicing more during my day and learning from some wonderful, strong women and having fun taking my own yoga pictures to see progress and growth. 

I'll be doing my yoga teacher training in fall of this year after I complete my contract and time living in Thailand but have a lot of work (and travel) to do before then! I am very excited for what 2015 will bring, with a healthy body and mind I might get closer to being content enjoying each moment, each smoke-free deep inhale and happy loving exhale. 

{Recently I was contact by a fashion website here in Thailand that is looking for warrior women to inspire a new healthy lifestyle, combining some of my favorite things (writing and shopping) in a blogger contest. Though I am kind of sick of these kind of emails that make me feel special and important (but really just want me to put in a bunch of effort for free advertising for them) this one was really different being local and about something I am actually passionate about right now. I was asked to pick my ideal workout outfit (which really consists of a pair of Dharma Bums and comfy sports bra these days) from this online Thai company, Zalora so as an awesome yogini I have picked some bright Nike pro fit pants and black Funfit racerback tankini sports bra perfect for a hot sweaty yoga class in Thailand. Because I don't generally like to walk to class, past soi cowboy, partially naked I would throw on this lightweight, loose Nike tee and rock these Nike sneakers. This post was inspired by the contest but motivated by my personal goal to feel alive again!}
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November 17, 2014

an ideal weekend in Bangkok

I have lived in Bangkok for 3 years now, in different places all over the city and it's weird how this crazy place actually feels like home now. I know which areas to go for the best shopping, the best street food, the best nightlife, I almost live like a local these days! My ideal weekend in Bangkok is a bit more off the beaten track in this well explored metropolis and there will be no khao san road or mega malls on this itinerary. I like to do as the locals do when I travel and with that in mind I have planned a spectacular weekend in this city I call home.

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October 20, 2014

pai love // part 1

I have been back in the mega city of Bangkok for a while now, after almost a month out of the hustle of things for summer holidays and I am still having a hard time readjusting back into the real world. I did something I have never done before and did a bit of solo traveling and life searching in a small town in northern thailand, close to the Burmese border, quite a famous place these days, a town called Pai, in Mae Hong Son province. Three hours by bus from Chiang Mai, this place is no secret any longer and it was a far cry from the hippy village it was once known as (and had been told for years I would absolutely love), and while I was disheartened by the surge of capitalism in this quaint rural countryside, there is still something magical about the air in Pai.

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October 13, 2014


The best part about living in Thailand and living a lifestyle that always puts travel first is the amazing little weekend trips that make the 9 to 5 grind all worth it! One of my favorite trips I have taken in Thailand was a 3 day weekend spent on a floating house, in a lake, in the woods about 3 hours from Bangkok.

Kanchanaburi is no stranger to tourists, with the famous bridge over the river Kwai, but it is a lovely little town to explore majestic waterfalls and relax away from the crowds. My friends organized a houseboat holiday over a long weekend and I was thrilled to be invited, but also a little nervous to spend 3 days on a boat with people I didn't know very well yet. I really had no idea what to expect, but I soon found out that I would be getting to know these people very well, very quickly.

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October 6, 2014

Yoga in Thailand

Recently I spent a month in Northern Thailand living on a permaculture farm as well as attending a yoga retreat in the mountains. It was a transforming experience and was just the motivation I needed to get my ass in gear and get really serious about yoga! Yoga is not just about the poses, or asanas, it is so much beyond that. Living intentionally is a a daily practice, something I will be working on for the remainder of my days. Some days it is easy to find peace and intention in my daily life, others I find it difficult to balance my urban lifestyle with living in the moment and connecting with all living beings.

Yoga is something that anyone can do, anywhere, but a lot of times in our commercial society, we think we have to have to spend a bunch of money on cute outfits and expensive classes. Yoga is about being your own teacher, finding your own path and learning to connect to your inner being with love and openness. The biggest thing I have learned since trying to change my life is that it all starts and ends with you and your energy, being with yourself and accepting you as you are. Studying in many different forms, from different teachers to books to websites, is the only way to truly discover your true self and joy.

Finding this passion inside myself has inspired me to make big life changes, including having a regular practice at a studio. I have done a lot of research and tried out a few places so I thought I would share my experience practicing yoga in Thailand. I am finally taking the plunge and enrolling in a yoga teacher certification course in Rishikesh in August 2015 so I will be exploring yoga in Thailand a lot more and updating as I go. Namaste!

Buying a yoga mat

If you are new to yoga or need just a short time use mat, often studios will let you borrow mats for a small fee. You can also find cheap mats at Watson's stores around Thailand. Daiso, a japanese 'dollar' store even has kids yoga mats for 60 baht!

