My June in Thailand: Part (1)

Where do I start…

Let me tell you a short story first. In the early 1990’s my grandfather used to work for the army and he was sent to Thailand to source wood for import. He fell in love with Thailand and was returning almost every single year. In 2010, he took my sister and I on our first trip to southeast Asia. We ate lots of tropical fruit, got massages every other day and browsed the night markets like our lives depended on it.

I would say I really liked Thailand but I had no idea that I would go back and completely fall in love with it. I should have known better since I’m very much my grandpa’s daughter.

Fast forward to 2017, I “accidently” taught a couple of yoga classes and that was the first time I realize that I would like to teach. My fanatic search began for 200 hour trainings but everything I found was either badly timed, way out of my non-existing budget or the worst of all: had a meh curriculum.

A friend of mine recommended that I check Dice and Briohny, mentioning “great practice and teaching in Thailand,” that’s all. After checking the Bryce YTT my reply was, “It’s perfect, too perfect, but unfortunately expensive.”

Photo Credit: Lenka Minarikova @zgungphotography

If you’re based in Egypt or earn in Egyptian pounds, you know how the devaluation of the EGP kinda fucked us all so I decided not to give it much thought because I didn’t want to feel bummed about it. I still checked Briohny’s online classes and for some reason, this specific training wouldn’t leave my mind.

I registered, got my acceptance letter, started my payments and bookings, and everything started moving way faster than I anticipated.

You know when something just feels right? Everything was falling into place and whenever I had doubts, more things would fall into place. Even my period shifted to right before the training and right after!

I took off to Thailand a couple of days before the training because I wanted to rest and deal with any jetlag before the training starts. I spend 48 hours in Bangkok and then took a flight to Koh Samui.

Ps. I’m covering Bangkok in the next blog post.

 

Bryce 200 HR YTT

The Basics

The training was 20 days with a day off every 5 days or so.

The daily asana practice was anything between 3 hours to 4, if not more.

Kirtan and pranayama were practiced for at around 30 minutes daily.

Philosophy, business, anatomy, alignment and practice-teach were covered over the remaining hours of the day.

We were staying at Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui.

Key People

Briohny aka Bri: I started practicing some of her Alo yoga videos on youtube to try and decide if this training is for me and I actually went because of Bri. I can’t tell you what it is exactly but I just felt comfortable knowing that she’s there and one of the lead teachers. Bri’s practice is strong and therefore she’s the queen of adjustments and preventing injuries. She’s also very knowledgeable about the business of yoga as well as philosophy.

Dice: I didn’t make an effort to know more about Dice before booking the YTT. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to relate to him so I just didn’t really know a thing about him except maybe his name. Dice turned out to be everything you wish a teacher (and friend) would be. He is extremely approachable and down to earth. His flows are strong and he is one of the biggest zero bullshit people I have ever met probably. I still cry when I remember kirtan mornings with Dice.

Mathieu Bouldron: Do you know how some people can embody a practice or a belief? Mathieu is Yoga. He is a walking and talking yogi, he lives its values fully (for what appears to me) and he is a phenomenal teacher. He was mostly teaching philosophy and led practice a few times. His signature yinyasa flows are gold.

Emily Torockio: I didn’t get to know Emily during our first few days but when I did, I realised I wish I had gotten to know her earlier. Emily was assisting and adjusting a lot but she also organised so much during the training. Emily’s adjustments in class where on point. I would actually know it’s her adjusting me without looking! On our 17th day, Emily led a badass hiphop yoga class (which I sadly couldn’t make till the end because of wrist pain) but loved. She challenged my thoughts about the traditional outlook on yoga.

Dean Zeller: Dean is an acroyoga teacher who was partially present during the training. He can fly you, literally and metaphorically, even if you zero acroyoga background. His presence, though, added immense value. The kind of value derived from things you didn’t know you want or need or could bring you that much joy.

