lifestyle, travel, yoga

5 Reasons Why I Did My Yoga Teacher Training in Asia and Why You Should Too

I did my first Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course in Doi Saket, Thailand over 4 years ago after 9 years of practicing yoga. Then after teaching for 2 years, I did my second YTT in India.

I’ve also attended a few retreats myself and numerous workshops around the world. There is something very beautiful about setting the time aside to be in a training and something even more beautiful to be in a foreign land with new people about to embark on the same journey with you.

Here are my top 5 reasons on why you should do your yoga teacher training in Asia.

#1 The Cost

The total cost of the training is comparable to doing it back home in Canada where the trainings are about $3000 over  2 or 3 months depending on how the programs are structured. Except, it doesn’t include your accommodation and food.

My expenses in Canada at the time were $1500 a month ($900 for rent and the rest for food, transport etc). It was more like $1800 on the months where I went out more. So if I were to do a training in Canada over 4 months it would be cost of living plus the training which is (1500 x 3 months) + 3000 for the training = $7,500.

It sounds crazy but, if I flew to Asia and did the training it would be cheaper.

1,200 for a flight (you could get cheaper with some flight deals) + 3,000 for the training = $4,200.

Now, you would need to take the time off work and have someone taking over your lease while you are gone but even if you fronted up your own lease for a month, you’d still save money from cost of living (food and expenses). So it would cost you 4,200 + one months’ rent = 5,100 in my case. Still a savings of $2,400 plus a holiday!!

Now, of course this option isn’t for everyone if your rent is high and you are not willing to quit your job.

#2 Combining Your YTT with a Holiday

You have that time off work and you need a holiday anyway! So why not combine the two? These destination trainings are often retreat-like in nature and you will have spare time to explore and relax when you are not committing sutras to memory.

Why not get your training done in the warm tropical sun, detach from work and allow yourself to completely focus on your studies.

If you can’t take the entire 25 days off to do a training, lots of schools (like this one) allow  you to do the trainings in segments (in 50-hr or 100-hr segments), eventually accumulating to the hours you need.

#3 Experience a Spiritual Culture

There’s something quite different about eastern cultures. The spirituality there is unparalleled to that in the west. Watch as monks walk barefoot in the morning begging for alms. Let the temples teach you how mankind continues to built structures to house the deities.

Yoga after all comes from India. I would recommend everyone visit India at lease once in their life. But if you are sensitive to extreme poverty and suffering, then Thailand and Bali are your next best bets, both of which has excellent infrastructure and facilities. It’s a good transitional travel destination before India and Nepal.

#4 Immersion into Yogic Community

There is something beautiful about immersion into a routine and schedule, especially when it comes to yoga teacher trainings. I loved the fact that I saw the same people everyday for a month.

It gave me a sense that I was completely immersed into the yogic community and lifestyle. From meditation every morning with them, eating all my vegetarian meals with them, and exploring together. It felt like a family.

#5 Long Lasting Friendships and Memories that Will Last you a Lifetime.

And that family brought amazing memories that I cherish until today. The first and second trainings are events that I will never forget and will do it again in a heartbeat.

I’ve made life long friends, some whom I’ve seen again (some more than once) and some who I am planning to see.

These friends are so special to me and we connected at such a pivotal moment in all our lives, this connection is unparalleled to any other. A group of 20 or so individuals all wanting to be “yoga teachers.” Oh boy! Some of us never actually wanted to be teachers but wanted to experience the immersion, which also worked out well.


So if you’re on the fence whether you should do a training in North America, Australia, NZ or Europe, I hope this article helped and I hope you do your training in the East. You will not regret it.

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yoga

How many types of yoga are there? 8 Styles of Yoga Classes and what is yoga really.

Whenever I tell someone I’m a yoga teacher, the first question they ask me is what kind of yoga do you teach?

Now this is a tricky question for me because (A) I know what they mean and (B) because yoga is 5,000 discipline that has tremendously evolved semantically in this day an age.


