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What I Learned from the Yoga Retreat in Thailand

I'm an Entrepreneur, not a Yogi. I'd rather do High Intensity Interval Training than Meditate. But even then, I've gotten so much out of spending 4 days at this Yoga retreat in Thailand. If you've noticed, my blog has recently been more about health and movement than it has been about crushing business or travel recently, and it's because of balance.

This past year, i've focused so much on power lifting, building muscle, and building businesses and have neglected my body and mind. I'm super fortunate to have build my online businesses to be semi-passive, so even while I'm doing yin yoga miles away from cell phone reception or wifi, I can still make money. Here's what I learned about myself, business, and success during my 3 night stay at OM Waters in northern Thailand eating vegetarian food and doing Yoga four hours a day.






The Details:


I randomly signed up for a 3 day, 4 night Yoga Retreat knowing nothing about the instructors, the program or even why I was going.

Honestly, I just wanted to get away for a few days and been signing up for as many random trips out of the city as possible. In the past few weeks I've been camping, to circus school and now this. Many students people flew internationally for the trip and planned or even saved up for months to go. It's crazy knowing that being in Chiang Mai already, gives us so many opportunities to just go places without question.

The only thing I knew about the trip was that there was going to be some kind of yoga involved and that it took place on a floating house boat a few hours away from Chiang Mai.


Watch this Video:






The reason why I wanted to show you this video first, is so you can get a sense of what it was like being out there. Not only were we 1.5 hours from the city, we were another 20 minutes by boat away from land which make it exceptionally peaceful.

Not having wifi or cell phone reception forced us all to be offline for an entire 4 days straight, which honestly freaked me out a bit, but also allowed me to completely give in and enjoy my time there without instagramming or checking email.




The Location


OM Waters is a floating retreat center that different groups rent out, we just happened to be there for the retreat we were part of. It's inside the Sri Lanna National Park and is actually a reservoir but feels more like a lake. You can check out their website here.

What's really cool is the floating center is divided into three sections, with the yoga/sun deck in the middle, and the staff accommodation on the right, with all of us and the kitchen on the left. It was really amazing to be completely surrounded by water and wake up to misty clouds that would bake off after sunrise allowing us to tan and swim in the afternoon.

I couldn't have asked for a better location as it was just far enough from the city to really get away without being too much of a pain to get there.





The Yoga


The retreat was lead by Jade Wood and Tara Eden and was entitled the Embodiment & Reconnection retreat. Here's a synopsis of the event:

"A retreat centered around embodiment ~ for movers, yogis, not yogis, lovers of nature and inquisitive human beings ~ Tara Eden and Jade Wood will facilitate this inquiry into the nature of movement and stillness at the beautiful floating retreat in Northern Thailand's Sri Lanna National Park.

Inspired by feldenkrais, somatic movement, mindfulness, yin yoga and craniosacral biodynamics, this retreat will help you find more clarity in what you feel, how freely you move, what patterns might be holding you back and what kind of relationship you have with your body. All with an easeful awareness. Our intention is that you will leave feeling refreshed and renewed with helpful tools for approaching future movement and self-perception. This is a celebration of how your body is uniquely you!

Central to the retreat is the time we will take, both during the classes and in the in-between. This is true quality time to spend with yourself, read, swim, sun-bask as well as reflect and reconnect. Enjoy a rich investigation, fully supported by the teachers and the stunning natural environment, not to mention amazingly delicious, fresh and locally sourced food prepared by chef superstar Jacky!"







Lessons Learned


I went into this retreat not really knowing what I would take away from it, but knew by simply getting away and unplugging, it would be already be enough. What I was surprised about is how much I've learned about business, entrepreneurship and life being there. 

In general Yogi's aren't very aggressive, money-driven, or efficiency driven while Entrepreneurs stereotypically learn towards being very assertive, goal oriented, and wealth-driven. 

The problem is, without balance, we get burnt out, and I've met plenty of business minded people who have. While it wouldn't be the best to spend your days at the office laying around with no schedule, no intentions and four hours of yoga practice, allowing ourselves to completely unplug even for a few hours a day is both ideal as well as necessary. 





Life is About Balance


We can learn lessons from everyone, and really should. Guys like myself who focus way too much on strength training and building muscle can be happier, healthier, and more limber if we spent a bit more time stretching, moving and focusing on flexibility. But at the same time, most yogi's could also benefit greatly if they built a bit more muscle and did a few more pullups and pushups. 

