Tag: yoga

by Christy Morgan

I had a wonderful month in Medellin, Colombia where I had the pleasure of attending the Spanish Language Course at Flying Tree Yoga. Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia, centered inside a valley surrounded by mountains and tall buildings with the perfect spring-like weather all year round. In November, it was a little bit rainy but that kept it cooled off so you never needed air conditioning or a heater. Medellin has everything you could ever need. It’s totally safe, so you don’t need to worry about that! The Laureles neighborhood where the yoga studio is located was my favorite part of the city. A short walk away were vegetarian and vegan options, all affordably priced. My go-to was Saludpan where I ate tofu scramble and drank delicious Colombian espresso with soy milk. 

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When I arrived for the course I was nervous about being in a big city where everyone speaks Spanish. I had only taken three weeks of Spanish courses in Costa Rica, and used the Duolingo app to brush up on my vocabulary. You will find that very few people speak English in Colombia so be sure to study before you go. It was helpful that three of the five women taking the internship program spoke Spanish along with all the yoga teachers, the house manager and many of the expats I met living in the neighborhood.

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The internship program was well organized. The Spanish course is the first two weeks of the month so you can learn all the body parts in Spanish, verbs, adjectives, etc. You can take just the Spanish course like I did, or do the full month program where you get more opportunities to teach classes and receive feedback, and learn more about topics like building your brand and class sequencing. If you have already been teaching for awhile and want to learn how to teach in Spanish you might want to take just the Spanish language course. The full program is very beneficial for newly certified teachers and anyone who wants to teach in Spanish speaking countries. I’ve committed to traveling more in Latin America while doing work exchange so being able to teach in Spanish opens up so many more opportunities.

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We started the first day learning the body parts placing stickers all over each other as seen above. The course was so great that I was able to form sentences and give directions on how to get into a pose even having only a beginner level of Spanish under my belt. At the end of our intensive 8 days of learning how to teach in Spanish we taught a short class to each other. I had to mostly read from my notebook, but I felt that after teaching a few more times the words would have flown naturally without looking. It was a fun and rewarding experience. I loved watching the other ladies grow in their practice and teaching skills throughout the course of the month.

My favorite part of the course was connecting with like-minded people from all over the world. The community who attend yoga classes at Flying Tree is super diverse. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. There were digital nomads like myself staying in Medellin for a bit of time, eating vegan food, and learning Spanish. I had the pleasure of teaching two cooking classes during my stay and it was so much fun for everyone!

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This course reignited my passion for teaching, both yoga and cooking. I’ve been traveling almost non-stop since I got my certification in India last October, so I haven’t had many chances to teach on-going yoga classes. Attending regular classes at Flying Tree and taking classes from the students in the internship program reminded me how much I love to teach and be part of a community. 

If you are a yoga teacher who would love to learn how to teach classes in Spanish this is the perfect internship program for you. You’ll feel at home in this wonderful yoga community in Medellin!

 



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by Christy Morgan

You want to go to Thailand and visit it’s pristine beaches, but you are a health-minded person. You are into yoga and healthy food, and have no interest in getting wasted or having sweaty Europeans rubbing up against you in a hot club. If you are anything like me you travel to see the world and have experiences not to party.

Ko Phangan is famous for it’s crazy Full Moon Party. I was on the island for 8 days and had the most brilliant time never stepping foot in Haad Rin or swinging glow sticks on the beach. Granted, a little part of me did want to see what the fuss was all about, but I just couldn’t be bothered. Call me old or uncool if you will, but I didn’t want to miss my morning yoga class. You can see where my priorities are when traveling. I chose to go to Ko Phangan because I heard one little part of the island was a heaven for yoga and healthy food.

Srithanu

Srithanu is found on the northwest side of the island far, far away from the party area. It’s somewhere a vegetarian, vegan, or yogi would want to plant some roots. I fell in love with this little area of the island for many reason. Today I share my top 5 reasons to visit the island if you  care about your health and well-being and aren’t interested in partying much.

