Spa Girl Abroad: Kalani Oceanside Retreat

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Greetings from Kalani Oceanside Retreat

A hidden haven on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawai’i, Kalani Oceanside Retreat is nothing but a pure escape to the jungle at it’s finest. And your off-the-grid experience can be as luxury, or as rustic, as you’d like it to be .

From modern cottage to treehouse to big ole’ hale (Hawaiin for ‘house’) to glamping with wi-fi, Kalani’s got it all.

Indulging in massage, sauna, a full schedule of mind-body activities, plus wandering an endless jungle trail surrounding the property makes Kalani one of the rare places on earth I’ve never wanted to leave. What’s great about Kalani is you can be as social or introverted as you wish…the community feel is thriving, yet plenty of solo time can be found to write, reflect, meditate. It’s a writer’s paradise, quite literally.

The food you ask? Incredible. The kitchen caters to everyone from vegan to paleo to the kid who loves Lucky Charms (you’ll probably find the organic version here, though ;). Three times per day, a conch is blown which lures Kalani guests and their hundred or so volunteers head to the most beautiful buffet that rivals Whole Foods (get in line early or show up on the late end to avoid waiting long). Plus, you’ll undoubtedly graze on tropical delights such as guava and starfruit that fall from trees here.

I was first introduced to Kalani when I attended a 30-day intensive yoga teacher training at the retreat center. Kalani’s feels much like a second home to me, and has been my go-to getaway spot on the islands ever since. E como mai (welcome) to my one of my second homes :)

Would love to hear about your experience at Kalani, and/or retreat centers like it, fellow Spa Girls and Guys! I LOVE discovering new retreat spa centers. I’m heading to Bali next month…send me your tips!

Mahalo (thank you) and Coconut Kisses,

Beach Girl Abroad

Spa Girl Abroad: Sanctuary Thailand

DSC01093It’s not simply the fly-ferry-longtail boat journey to The Sanctuary
Thailand
that will leave you wanting to disappear into this lush jungle-beach ‘alternative’ resort forever (and ever…).

(Don’t worry, you can also arrive by speed boat…check out the spa’s website for further info :)

Longtail Taxi Boat

Longtail Taxi
Boat

I adore Sanctuary Thailand! In wintertime, I found myself dancing around a moonlit beach bonfire, rocking in the New Year alongside the most eccentric and varied group I’d ever met: de-toxers and re-toxers, jet-setters, yogis. During my summer visit, I loved the young, health conscious, and flashpacker (upscale backpacker)-solo-traveler vibe.

The Sanctuary Thailand boasts a full-service Spa and Wellness Center, a full-on yoga and meditation schedule with classes held in a gorgeous open-air shala over looking lush jungle, accommodation ranging from mat-on-floor dorms to luxury tree houses, a delicious restaurant, and a Wellness Center offering a comprehensive detox program.

spa time for a thai massage

Spa time!

Gorgeous houses and private rooms are scattered throughout the jungle-beach property. Several accommodation-spa-yoga packages are available.

I’ve stayed in the gorgeous dorm above the restaurant for 200 baht per night ($4!), and in the Wellness Center’s Detox Dorm during a week-long cleanse.My 5-day detox (3.5 days fasting) was a less than $500 and included dorm, cleanse, my “last meal”, plus yoga, spa treatments, and unlimited steams (the clove-spiced steam room before or after a thai massage is to-die-for!).

the dorm gets a clean up

Dorms at Sanctuary
Thailand

The Wellness Center not only offers 2-14+ day detoxes, but also sells Kombucha, wheatgrass shots, and hosts plenty of reading material which can be enjoyed from any hammock or cushy chair on the property.

