9th November - Koh Tao
I just got back from a morning yoga class in a beautiful studio which is part of a beach resort. Amazing to say the least! I was so excited to learn they had classes on the island, and it did not disappoint, such an uplifting way to start the day - 2 hours of yoga practice. And the teacher incorporated our picturesque surroundings into the class by saying things like, "Be aware of all the water surrounding us on this tiny island." And it's strange, thinking about blatant simple facts such as that. I bet not one of us in that class, since arriving here, had thought "Hey, I'm on a small Thai island surrounded by water on all sides. How does my mind and body feel about that?"
(The answer of course, unless you have a fear of the sea, is great).
I've started to look at yoga in a new light. I mean, I've gone to classes on and off for about 5 years, but only for the physical benefits; as a dancer it increases flexibility and strength, and helps you focus before a technique class or performance. It harmonises mind and body, no doubt about that. But I've always dismissed the spiritual and meditational side of yoga, which I know plays a large part in the practice. Well I've recently had a change of heart. Maybe it'e because I'm reading Liz Gilbert's 'Eat Pray Love?' [I know I know, total cliche travelling read...I just had to! I'm also starting to write in the same sarcastic autobiographical tone....maybe I should stop!?]
Anyway, from what I can tell from the various classes I've attended with teachers from all over the world, there are a few important themes. Positivity and thankfulness are up there - half a yoga class is usually dedicated to saying thank you to the sun for the light and warmth it gives us day by day. And we certainly do take things like that for granted these days. I think we all need to be more thankful, even for the simplest of things we have been given in this life. So this, mixed with elements such as peace and compassion - how can I ignore these statements in yoga? I believe in all these things separately, so why not as a physical practice? All I know is I want to take up a lot more yoga classes in Australia. So that is how I spent my morning, sweating my back out in yoga...how did I spend my afternoon?....
Washing my hair in the sea. Why the sea, I hear you ask! Because the shower in our room only has an arctic blast button, that's why. No hot water at all. Which is nice and refreshing, in this heat and humidity, for about 3-5 minutes. But washing my hair takes at least 10! And the sea was so much warmer than our shower, so I just took my shampoo and conditioner down to the beach and got at one with nature! I was slightly angry at first that our shower wasn't hot. I don't expect an electric shower if we're staying in a beach bungalow or a mega cheap hostel, but we're in a large, well equipped resort. But Koh Tao is in a massive water shortage crisis right now, so they may have turned off the hot water to stop people spending a long time in the shower. Well, probably just the cheapest rooms we're in! For example,it is now supposed to be monsoon season here, but we've seen then hottest and driest weather since arriving in Thailand. Not one spec of rain. We're also being bitten to death, I think the island needs some rain to kill off some mozzies! Up until now, Rik was taking enough bites for the both of us, so we came to the conclusion that I just wasn't tasty enough. But now, I've just found 5 massive bites, right on my bum cheek. Nice. [Note to self - no more skirts.]
We're in for another horrific night journey tomorrow, to Koh Phi Phi. This island is said to be the most stunning, and well worth the travelling. I really hope so! So that's it for Koh Tao...one last thing. At night the stars here are our of this world, I wish I could take a photograph of them. I have never ever seen so many.