It’s Cheap

Thailand is known for being inexpensive but the islands tend to be more touristy and pricey. Thankfully, you can easily stay in Srithanu for $25 a day backpacker style (for a room, food, & scooter) or splurge a little and have 5 star luxury at $50 a day. Fruit is abundant and cheap for breakfast. Thai food is easily found for under $3 a meal in shacks set up along the road. Accommodations range from hostels at Shiralea Backpackers (only 200 baht/$6 USD for 8 bed dorm with air con and share bathroom) to the beautiful Phangan Akuna (where I stayed in a private bungalow with a friend for 1300 baht/$37 USD). I scored a scooter for the week for 800 baht (about $3.35 USD a day), found free yoga classes (see below) and even my fanciest meal cost around $10 USD. Things would be even cheaper if you stayed for a month at a place with a kitchen. All of this makes it a dream for a short vacation or a longer stay.

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There’s Beautiful Beaches

Sure, you can find beautiful beaches all over the world, but the water is so crystal clear it’s the ultimate diving and snorkeling destination. Just look at that blue water and sandy beach! I love how it has layers of the most beautiful greens and blues as you look out into the ocean. We went on a half-day snorkeling trip (900 baht/$25 USD including pickup, lunch, drinks, and equipment) around the northwest side of the island and I was shocked at how clear and lovely the water is. If you go during hot season the tides may be low and the water right off the beaches will be hot, but the further you go out the cooler the water will get. I definitely recommend getting out on a boat if you can!

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Abundant Yoga Classes

Within 3 kilometers there are six beautiful yoga studios where you can take yoga classes of all styles. I tried classes at Samma Karuna, Orion, Gaia, Agama, and Ananda Wellness Resort, but missed Sunny Yoga. Each studio is unique, with experienced teachers and every style of yoga imaginable throughout the day. Almost all are open air studios (many with mosquito netting) that can get pretty hot so be sure to wear appropriate clothing, bring a towel and a full water bottle. Most have drop-in rates at 300 baht ($8.50 USD), or 5/10 class passes at a discount. Agama and Gaia let you take your first class for free!

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Vegan Food Galore

If you are looking for healthy fare Srithanu area of Ko Phangan is where it’s at! This is what drew me to the island; a quick glance at HappyCow shows an abundant amount of choices. From those cheap Thai shacks on the side of the road where you can get pad thai for $1.50 to fancier vegan cafes where you might spend $8-12, everything you could ever want is here. Check out this comprehensive blog post from Mostly Amelie and I share my favorite meals here on my personal blog.

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It’s Quiet & Relaxed

Even though Ko Phangan is known as a party island, I found the north/west side of the island to be quiet and secluded. Granted I was there in April during low season, but I’m guessing that area is often a little slower than Haad Rin and Thongsala. I felt totally comfortable driving a scooter around and had no fear of crashing (like I did while in Canggu, Bali). If you are in town during the full moon party it does get busier during that time and hotel prices go up so keep that in mind. But other times are the month are super chill!

Have you been to Ko Phangan? What is your favorite thing about the island? Share with us in the comments below!

 


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by Christy Morgan

Curious what Nia is all about? This website has some great blog posts on the subject. Many of which are inspiring and you may connect with!

I’d love to tell you about my experience with Nia. To be honest with you at first I thought it was bizarre and not for me. The first time I saw a Nia class was at the Portland VegFest in October 2014 and will admit I had some negative judgements about it. At the time I was bodybuilding and really into pumping iron. Even though I had enjoyed Zumba and all forms of dance in the past, Nia just rubbed me the wrong way. There was dancing, then people began to kick and punch the air, saying “yaaaah” as they went. Then jumping and dancing around all wildly. I thought to myself, these people are nuts. Haha, it’s really funny when I think back on it!

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Nine months later I was at the Vegetarian Summerfest giving talks and teaching bootcamps. Early 2015 I decided to take a break from bodybuilding and get back into yoga. It gave me a chance to center and connect to myself and not care so much about my physical shell. My friend Allison was teaching Nia classes at Summerfest so I thought, what the heck I’ll give it a try. I let everything go and went in with no expectations. I literally danced like no one was watching and had SO MUCH FUN! Allison’s class reminded me how much I loved to move my body and express myself within movement. I took another class with her that week and got hooked.

