Kanchanaburi Lakeside Retreat

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While everyone at home was getting down with fireworks, BBQ and assorted side salads, I spent my 4th of July weekend in a way I never imagined I would: at a yoga retreat. I almost declined when my friend Sonja suggested that particular weekend, but quickly changed my mind when I saw the retreat included jet skiing on the expansive Sri Nakarin Lake next to the property.

As if that wasn't enough, there’s also an ATV, quad-bikes and plenty of land to tear through on your transport of choice.

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Not your typical yoga retreat.

But that is exactly what my friends Nat and Nikon were looking to provide when they started Kanchanaburi Lakeside Retreat.

Approximately five-hours' drive away from Bangkok, out in the jungle of the mountainous town of Kanchanaburi, this weekend-long retreat offers two-a-day yoga and meditation sessions, mindfulness coaching, vegetarian meals from morning to night and experienced, awesome instructors that really personalize the trip and help you get the most out of it.

And did I mention they have a jet ski?

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But besides speeding through the water like a maniac, I was looking forward to spending some time away from the city and slowing down to focus on mind, body and spirit.

Each morning started with yoga in Nat’s signature Hatha style with reggae music playing softly and inspirational quotes read aloud to keep us pumped up. I’ve always loved Nat’s use of quotes in his classes. Hearing uplifting words from the likes of the Buddha, Rumi and Gandhi always helps bring me into the present moment.

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These sweaty sessions lasted for an hour to an hour and a half, closing with seated meditation at increasing durations. Starting from five minutes, I think we eventually reached 15 minutes of stillness in our last class. Definitely one of the more difficult parts of the retreat for us!

We cooked healthy vegetarian meals together and laughed under the stars, our yoga mats splayed across the front lawn in a circle. It was so nice to meet other Bangkok ladies who share the love for yoga and healthy eating as much as for chocolate and copious amounts of wine. And of course hanging out with our amazing instructors!

One of the most illuminating parts of the retreat was the life coaching session with Nikon, a certified coach and Taekwondo athlete. We were a bit surprised when he pulled out the workbooks, but we all kept an open mind and slowly opened up to each other.

We shared our negative beliefs about money, our relationships, our health and ourselves, and Nikon provided us with a few tools to shift that dead weight and take control of our belief systems.

We examined our Models of Reality ~ the beliefs we’ve acquired throughout our lives that shape our perception of reality. We pushed each other to change the negative sentences running our lives to more positive beliefs that actually serve us in the here and now.

It was a really powerful experience for me as I went from sharing my insecurity of calling myself a travel blogger to shouting, “I’M BANGKOK’S BEST TRAVEL BLOGGER!” at the top of my lungs.

It was uncomfortable. It made me feel vulnerable. I felt like a total impostor. But by the fourth time screaming it, I almost started to believe it.

At our last yoga session, Nat had each of us choose a piece of paper inscribed with a single word and we were asked to describe what it meant to us in the context of what we’d learned at the retreat.

My heart sank at first as I pulled the word INSECURITIES.

It took a second for me to realize that the word had absolutely zero power over me. Instead of flashing my flaws before me, it served as a reminder that I have control over the beliefs I have about myself and that the insecurities are simply negative beliefs that need the power of a new perspective.

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