Bianca Henao, 131 TESS
Bpit term: the month-long break for Peace Corps Thailand volunteers that occurs twice a year and sends us just about anywhere. Most of us take advantage of the time off to either see more of the beautiful country we serve in or the surrounding countries. Some people fly home, while others stay at site and dive into solitude. Peace Corps volunteer Ashley Resurreccion did something a little different. Instead of partying on the beaches of the south or unwinding at home, she signed up for a two-week yoga retreat in the mountains of Chiang Mai. She chose yet another challenge, as if being a Peace Corps volunteer wasn’t enough. While we were all indulging in the foods we missed eating and spending quality time with other volunteers or friends and family, she chose to go barefoot, attempt an ayurvedic diet, and pursue a new learning opportunity.
The Yoga Samaadhi centers its mission on yoga, sustainability, and community outreach. Offering anywhere from 50 to 500 hours of yoga teacher training, the staff can speak both Thai and English. Participants practice Pranayama, Hatha, and Ashtanga Yoga. On “rest days” the participants do various trips to waterfalls for meditation, to elephant sanctuaries, to undertake environmental projects, and visit a school to provide lunch and toys. In discussing her experience with me, Ashley realized that her Peace Corps experience had actually better prepared her for an experience like this. When someone complained the water wasn’t hot, she laughed and thought, “I shower with a bucket every day.” Peace Corps offers detachment from everyone and everything that we are comfortable with. It offers simplicity in our everyday lifestyles. It offers time to reflect. Most of all, it offers unique cultural perspectives and teaches us compassion in a different way. All things she found herself doing in Mae Wang, a small village by Doi Inthanon west of Chiang Mai. Below you will find a graphic depicting the unique similarities between a yoga retreat and Peace Corps Service.
If you’re interested in this program, please click the following link: http://www.yogasamaadhi.com/index.html