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Gaiatree Yoga brings you back to your roots. It is a metaphor for life. In the inspiring surroundings of the mountain rain forest in northern Thailand, you experience your natural perfection. In a group of like-minded people, you are a teacher and learner at the same time. Yoga means peace and compassion for yourself and others. With a portion of the revenue, you support the non-profit foundation, Gaiatreeschool, in Orissa to make the world a bit better.
During this retreat, you will be staying at Banbourtong. It is a rustically local old traditional Thai farm house with an easy lifestyle. They have two single rooms, three double rooms, a big and comfortable dorm with five beds, and also a separate house with beds. If you want, you can also camp in a tent. On the big terrace, you will take your food with a wonderful view over the mountain forest. Bathrooms are separate.
Gaiatree yoga is a unique combination of therapeutic yoga strongly rooted in the Indian ashram style with Vipassana mediation, an incredibly effective meditation technique.
Vipassana is one of the oldest Indian meditation techniques. Long lost to humanity, it was rediscovered by Gautama The Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. Vipassana means to see things as they really are. It is the process of self-purification by self-observation. He begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind.
With a sharpened awareness, one observes the changing nature of body and mind, and experiences the universal truths of impermanence (anicce), suffering (dukha), and egolessness (annatta). This truth-realization by direct experience is the process of cleaning. The entire path (dhamma) is a universal remedy for universal problems and has nothing to do with organized religion or sectarianism.
For this reason, it can be freely practiced by everyone, at any time, any place, without conflict due to race, community, or religion. The basis of the practice is sila, moral behavior. Sila provides a basis for the development of samadhi, concentration of the mind, and the purification of the mind is achieved through panna, the wisdom of insight.
This is not the same as a conventional yoga class. In fact, if you have a serious medical problem and go to a yoga class randomly chosen, your medical problem may get worse. In a way, therapeutic yoga is more like an appointment by a physiotherapist or rehabilitation specialist and less like a yoga class.
For people with serious illnesses, yoga therapy last an hour in general or will be taught in small groups. In this Gaiatree retreat, they have ordinary small groups with maximum 10 students. Therapeutic yoga is gentle and caring, although it can also be a challenge. So they put a strong focus on body awareness, posture, coupled with movement leading to a relaxed, rhythmic breathing.
Participants will be taught the therapeutic yoga class, as they can perceive the subtle sensations of their muscles and joints, organs, and inner experience of the spirit. Furthermore, a strong emphasis is placed on relaxation. The approach is always tailored on each individual’s needs, abilities, and reactions.
The teacher and therapist has the task to observe the student in his exercises and determine contraindications. Each participant on a call before the exercise begins. At the end of each course, the student gets the right sequence of different exercises, techniques, and behavioral clues and can then implement these in every daily life.
This course is suitable for all levels of experience. Regular consultations are part of the training plan. Also, the retreat is a silent retreat and noble silence is kept during the practice.
Mike Narada is German and he has been living in India since 2009. As co-founder of Gaiatreeschool Foundation and the Vishwanedam Ashram in the center of Odisha, he has been involved for many years for the rights of Adivasi or tribal people. His yoga classes are well structured and are testimony of a sound knowledge and basic experience.
Shashi is 25 years old and was born in Odisha, India. Together with her seven years younger twin siblings, she grew up in a small village in western Odishas. She fulfilled her greatest wish as a yoga teacher in recent years. She has practiced yoga since childhood and studied for more than two years in different places in India. Her yoga classes are very empathetic and balancing.
The retreat is located in a blissful jungle paradise just outside of Chiang Mai, the perfect place to focus your mind and body and come away transformed and inspired. Banbourtong itself is a small community in the countryside on the way from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. It is in the middle of the Thai jungle the place is surrounded by tropical flora and fauna. Located on a small hill from where you have made a stunning view of the surrounding mountain peaks. Within minutes of walking the earth opens and gives hot sulfur springs water free. You can literally feel the energy of Mother Earth on this place.
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During this retreat, you will be served daily brunch and dinner. Banbourtong serves delicious, local, organic, vegetarian Thai food. You can get fresh fruits and drinks (tea, juice, or water) anytime.
Excursions in the near mountain or Chiang Mai on Sunday area are available for an extra cost.
The one hour journey transportation from Chiang Mai to Banbourtong via Doi Saket will be organized. You will be picked up from Wat Chiang Man or from your hotel or guest house. Gaiatreeschool charges 500 THB for transport.
You can take a bus from Bus terminal one in Chang Phuak Road, which is a 10-minute walk from Eat Saen Mueang Ma Luang near Chang Phuak Gate. Take the bus in direction to Doi Saket and ask to go out at the police station in Ban Pong.
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