The restaurant’s menu includes tasty and healthy food which would appeal to any Modern Day Wildwoman (or man). You can order anything
from Thai to Indian, vegetarian to meat-eating with salads, salmon,
and steak. I indulged plenty in the Raw food section which not only
caters to detoxers, but anyone! And trust me, raw food tastes
especially delish during the hot Southeast Asian summer. I sampled
raw treats like “Not yogurt” (blended raw papaya, full of good-for-you enzymes) to “Raw Pad Thai” (made with raw radish) and raw soups.

Raw Pad Thai

Raw Pad Thai

striking a pose<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
like the good ole days in LA LA la

Coconut kisses,

Beach
Girl

Deep thought of the Day: Pay Attention.

A mantra on my mind as of late hasn’t been in Sanskrit but in plain English:

Pay attention to yourself.

And as an expansive yang to the contractive yin of my mantra…

Pay attention to those paying attention to you.

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In our hyper-connected world, it’s all too easy to get caught up in awe, comparison, even vying for the attention of others. Perhaps others on who’s radars we don’t even exist. Even if we appear as a tiny blip, how much energy must we expend before we realize that energy would be better served in the direction towards not only ourselves, but those actually looking at us directly in the eye?

How can anything happen if we seek far off and over the horizon? The only way I can think to spread light is to start right here. With those on my own radar, and myself on theirs.

And who’s the person who should (and I rarely use the word “should”!)  always be on my radar? Me. My purpose. My work. My body and mind’s needs. My relationships. My fun. My productivity. My energy. My happiness.

Paying attention to those looking at me seems the logical next step. Above acknowledging someone taking the time to come to my yoga class, or comment/”like” my contributions to the world out of all the 1000 bagillions of yoga classes or social media posts out there, I mean paying attention at a subtler level. Paying attention to the light energy and the dark energy coming your way. Be aware. Team up, or don’t. Respond, or don’t. Reflect in the light; bounce away from the dark.

And I have to remind myself, and share with you, not to take it personally if no acknowledgement is heard back at all. Sometimes the radar gets foggy and overwhelmed. We have to forgive each other and understand that maybe, just maybe, a person is taking some time to contract and pay attention to…shocker…themselves. Or something else important in their lives. This does not mean silent love and acknowledgement isn’t being sent your way.

My life is full, exciting, and its exactly, no!…more-so…as I manifested it to be when I gave up what I “should” be doing, what wasn’t fun or fulfilling. I’m grateful. I say thank you every day. I’m also aware of a lingering self/world-doubt: I’m ready to be happy with myself even if it all gets taken out from under me. Things can change in an instant, a rough lesson I learned as a child. Just keep going.

However, I’m trusting that with awareness, by this paying attention, and by simply trusting, that it won’t.

Pay attention to yourself.

Pay attention to those paying attention to you.

How do you pay attention to yourself? How do you pay attention and become aware of others surrounding you, and how do you interact with the light and darkness of those eyes on you? Would love to hear your thoughts, my friends!

 

Coconut kisses,

Beach Girl

Be Beautiful. Naturally.

Papaya seed facials and scrubs,

yoga for a beautiful mind and body,

seasonal ‘resets’ as an alternative to cleansing,

and this Modern Day Wildwoman

is currently learning the ways of the Far East

to bring on the beauty from inside-out.

These are my inspirations for Be Beautiful. Naturally.

Look out for more coming soon.

xoxo Beach Girl

Deep thought of the day

Within the Eastern worldview, the human being is a microcosm of Nature, a smaller universe. Human beings represent the juncture between Heaven and Earth, the offspring of their union, a fusion of cosmic and terrestrial forces. The Chinese ideogram for human being is rooted like a tree in the Earth with hands outstretched like branches toward the heavens, receiving power from above and below. Sustained by the power of Earth and transformed by the power of Heaven, humanity cannot be separated from Nature-we are Nature, manifest as people. As a cosmos in miniature, we are propelled by the same forces. Good and bad are relative, not absolute. Life and death balance each other. Seen and unseen, soma and psyche, are aspects of one continuous process, by definition ever-changing and in flux.

Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine

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Mellow Flow

This is the yoga I originally vibed with in that little windowless cocoon of a Seoul apartment. I’ve hit a point in my yoga practice where I’ve just slowed down… actually, where I’ve come full circle.

Mellow Flow @ Le'Ahi Beach Park Oahu, Hawaii

Mellow Flow @ Le’Ahi Beach Park
Oahu, Hawaii

Gentle, fluid flow that relaxes yet recharges my body AM or PM, yoga which brings me back into the delicious sensations of my body, with feels-so-good-in-my-body-hip openers, forward folds, supine sequences that twist and reset my spine and open up my tight hamstrings. Spine and central nervous system awakening backbends thrown in only in AM.

My Seoul apartment AKA The Yoga Loft

My Seoul apartment AKA The Yoga Loft

My real yoga practice began privately in that apartment. Yoga for healing, stress relief, and longevity of my tired limbs and mind after 12 hour city days in Seoul and warrior weekends spent hiking and/or urban exploring. Morning yoga flows before work to the start the day off happy and invigorated. Somehow, as I brought my yoga into the open, both in practice then teaching, it morphed into flailing limbs-through-vinyasa-after-vinyasa-pop-into-headstand-then-arm balance-and-sweep-my-leg-behind-my head-and-unable-to-sit-still-TADA!-sana. My ego got in the way; my body and spirit paid for it. So often my body was going through the motions, my mind somewhere else. My body spoke this truth long before my mind was ready to accept it. Burn out ensued, yet I kept going.

Was it fear? Was it ego? A bit of both. What will happen to my body, my abs, my arms?! What will people think–don’t they expect high-energy out of a 20something teacher?!

Last year in California, I finally gave in. I was gentle with myself once again, I channeled my inner 23-year old who was so wise to take good care of herself in a big city. And I was real with my teaching. I said no to teaching vigorous vinyasa and sculpt classes, even though I may have been losing money (fear!). I spoke up and coined the term “Mellow Flow”, taught this new class outdoors with Yoga by the Sea. It started off slow with one or two people, then attracted a group of yogis who felt the way I did about yoga way-back-when and now: healing, stress relief, longevity of body and mind.

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Oh and guess what? Let’s talk about fears, or abinivesha, for a second. I’ll admit, I was scared for a time that my body would change with this mellow practice.

My body hasn’t changed much. I’m softer, for sure, in a good way. Less muscle in my arms. And I like looking and feeling feminine!

But moreso, I feel grounded. Less speedy. Better in my body. Less hungry from all that movement. I can still pop a headstand if I want to, or flow into a deep back bend with a proper warm up. (note on backbends: honestly, something that with a little consistency and patience, genetically comes naturally, Mama was a dancer…arm balances on the other hand, after ending up with tendinitis on one to many occasions, I refuse to even go there. Child’s pose.)

I’ve received and felt positive feedback once I began teaching authentically. When I wasn’t myself, it just didn’t feel right, even if no one said a word.

Since back on Oahu, I’ve kept my yoga practice for the most part, to myself. And I’ve started teaching a Mellow Flow class on Saturdays with a beachside yoga group.

Yogis: I’m not saying to mellow out your flow and shun group classes for your home practice. That’s just what I’ve come to grasp is what goes with my flow. And it’s what comes across in my teaching. I teach mellow and I encourage home practice (just let me teach you some safe moves, first ;)

Sure I’ll probably still drop in on an occasional high-energy class or bust out a chatturunga (yogic pushup) or ten to get my yayas out. Heck, I wake up every morning, dance around then do some mellow flow…and sometimes that flow will be more active than other days (p.s. yes, the burst has morphed into something way more fun). We’re not making any rules here. What I am saying is to listen to your body.

Whether its a strong vinyasa, a mellow flow, or perhaps no (physical) yoga at all today (the real yoga is off the mat and in life anyways), go with your own flow.

Readers, what type of yoga vibes with you? Where and how do you find your own flow?

xoxo Beach Girl