Debra Alison | San Diego Photographer
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Finding My Peace in Thailand

When I say YOGA, what is the first thought that pops into your mind? Stretching, exercise, leggings, crazy back bends? Yeah, me too, when I first started practicing yoga years ago. Gyms can be intimidating, and weights are expensive, but yoga can be done at home. Hell, even in nothing but underwear! Yoga is for exercise, to lose weight and look good, duh.

It was much later that I truly discovered yoga beyond some simple exercises and what it could truly offer.

"A Free Mind Without Disturbances is Yoga" -Patanjali

After completing CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy for depression), I missed the time I got to reflect and contemplate my actions with my therapist. Being guided in thinking mindfully rather than mindlessly. Mindful thinking was productive thinking! Yeah, I know right? How friggin' amazing is it to be productive while thinking? Score.

I was having a hard time quieting the anxiety, until I was in my yoga class, under some serious physical duress. While trying to hold myself up in some silly pose, Adriana (my fav yogi) guided the class to breathe it out.

"Remember to breathe through it," she said, "and if this posture is getting to difficult, know you can go at your own pace and come out of it. Before you give up though, try to take a few breaths and go deeper, you may be surprised that it gets easier and you're now stronger than you were a minute ago."

And on the brink of collapse, I took a few breaths and actually held my pose just a longer and with more ease.
I don't know why this quote stuck with me as much as it did. A few years ago, this quote would have been completely insignificant and even utter BS to me. Now it marks the moment I found my peace and personal time for self reflection. This quote alone helped me bridge the gap between physical stress and mental stress. I credit this moment in time the reason why I decided to dive deeper into finding my inner Yogi. Check out Adriana at Every Body Yoga Studio in San Diego.

Yoga Teacher Training in Chiang Mai, Thailand

While backpacking through South East Asia, I completed my Yoga Teacher Training at Wise Living Yoga Academy. An amazing month in an ashram in Doi Saket, located at the outskirts of Chiang Mai, dedicated to learning yoga. The ashram is tucked away in a small village surrounded by farmland. Every morning starts early with meditation and the sounds of wild birds chirping away. The weekly schedule is jam packed with classes, so there isn't time to get away until the weekend. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the city center from the ashram, but it was worth it! Some students even stay through the weekend. Accommodation there is simple and wildly delicious vegan meals are provided the entire stay from their organic garden. Each bungalow is pretty large in size with a full bathroom and mini fridge.

There are no words to express how grateful I am of the experience! I could rave on and on about Wise Living Yoga Academy. It's an amazing atmosphere to be fully immersed in a yogic lifestyle. The academy is taught by Daniel & Jeenal who have studied classical yoga at the birthplace of Yoga - India. WLYA is one of the only schools endorsed by the original Yoga Institute in Mumbia, India.

If you're interested in doing your yoga teacher training, I'd suggest learning from Daniel & Jeenal at Wise Living Yoga Academy in Thailand! From San Diego? If you're interested in joining me on a hike for mountain top yoga, let me know by commenting below or sending me a message! I'd love to get some people together.

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