Going solo at Kamalaya

Posted on September 10, 2013

Untitled 5The Personal Yoga Synergy programme at Kamalaya has given me great opportunity to enjoy intensive one to one yoga classes. Perched at the top of a hill, surrounded by wild vegetation and azure seas hugging tropical islands as far as the eye can see has been a pretty awesome backdrop for these.

On the contrary, I sometimes laugh when observing the start of an urban yoga class … dozens of highly-stressed career gals eager to get their fix of ‘zen’, arriving post traffic jam, frustrated and exhausted … donning their finest lycra then lining up their mats, packed like sardines and spending half the class looking at how far their neighbour has managed to bend … it’s just not always very conducive to the yoga mindset!

I was asked prior to my first session what I wanted to achieve. My reply? ‘Well I want to work on my headstand. I love inversions. Oh and I’d love to master a side crow.’ In hindsight, I feel a bit silly with my response. You see, I realise now that the benefits of one to one are really to go back to basics … to work on the building blocks that, when perfected and practiced, can be built upon to bring together more complex asanas.

So we spent hours opening my hips (like most runners, mine are so very very tight!) stretching my hamstrings (ditto), strengthening my core and twisting my spine. We did dozens of sun salutations, A, B and eventually C. Only during the last couple of sessions, did we work on some tougher balances.

Speaking of my sun salutations … I was told to demonstrate A and B for my teacher so she could look at my form. I did them. She said “Good, good Victoria … but stop rushing. Stop doing yoga like you live your life. Slow down!” Suddenly sun salutations became a wonderful metaphor for life. I’m working on slowing down but it sure does take a lot of practice!

This approach now makes perfect sense, because you see, there’s not a chance in hell that we can really benefit from our group classes back home if we haven’t paid individual attention to the basic building blocks of each posture. Classes generally need to cater for the masses … taking into account virgin yogis alongside seasoned fans. Quite advanced asanas are often practiced as a result, but unless you really know how they are done, injuries are inevitable. One to one also helped hugely with my breathing, because you’re that much more aware of aligning your movement with your breath when the teacher is right beside you.

I worked with three different teachers. I liked this. With my self-proclaimed short attention span, the variety and different teaching methods appealed to me. Each teacher reported to the next exactly what we had worked on and what areas needed work so classes flowed seamlessly.

Beyond my one to one sessions, I took the daily group class … Yin, Hatha, Power, Ashtanga, Flow … never a day the same … and these were complimented by various Ayurvedic therapies which left me feeling like a pampered princess.

My last session will be tomorrow. I already feel the benefits and will no doubt continue to do so, as I step back into my practice back in Dubai and elsewhere. Deon said the other night, ‘wow, you must be a real expert now.’ My reply, ‘No, not at all …’ And I think that’s the wonderful thing about yoga. It’s this long journey with no ultimate destination. The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know.

It isn’t a physical activity with a bit of mind work thrown in, nor is it a mental activity with a bit of body work thrown in. Rather it’s a lifestyle, a mindset. It’s not just something we start and finish in a class, but something we incorporate into our relationships, our attitudes, our dietary choices, our loves, our lives and our sense of gratitude.

Today, I am grateful to Kamalaya and the opportunity to have spent a quite magical week here.


My thanks to Kamalaya for what I can safely say already will be a life-enhancing, energy-recharging and endlessly fulfilling trip. And my thanks to both Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways for bringing me here … travel with two true world-class airlines ensures that holidays commence not on arrival but on first setting foot on the plane. I flew Thai Airways from Dubai to Bangkok and BKK Airways from Bangkok to Samui. Both flights were easy, effortless and faultless. Visit www.kamalaya.com / www.thaiairways.com / www.bangkokair.com


Posted in: uncategorised