Home Holistic Holidays An Honest Retreat in Koh Samui, by Victoria Mary Clarke

An Honest Retreat in Koh Samui, by Victoria Mary Clarke

by Admin

This is an excerpt from our spring 2015 issue. | Subscribe in time for the summer issue and three more. 

My visit to Vikasa was most assuredly serendipity at work. A friend said ‘Let’s go to Thailand’. I closed my eyes, imagined golden sands, sunshine and super cheap Thai massages and said ‘Yes, let’s.’ When she told me that she had chosen a lovely yoga retreat called Vikasa, I didn’t argue. Just before I arrived, I discovered that my good friend Kerry O’Neill, a healer from Dublin, was working there, so I deemed it to be a sign from the Universe that we were going to the right place.

From the website I learned that Vikasa is perched on a cliff, with spectacular ocean views, an infinity pool, and an assortment of different rooms, from the traditional wooden beach hut to a super smart one with bathtub and telly, which was the one I chose. I also learned that the owner was a Latvian ex-DJ called Konstantin Miachin who had decided to change his life, embrace a healthy lifestyle and spread peace and love through what he calls ‘the evolution of yoga’.

There would be yoga classes twice a day as well as meditation, gong baths, Oolong tea ceremonies and a buffet brunch and dinner included in the room price, which seemed excellent value, starting at 60 euro per night. You may well be on the right track spiritually speaking, but that doesn’t mean things turn out the way you picture them. When I arrived at Vikasa, it was late on Christmas day and everything was dark.

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The restaurant was shut and all I could see was that there were no lifts, only a lot of steps. Knackered, and in need of comfort, I bought white bread, plastic cheese and crisps from the 7-Eleven and washed them down with cheap red wine in my room.

In the morning, there were more alterations to my mental picture. It rained. Torrential rain, from a dark grey sky. And I spent 24 hours puking and otherwise eliminating, in a most uncomfortable manner, and wondering what the Universe was teaching me. I counted 120 steps from my room to the restaurant, which I reasoned was enough exercise, no need for yoga.

At 10.30, they served an exquisite breakfast, so every morning I ate fresh papaya and pineapple and watched the yogis sweating as they dragged themselves up the steps. Occasionally, I got out my mat and did some gentle stretching by the pool.

One day, I realised that I couldn’t write this review without trying a yoga class. A truly gorgeous Thai girl called Alisa who exuded love energy was teaching, so I hauled my ass to her class. And boy was it tough. Really, really hard. Much of what she suggested for the beginners I found impossible, despite 30 years of practice and also being a yoga teacher. A fact which injured my pride quite considerably, and my pride could not be soothed by Thai massages, even if they did feel amazing.

And I understood what the Universe was teaching me. Yoga can be about serene, gentle stretching and taking it easy but it needs to also be about challenging oneself and exploring your edges. And no place, not even Thailand, will ever be exactly as you pictured it. Which is why you need yoga to keep you flexible.

vikasayoga.com | victoriamaryclarke.com

This is an excerpt from our spring 2015 issue. | Subscribe in time for the summer issue and three more. 


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