Extras

Now, I am not like most people in terms of asana practice. Poses fascinate me but I didn’t always care for getting there. The asana practice might actually represent the least ambition I had when it comes to yoga. In a way, this was good because I was always excited for the philosophy, business and anatomy classes. But so much has changed since then and the asana practice is now climbing my yoga ladder. To be honest, though, I had no doubt that I wouldn’t make it till the end of the training because of the 4+ hours of practice. My own strength surprised me and a lot of that strength was derived by being immersed and surrounded by a group of people who wholly believe in you 24/7 for 3 consecutive weeks.

One of the other things I was so concerned about is the occasional acroyoga practice. As you might know, I am not a big fan of acroyoga because of an injury that has ruined so much for the past 3 years. I am definitely not blaming it on the acroyoga practice but at least I know that my fear is, in a way, “rational.” Having said that, even the acroyoga practice was fun and this is due to the friendly approach of Bri, Dice and Dean.

We covered so much more than I expected.

Asana, pranayama, kirtan, alignment, practice-teach, anatomy and philosophy? Check

Yoga and teachers around the world? Check

Prenatal yoga? Check

Yoga for the elderly? Check

Business? Check

Even pop music? Check

Coconut ice-cream? Check

One of the things worth mentioning is that there were occasional surprises that truly picked us up when we needed something extra to keep going.

Now, there’s so much more I can share with you but this post would end up being a small book so instead, I’ll share some excerpts from my journal during the trip.

But before I do, you ask: Do I recommend this training? Yes, without a doubt. If you have any questions, I’d love to answer them so leave a comment under this post, email me via the contact page or find me on social media.

A couple of reviews that I found great as well were by this post by Zgung and this podcast episode by Kevin Boyle.

Now I leave you with my thoughts during the training…

 

June 1: “No expectations” and “intimidating.”

June 2: “Handstand practice on the first day? Really? Twice a day? Everyday?”

June 3: “I intentionally look for distractions to avoid certain things…” referring to the practice.

“I do this with people. If someone bothers me, I’ll just walk away, I’ll find an excuse to avoid confrontation” reflecting.

June 4: “Today I was introduced to my new check in buddy, Charlotte. I love her! My first check in buddy was Sylvia who I loved as well! The evening ____” I think I was too tired to write.


June 5: “Day four.

I can’t believe I’ve come so far.

Today, I woke up energized.

During this morning’s meditation/visualization, Dice asked us to visualize the face of a loved one. I felt the tears run down my face. I was upfront so close to Dice and I was worried he’d notice.

After opening our eyes, I realized that I’m not the only one who cried. In a way, it was comforting. Did I feel less weak or did I feel collective weakness?

During breakfast, I expressed my frustration to Dice. I feel like I was mean and harsh and just a total bitch. Lovely!”

June 6: “The morning practice: WOW!

We were lined up shoulder to shoulder and in two lines facing one another. We worked together, leaning on one another, literally, while listening and screaming our lungs out to songs like Lean on me and Stand by me.

Phenomenal. I’m happy, energised. I feel at home.”

June 8: “Bri, I appreciate you.

I appreciate you more than I know how to express it.”

This was probably after she opened up or during one of the business classes, which I truly appreciated!

June 12: “The pain in my hips. I don’t have words for that.

I’m glad though.

I’m glad it didn’t push me to the point where I’d get emotional.

I’m glad it didn’t drive me to quit.

Tapas, the third discipline of the niyamas.

Motivation, determination, pushing through. Am I finally learning to practice tapas?

I’m in pain.

I was in pain during the evening yin practice but I pushed through.

Tomorrow, I take rest.”

June 15: “My wrist hurts, child’s pose.

Oh, left hip, oh, oh, oh. I’m out of here.

I observed quite a bit today during the morning practice. We created the corner for what we called the elderly. I don’t know if that’s inappropriate or offensive to anyone in any way but for us it was funny.