To answer in currents terms (post 1980s after yoga was introduced to the west) where yoga is known as a physical exercise, the “types” of yoga can be divided into the following:

Hatha

Hatha Yoga is the division of the yogic discipline that describes postures (asanas) in details as part of the solution to keeping the physical body healthy, as well as meditative postures. In this sense, every physical type of yoga is hatha yoga.

However, when a class is advertised as Hatha Class, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures.

Iyengar

A yoga style that follows the teaching style of B.K.S. Iyengar, a huge contributor to modern yoga as he brought a systemization to yoga postures. He can be credited with highlighting the importance of alignment and introduced props such as blocks, straps and blankets to assist individual alignment and he understood the differences between many body types.

Ashtanga / Ashtanga-Vinyasa / Mysore-Style Ashtanga

Made popular by late K. Pattabhi Jois (known as “Mysore-style”), the class starts with a series of sun salutations, followed by a series of pre-determined series of postures which students are expected to know.

This is most physically demanding yoga classes out there with advanced twists, binds and inversions.

Vinyasa / Flow

From the more cardiovascular sun salutations of the Ashtanga yoga, birthed the Vinyasa classes. Vinyasa classes incorporate many postures into the class but always cycling through a section of the sun salutation “vinyasa” (downward dog, plank, chaturanga, upward dog, downward dog).

This is probably the most popular type of yoga because its constant movement makes it dance-like.

Power Yoga

The type of yoga you find in gyms.

With elements of Ashtanga Vinyasa, these classes are made of power postures to build strength. They tend to useyogic postures that incorporate lunges (warriors), squats (chair pose) and balancing poses.

Bikram Yoga / Hot Yoga

First made popular by Bikram Choudry, they consisted of 26 postures performed in sequence in a 40-degree Celcius enclosed room to mimic the heat in India. It became really popular in the west (especially in colder countries) because performing yoga in warm room reduced muscle strain from the lack of a warmup.

From his innovation, other styles of yoga outside Bikram’s prescribed 26-posture sequence, were then performed in hot rooms and marketed simply as hot yoga.

Yin Yoga / Restorative

Drawing its name from the Chinese concept of Yin (slow moving energy) and Yang (fast moving energy), a yin yoga class focuses on long hold postures intended to stretch the hamstrings, back, shoulders and open of hips, shoulders and chest.

Using props, class attendees can expect to feel more relaxed and restored after class.

Kundalini

Kundalini classes focus on the spiritual side of yoga. Cleansing exercises (kriyas) are performed in addtion to mantra chanting, meta meditation, laughing, shouting, embracing sadness and much more.


Now, all that being said, as I mentioned in the beginning of the post, yoga is an ancient discipline that encompasses more that just physical postures but also meditation, way of thinking, approach to life, nutrition, breathing techniques, cleansing techniques and much more than than.

After all, the ancient yogi had 5,000 years to describe what it is, so it’s impossible to answer in a short article, let alone an entire lifetime. Yet, yoga has true benefits no matter what style you’re into, yoga does share a common goal and that is achieving peace and balance.

And we’re all down for that.

Buddha

top cafe chiang mai work digital nomad
Adventures in Thailand, lifestyle, travel

Top 5 Best Cafés to Work From In Nimman, Chiang Mai for Digital Nomads

Best cafe chiang mai work

I’ve been living in Nimman, Chiang Mai for the past 3 months with the sole focus of setting up my yoga business Eka Bhumi Yoga and I’ve been to many (many) cafés around Chiang Mai. We tend to stick to the ones in the Nimman and surrounding area as opposed to the Old City because they are usually more spacious and less busy.

My criteria for a good cafe to work in is:

  • Air Conditioned
  • Ergonomic chair to table height ratio (not just coffee tables and couches).
  • Not too  loud with good air quality (not like The Camp in Maya Mall which is always packed with digital nomads and students and smells a little stuffy).

