Should we kill mosquitos on a Thai yoga retreat?
Guest post by Leighton Dewitt
When looking for a Thai yoga retreat, I never imagined it would be at a Muay Thai Boxing gym. But whilst traveling through Thailand, what better place to be than Sumalee.
The people that come here, often do so with a goal in mind. Mostly, it tends to be a focus on fitness, health, or nutrition. Sometimes it’s to practice Muay Thai or yoga, but most importantly, it’s an opportunity to take a break from ‘normal’ life. A chance to clear your mind, reset the body and prepare for the next chapter of your life.
Some guests have shared with me that being here, gives them an opportunity to take a break from bad habits, like drinking alcohol or eating unhealthy foods. Often the guests staying here are on a similar path or journey, so sitting in the restaurant/communal area, people share their stories and inspire others to stick to their goals and achieve what they aspire to do here.
Yoga as I knew it then was just breathing and postures, and of course, there is an opportunity to implement, improve and practice these aspects of yoga while staying at Sumalee. However, today I want to share with you some very exciting news… and that is that you can practice yoga without even getting on a mat. This is important, because while you stay at this Phuket yoga and Muay Thai retreat, you will have the opportunity to review how you live certain aspects of your life and incorporating different parts of yoga will not only make you more flexible, but it will also help you improve your mindset and your relationships.
Over the past few months, through my study of Yoga, I have learnt that there are in fact eight limbs of yoga, and the postures that we do in the classes are just 1 of the 8 limbs. You can check out the full explanation of the eight limbs here.
The first limb is called Yama, which deals with the ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on behaviours and how we conduct ourselves in day-to-day life.
So, how can you practice this?
Firstly, you must show kindness and not cause harm to others. This includes all living beings, humans, animals and even insects. You can practice this every day when dealing with people inside and outside of the yoga resort. You could also practice this by not eating meat, by trying out some of the vegetarian or vegan option at our nutrition centre. You can also practice this by not killing insects, and yes that even includes mosquitoes, as annoying as they may be.
Secondly, you must be honest. You should live with total commitment to truth in your actions, intentions, and your words. This is not only just with other people, but most importantly with yourself. When you are honest with yourself you accept your weaknesses and your flaws. You may know what some of these are, you may also know what you are capable of and what you are not capable of. With enough self-knowledge and awareness, people’s judgement about you will become less important and you can focus purely on your own self-development.
Thirdly, is not stealing. This may seem straightforward and obvious, but it’s not just about abandoning the intention to possess or steal someone’s belongings that aren’t your own. It also includes not stealing their time, their energy, and their enthusiasm for whatever they are doing. One way of looking at this is to encourage, support and help those around you to achieve what they are trying to achieve, not only while they are at Sumalee Boxing Gym, but also in their lives.
Fourthly is about restraint. Restraining from the things that deep down, you know you shouldn’t be doing. Great strength comes from restraint, it helps you to improve your willpower and enables you to achieve your goals quicker by being more focused.
Finally, the fifth way of practicing is through self-reliance and generosity. It is believed that as a universe, we are all one, we are everyone, and everyone is us. Take ownership of your own responsibilities, complete your tasks and be thoughtful about how you act with others. “Do not unto others what you don’t want done unto you”.
So, while I look forward to seeing you here, on the mat, in the yoga classes in Phuket, remember, Yoga starts before you enter the yoga facilities, before you arrive at your yoga retreat, and before you even step on the plane to fly out to this beautiful country!