After seeing both sides, I really believe that the perfect workout for pretty much every single person on Earth would consist of:
2-3 days of Yoga/Flexibility/Mobility
2-3 days of Strength Training/Bodyweight Exercises
1-2 Days of Sprints or Tabata Style HIIT training
1-2 Days of Rest, Massages, and Recovery.

Stronger people who need more flexibility should spend more time doing Yoga, and super flexible people should spend more time doing pullups. While everyone should raise their heart rate at least once a week by doing some type of sprint, tabata or high intensity interval workout.

Everyone should also walk as much as possible, take the stairs or hike, and get their bodies worked on or even just rest.






Food and Love


This retreat also reminded me how important it is to give and receive love as well as surround yourself with open minded, warm, compassionate people. Since a lot of us don't live close to our families, we often lack the comfort that we'd get if we had parents, nieces, nephews and close friends and families to embrace regularly.

Sharing food, eating together, and sitting around the dinner table is also something else missing from a lot of our lives. Even though I normally don't eat Soy, Oats, Dairy, or Wheat having Vegetarian food for a few days, reminded me how delicious food that is prepared with love, fresh herbs, spices, and produce can taste. I really think that we can and should eat a lot more vegetables regardless of the diets or eating styles we follow.





Final Thoughts


I really hope everyone took something away from this blog post. I know it's not what I normally share, but life isn't just about crushing it, sometimes we have to take a step back and nurture ourselves so we can have the mental clarity, energy, and passion to put in the work when needed.

Thank you to Jade and Tara for putting together this fantastic retreat. Thank you to Jacky for making us delicious food, and to whomever created Thailand, as it really is an amazing country filled with beauty and tranquility.

I hope everyone finds a bit of balance in your own lives and takes the time to relax and unwind a bit. Even though a small part of me was stressed to come back to an inbox full of potentially stressful emails, I was pretty fortunate to have enough systems, virtual assistants and automation in place where I came back to just an hour of work on Monday afternoon, enough new income to cover the entire retreat, and enough free time today to create this video and blog post. Good luck to everyone in your own journey, and I sincerely hope you can all feel my love for you.





Warm Regards,

Johnny


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Post a Comment

  1. Great post! I need to get into yoga.

    What were the other people on the retreat like? Was it a good mix of yoga abilities or mainly experienced yogis?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it Joe! There was a big gap between people just starting out, and with corporate jobs that only do Yoga once a year, to people who are pros.

      Let me know how it goes!

      Delete
  2. Nice one Johnny, big 'bro hug" for the share.Inspiring as always. Have a safe flight back to the States ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the virtual bro hug Clinton =) Happy holidays!

      Delete
  3. Great that you are writing about this, Johnny! I've personally experienced so many benefits from practicing yoga and meditation. I feel that so many people in the corporate and entrepreneurial world could benefit from doing the same. Bringing the awareness that one can develop through yoga and meditation into one's work gives more focus, more clarity on what to pursue and better stress resilience. You're right, it's all about finding that balance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey thanks for your comment Peter. What's a bit funny is I skipped this morning's Yoga class because I really felt like coming into the office even though it's Saturday. I think our bodies know best and sometimes you feel like you need the balance on the yoga/mediation side, and sometimes you've had enough and want to go crush it. =)

      Delete
  4. I get that. Even though I've been practicing for quite a while now, I am faced with this dilemma almost on a daily basis. I injured my knee a couple of months ago, couldn't do much yoga, or any other type of exercise for a while. Now that I've given it some rest, I feel the need to build up my strength and flexibility again. But I know myself: when I wake up I don't feel like doing any yoga, or intense exercise. I'd rather get a coffee. But I don't do yoga just for my personal health and well-being, it is also something I try to incorporate into a business. So I took a tapas (not the Spanish food: it is one of the niyama's. Basically means: taking a commitment to do something with a certain intention) of doing yoga 1.5 hours everyday for 1 month. You can't break a tapas. So this morning I woke up, and there is this voice saying: I don't want to do yoga. But I immediately silence it, get out of bed and start doing it. I took a tapas, so I don't have a choice. And each time I finish my practice - I just finished my practice of this morning - I feel great! Now I'm ready to go crush it too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea Peter! When you know something is good for you, like fitness, exercise, yoga or meditation, we should just schedule it in to do regardless of how we feel.

      Delete

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