Today was the first day we study anatomy. I’m still finding it hard to understand the muscles.

Evening practice was partner work and acro. I mostly practiced with Emma, which I thought would be hard because of the size difference but it was amazing.

I based for her and Mascha a lot. It was actually fun and I had no back pain at all which I guess (or hope) means that I was properly aligned.

After class, Dean said he’ll give me my birthday flight and it was amazing! He really knows his shit and so he made it very therapeutic.”

June 18: “I invite you to revisit our first night here.

Do you remember how different this room looked?

Do you remember how different it felt?

How did YOU feel?

Were you excited? Intimidated? anxious?

Day 2: Do you remember your first check in buddy?

Day 4: You were introduced to your second check in buddy.

Day 5: Dice’s visualization of our loved ones.

Day 6: Hello Mathieu! Standing up side by side, lean on me.

Your first day off.

The beach.

Yin.

Mathieu’s last day.

The soreness, the hugs, the laughs, the cries.

Chanting our hearts out.

Who did you share them with?

How far did you come in 18 days?

You’re surrounded by people coming from all parts of the earth.

Diverse.

United by a love, need or want to practice something so ancient yet so new.

Diversity within unity.

Or is it unity within diversity?

If this isn’t magic, what is?”

June 20: “My heart is so full.

A couple of days ago I recorded a 9.5/10 on the happiness scale and that was only because my hair was all poofy from the humidity.

Today, I’m glad to report a record 10/10.

Happiness does not depend on your circumstances but solely depends on what you make out of whatever life throws at you.”

8 Comments

  • Lenka
    1 year ago

    This was beautiful Amira! I cried again while reading all your thought during the training! Miss you! <3

    • amiraaymans
      1 year ago

      Thank you Lenka <3 Same here, finalising this was pretty tough on my fragile emotions!

  • Isabel
    1 year ago

    Amira!!! My heart is bursting I felt like I was reliving it all again, it’s lovely to know that I can just come to this post and relive parts of this awesome experience! You worded it so well, thank you love!!

    • amiraaymans
      1 year ago

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read it Isabel! It was hard for me to write as well. I miss you so so much <3

  • Terri
    1 year ago

    So beautiful…I respect your journey. You’re very genuine and pure.

    • amiraaymans
      1 year ago

      Thank you so much for your kind comment <3 I hope it inspired you!

  • Gihan
    1 year ago

    Hi Amira,
    Can you please provide details on thr training cost overall? & how much you payed in total for the overall trip? I am trying to gather as much information on my non existing budget

    • amiraaymans
      1 year ago

      Hi Gihan, yes, of course! So the teacher’s training was for 6,500 USD (which I know sounds insane, don’t even try to convert it to EGP but for me it was worth every penny). During the training, I barely spent money unless I wanted to buy a snack or coconut water (around 50 EGP each). I spent a couple of days in Bangkok before which cost me about (1,400 EGP) for accommodation in a hostel (private room) and I’d say I spent less than 200 USD for food and transportation. Internal flights from Bangkok to Samui (where the training was) and from Samui to Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai back to Bangkok were an average of 1,200 EGP (took me a lot of searching because I was booking them late). Public transportation and Taxis were very cheap in Bangkok and Chiang Mai but a lot more expensive in Samui. I highly recommend Grab (their version of Uber) because its much cheaper and I’ll address this in my next post. The last thing I can tell you is that fruit is very reasonably priced. Papayas were about 200 Bhat a kilo at the most expensive location of all. Passionfruit and Mangosteen were less than 80 Bhat a kilo, etc. If you can learn to open your own coconuts then they’ll cost you less than 40 Bhat, if not, they can be as expensive as 180 Bhat. In total, I took 500 USD with me for the month I was staying (food was already paid for for the 20 days of the training) and honestly, 500 USD wasn’t enough, I had to withdraw money several times. I hope that helps and let me know if you have more questions or need more details!

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