My experience with dance is mostly in clubs. I took a jazz dance class at a community college later in life, but I never did dance classes growing up. My best friend has tried many times to take me to an “ecstatic” dance party but everytime I freeze up and can’t move. There’s something about being in a class and following a teacher that comforts me. The great thing about Nia is you express yourself within the set movements of the class. The teacher is just a guide.

allisonbaliSo if you are a bit nervous about dancing or feel like you aren’t coordinated Nia is just for you! Especially with a teacher like Allison. She puts you at ease just being in her presence. So don’t let your fears stop you from joining us in Bali. Also, keep in mind that all classes are optional. If you try one of the Nia classes and decide it’s not your thing that’s cool. Just come for the yoga (which is also optional!), art classes, the chance to relax and recharge, and connect with other conscious-minded women.

Allison and I are so excited to share the empowering movement of Nia with you in Bali! We have extended the early bird discount a week so you’ll save $200 off if you pay your deposit by January 22nd!! Don’t miss this opportunity! Blissed Out Retreats will not be going to Bali for another few years or at all. If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting this magical place jump on this affordable package. You won’t find any retreat of this nature cheaper.

See more details of the retreat here.

by Christy Morgan

I remember my first time out of the U.S. like it was yesterday. I had just graduated with a fashion design degree and wanted to go to a fashion school in Florence, Italy. The weekends would be spent traveling up and down the country in exploration. In Rome, my camera was stolen out of my backpack in a hostel and I lost all the photos I had taken (back then there was film in cameras!). Even though I had no proof that I had visited the Colosseum and the Pantheon, the memories remained etched in my brain.

I remember traveling down the Amalfi Coast with my mouth agape at the beauty. Cinque Terre was so cute and close to Florence that I went twice. These travels led me to say goodbye to schooling and continue to travel. I had been bit by the bug! I continued up to Switzerland, where my purse was snatched in Zurich and caused so much frustration and pain trying to replace my passport.

camelposeIn every country I’ve visited since you will find similar stories of trials and tribulations, but all the magic I have seen far outweighs the bad. It took me 10 years and traveling to 28 countries to learn how to be a better traveler, the ins and outs of transportation, and surviving as a vegan. Going on a retreat saves you so much stress because someone like me who has been through everything plans it all out for you!

Riding river taxis through Bangkok. Cycling on rickety bikes to Angkor Wat at sunrise. Dripping sweat at the Taj Mahal. Watching the Legong dance in Bali. Taking the tube in London. Picking strawberries in the mountains of Malaysia. Releasing baby turtles into the ocean in Mexico. Sipping the best soy latte in Australia. Doing yoga at an ashram in Vietnam. The list goes on and on of the magic I’ve experienced thanks to traveling the world.

One of the most magical times I’ve ever had was in Bali last year with 13 beautiful and unique women. These retreats teach me so much about myself, but the most amazing thing is watching how they transform others. From the woman who went to honor her parents who had passed during the same week years back, to the mother who had never left her child and fell so much in love with Bali she’s been back again. To the many who had never left the country and trusted they would be taken care of by me. To the puppies we found under a lounge chair on the beach and found a home for. We all have unique stories to tell.

4 reasons why you should go on a yoga retreat

Less planning, less stress
It takes hours and hours of researching to find the perfect hotel, make sure you’ll have the healthy food you desire, what part of town you should stay in, figuring out transportation and customs, etc. When you go on a retreat everything is planned for you. You just show up and enjoy a vacation of a lifetime! That right there is priceless!

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Connection with like-minded individuals
Retreats are perfect for solo travelers or those who don’t want to spend their whole vacation alone. It’s not always possible to travel with your friends or family. But that shouldn’t stop you from going to a magical place to have an amazing experience. If you go on a retreat you instantly have 10+ friends and you aren’t left all alone with no one to share your experiences with. Even the most introverted will feel more secure on a retreat because all the activities are optional and you get plenty of free time to do you own thing too. And who knows, these people may become life-long friends.

Come home better than when you left
Going on a retreat that includes things like yoga, mind/body connection, and healthy food lets you come back home better off that when you left. That is the whole purpose of our retreats! Remember that last vacation where you drank too much, ate crappy food and came home drained and like you needed a vacation from your vacation? Going on a healthy retreat will leave you feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the world. The Bali retreat will give you a self-care plan to take home as well.

Say-YES-to-life-and-seeSaying yes to you
Most people are living day in and day out trying to make ends meet, caring for their friends and family, some are running businesses and managing families. Women in particular spend less time on themselves than they do on the people around them. Taking time away from everyday life allows you to think more clearly about your needs and to connect with your authentic self. And you deserve it!

 


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