These are my top 5 favourite ones to work from:

#1
The Barn Eatery And Design

the barn best cafes to work in chiang mai
Opens at: 10:00 AM – 1:00 AM
WiFi: Strong in the mornings before the university students start to arrive at lunch time
Price of an Americano/cappuccino : 45/60
Coffee tastes : Decent

I love this place. It was built by a few architecture students as a final project and it is truly beautiful and inspiring.

Maybe because I’m sitting in such beautiful surroundings with natural lighting or its indie music they play here, but I found myself doing some of my best design work here. Like attracts like.

A lot of love, passion and thought went into the creation of this place and it has great vibes.

They offer a simple food menu (around 89 baht/dish) and the portions although small are very tasty.

#2
Wawee Coffee (Nimmanhaemida Road branch)

Opens at: 7 AM – 8 PM
WiFi: Medium-Strong, depends on how busy it is
Price of an Americano/cappuccino : 65/65
Coffee tastes :  a little on the strong bitter side which I like 🙂

Wawee coffee is a coffee chain in Thailand and boasts many locations in the country and about 10 in the Chiang Mai area itself. The one I like and where this article was written is this location.

We love this place because it’s opened early while most cafés open around 10. So it’s perfect for an early bird like me. It’s also set in a little boutique shop complex and has a 7-11 close by.

#3
Rustic & Blue (back room area)

Opens at: 8:30 AM – 10 PM
WiFi: Strong
Price of an Americano/cappuccino : 70/95
Coffee tastes : Good – western, farm to table style

This place has great coffee and WiFi, but be warned that they charge western prices – we always end up spending way too much money here.We like to camp out in the back separate air-conditioned section of the place where there are large tables and it’s quieter, but the usually close this section off by 2PM.

If you’re craving some farm to table type of food, this is the place for you.

#4
UResto&Liqour

Opens at : 8.30 AM till late 
WiFi : Always strong because it’s usually empty.
Price of an Americano/cappuccino : 65/75 (50/60 on special at time of writing). 
Coffee taste : Depends on the barista, the guy in the morning is a really good barista and then the coffee is shit not as good after he leaves.

Finally, I need to mention this place because it is completely off the radar due to its misleading name.I spent many, many hours working here because the place is modern, spacious and open (a little quirky Thai style decor here and there) but it was usually quiet with no customers and thus the WiFi was amazing.

Sometimes the staff play the music a little loud but you can tell them to turn it down a little.

You also get a loyalty card and stamps for every coffee and food dish ordered which is really nice touch. The food available here is local Thai and costs about 40 baht for the typical Stir Fried Basil Dish, 10 baht more for a fried egg. 65 baht big bottles of Chang are also nice way to end the work day.

#5
Ab Petite Cafe

Opens at: 11AM – 8PM (closed on Tuesdays)
WiFi: Medium, can be patchy in the afternoons
Price of an Americano/cappuccino : 40/55
Coffee tastes : Drinkable

Popular with Japanese expats (they also offer menus in Japanese), Ab Petite is a cutesy cafe that is spacious and reasonable. Best to work on articles here for a few hours. They also serve food at reasonable prices.


Although working from my apartment is do-able and cheaper…I know myself. And if I’m left to my devices in my apartment, I tend to procrastinate more, watch movies or paint my nails.

So going to a cafe forces me to put 4 hours aside for pure productiveness, then I usually go for food. And then rinse and repeat.

Happy working everyone!

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Worthy Mentions that Didn’t Make the Cut

ALEXA Hostel

top cafe chiang mai work digital nomad
This didn’t make my list because it didn’t match my criteria of needing to be air-conditioned, but it’s really nice to work here in the mornings and on cooler days. Large tables and clean minimalist surroundings allow for a good flow of chi, ideas and work to be done in this space. There is always a western manager around keeping an eye on things and they give you a loyalty card for coffee as well. Coffee prices are 65 for Americano or cappuccino.

No. 39 Cafe

This cafe is hidden near the foothills of Doi Suthep and doesn’t have that much of a working area but the grounds are really unique and relaxing. Look, so pretty!

top cafe chiang mai work digital nomad