Yoga Aum
If you are a more serious yogi and are looking for a lifetime mat, I suggest looking into a maduka. I have 2 now, the Prolite and travel mat, and love them both! They are the best investment I have ever made, since I am on my mat everyday, I wanted something that would age well with me. Yoga Aum is the official distributor or Manduka in Thailand and I bought my first one through them. My new mat I bought at Yoga elements, which was more convenient for me.

Yoga classes


Yogatique:  This newly opened studio on Sukhumvit 23 (a 10 minute walk from Asoke BTS) is a game changer in Bangkok and I am so happy to have found it! It is more than just a studio and this community is growing everyday. The owners are wonderful people who really care about people and have a passion for yoga, and it is very evident when you practice here. They have top of the line yoga mats available for free, have many fun and interesting events and classes such as Karma classes (pay what you can) and chocolate, wine yoga classes. There are many different, experienced teachers with various styles from Yin yoga to Reggae music class. It is a great studio and will continue to get better and better. They have great rates with a backpacker special of 1000 baht for a week of unlimited yoga as well as specials and packages. I am so happy here and actually love making the journey to this welcoming and warm space.

Yoga Elements: Often touted as the best yoga studio in the city, I started out at this studio before heading up to the retreat in Pai. They have a great new student package at 2,000 thb for 15 classes in 30 days. After that they have affordable packages and are pretty centrally located so that even though I live far out on the BTS, it is easy to get there several times a week, as it is just behind Central Chidlom on the 23rd floor with awesome views of the city. It is a bit smaller than I expected for being such a popular studio with one small studio and one larger one. They have many classes and the teachers are very great at guiding you through your practice in a restorative and invigorating way! I wouldn't call it the best yoga studio in the city, as the facilities are just okay, but the 90 minute classes are the best part of my week!

Community Yoga at K-Village  This is a great budget option and great way to get into yoga for beginners. I haven't gone much since I started paying for monthly packages and it looks as if it has gotten even better, with a dedicated indoor room at K Village upstairs, and really dedicated and interesting teachers. A great energy around this place, with positive and engaging people.

Absolute Yoga: This is the one you will see advertised everywhere, they have many studios around the city as well as a healthy food delivery service and a yoga sanctuary on a sunny Thai island. It is more of a fitness oriented studio, with many different classes but mostly specializing in hot yoga. This place does not appeal to me personally, but I will be trying it out at the end of my package, just to see. You can email them and they will send you a coupon for buy 1 get 2 free at 750 baht (only for your first time.)

There are new studios and yoga communities popping up every day in Bangkok, here are a few I have heard of and been told to check out but haven't had the time yet. Will check them out and update soon!

Divine Yoga: I called and they are kind of pricey, at about 4,000 baht for a month of unlimited classes. Located in Thonglor, the classes are taught in English as well as special classes in Thai and Japanese. They do not have any specials for newcomers but the studio looks amazing, with many different classes and a beautiful looking studio.

Ashtanga Yoga center of Bangkok: If you are interested in this style of yoga, this is the place to be in Bangkok. They have famous teachers from around the world and serious yogi's can study the traditional Mysore practice here. 600 baht for a drop in and other special package pricing. Get ready to sweat.

Soul Space: Another studio I was recommended by a friend but it far from my house. I am going to try the drop in class at 400 baht the next time I head over to the Silom area!

Chiang Mai
There are many studios in Chiang Mai and while I was there for a few days I tried a couple out, though I would only recommend one of them:

Namo Yoga - in the city center, near the Sunday walking street, this studio is a very good price for drop in and they have many different teachers and styles. Classes are twice daily, 90 minutes.

Yoga retreats

Xhale Yoga Retreat - I spent a week with Bhud here in Pai, one of my favorite weeks I have spent in Thailand. Bhud is an excellent teacher and I learned so much to deepen my practice from her classes. You have 2 yoga classes per day, 3 amazing vegan meals a day as well as meditation, chanting, breathing and philosophy. It is great for beginners or practiced yogis alike and you will learn so much about yourself during the silent morning session. A great price for what you get and a life changing experience that is priceless!

The best part of yoga is the wonderful energy of the community you meet! I am no expert, nor will I ever be, I am always learning. If anyone has any other retreats or studios they have tried, please let me know in the comments below, I would love to check out some new places from other well traveled yogis!

Yoga in Thailand - A Facebook community with lots of cool pictures, information and yoga centered in Thailand, a great resource!

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