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

Beach Girl @Home: Happy Holidays!

It’s hard to believe three years have passed since my last California Christmas (or Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, or Fourth of July for that matter).

I’d read somewhere in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras that in order to succeed ‘out there’ in the world, one must begin at home.  One must learn how to communicate, keep peace, and understand others in the structure of their own family, to the best of their ability. This home practice in turn, allows one to then appropriately ‘deal’ with the ‘outside world’. Coming home to celebrating the most LOVING and KIND Holiday full of LAUGHTER and PEACE, in my life, is a true testament to the aforementioned blurb read in Patanjali’s ‘Rules’.

It’s been extraordinarily special moving home just in time for the Holidays as a newfound closeness with my Mom and Stepdad (whom I consider as my ‘Dad’) has developed. Through the ups and downs of travel, feelings I’d stuffed down emerged via Skype, text, e-mail, you name it. What can I say ? Distance makes the heart grow fonder, closer,…and braver.

Background: I didn’t have the most peaceful upbringing, and refuse to believe any family is ‘normal’. However, I know mine was anything but. Childhood was, most times, NOT peaceful, always moving around (ten schools by ninth grade), hardly a routine, a sibling who demanded our parents’ attention (albeit negative), a nasty divorce and bankruptcy, plus loads of yelling, especially during Holidays. Can you imagine chaos?

Our Holiday situations always left me wishing it was a random day in March opposed to the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. Luckily, things have changed around here. The people causing the drama are now more or less settled down or out of the picture; us few remaining are calming down. At the age of twenty-six, I’m living in a home with a Mom and a Dad opposed to a single-parent home for the first time. Yes, I’d lived at my Stepdad’s for a year prior to Asia, but this time is different. Over the past few years being away, he’s actually become my Dad. And with this shift comes a deep look at my inner self–the peace, the stability, the warmth, the LOVE, has allowed me to slow down, observe that the tendency to be quite the reactive human being opposed to responsive, runs deep in my veins as a samskara (Sanskrit for ‘habit pattern of the mind’) which needs to be broken. It’s time to change. Christmas was a symbol of all this change. Just a family having FUN. I’m taking deep breaths and thinking before I respond. Respecting eachother. Loving Life. Slightly normal! Whatever that silly word means.

On Christmas Eve’s Eve morning (does that make sense?), Dad was in a silly mood and said, “oh, Elisa, you have Gypsy Feet, you’ll be off again soon enough, dancing around with your Buddha Bells, singing ‘ding ding ding, om, om, om“, along with a little dance of his own.

Later on in the day, still laughing at his comment and inspired by another friend and blogger, Megan at Across the Pond, the idea for a Christmas-India-Yoga-fusion video came about. We got down and boogied, throwing caution to the wind in lieu of some major ham-mage in front of the MacBook Pro camera. Each time I replay the video, a bit more gratitude for my Mom and Dad, their youthful spirits, their love and support, washes over me. Grateful to be home this Christmas, at my roots, so that in Christmas future I can bring this positive experience to perhaps my own family.  Or at least be able to bring it ‘out there’, to paraphrase Patanjali.

To be your best ‘out there’ in the world, why not be your best at home? Just like our yoga practice, which we practice again and again, why not practice keeping peace within the structure of our own family?

P.S. I’m dreaming of dancing again in Southeast Asia. Although, not for a while. Here’s to Dreaming, keeping the Gypsy Feet at on the Ground, and Accepting the Love.

Ding, ding, ding, om, om, om 😉

P.S.S. Want to know about my Christmases past?

Two years ago, I hopped on a plane last-minute from the depths of Winter in Seoul, South Korea to appreciate Christmas and ring in 2011 hippie-style. Relaxing, rejuve-ing, yoga, Thai Massage, a 5 day detox, and an all-night NYE jungle party ensued at Sanctuary Thailand, where the jungle meets the ocean on a secluded Koh Phangan cove. Highly recommended 😉 Yet, I recall a certain longing for my family during the holidays.

Last year, I hung out with Dr. Patricia Bragg, ND, of Bragg Live Foods, on Christmas Eve. We’d just begun working together and I was ambivalent about going home due to a disagreement between myself and another family member. We ended up having a great time! I was new to the island, and Dr. Bragg made me feel like I had family on the island. Seriously, it felt like spending time with a Fairy Grandmother who shares common interests. We spent Christmas Eve roaming Honolulu. Christmas Eve was a full day of chatting with shoppers at Kahala Mall, searching for thrift store treasure, picking up health food at Down to Earth Natural Foods, and admiring the Christmas decorations in Downtown Honolulu. Another bonus? She helped me weed out the less-than-ideal family situation was eating away at my spiritual garden (I travelled to California in early 2012 to resolve)…More later 🙂