Hello or Sabaidee as they say in Laos! I am just back from another fabulous 11 days of cycling and yoga around Northern Laos. Everytime I go I fall a little bit more in love with the country and it's people. It's just one of those places..
Julie, our fabulous yoga instructor and first time SoulFit adventurer has written a short piece on her experience. As you will see when you read Julie's piece, a SoulFit adventure retreat is more than just a holiday!
I’m a yoga teacher, not a cyclist by any standards. In fact, until two weeks ago I had never really enjoyed cycling much. The most I had cycled in recent years was a basic commute to and from the different places where I teach yoga around Luang Prabang. When Virginia from SoulFit Adventures contacted me to ask whether I’d like to join her as a yoga teacher on the next trip around Northern Laos, I certainly had a few concerns. I might have been inclined to turn the offer down had I not gone to bed a month earlier with a plea to the universe to have someone invite me to teach on their retreat. As it turns out, the universe was listening. But a cycling retreat? I took it as a sign – the universe telling me to once again do something I never thought I would. I’ve lived in Laos for over a year and traveled a fair bit through the country. The mountain roads would be no easy feat.
Now, a week after the completion of the journey, I’m in awe at what the human mind and body is capable of, I’ve fallen in love all over again with the country I’ve chosen to live in, and feel more connected to the people who call it home. For until you can appreciate every uphill and downhill through the experience of your own physical effort and mental will, you cannot truly appreciate the lives of the people who live each day in the villages scattered throughout.
The SoulFit Adventures’ “Cycling for the Soul in Northern Laos” trip is not just about cycling however. It’s a high-end retreat that takes you not only through stunning countryside, but also to some pretty upmarket establishments. Massages included throughout the trip and unlimited yoga ensures a quick recovery for tired muscles. Oh and did I mention the food? Local street food and gourmet gastronomy provided us with much-needed energy. Our local guide Saylom made sure we were always fully stocked with a delicious assortment of fruit for our regular breaks along the road.
Off course, for me, teaching and practicing yoga in some of the most beautiful locations was a highlight. From yoga decks overlooking the Namkhan River to awe-inspiring Mekong yoga experiences, I really felt my smallness in the bigger scheme of things. As many yoga postures draw their inspiration from nature, practicing in beautiful and natural surroundings really helps to build a sense of connection to world in which we live.
Whether you’re a yogi, cyclist, foodie or adventure junkie, the SoulFit Adventures retreat in Laos has something for you. I guarantee you’ll discover something new and perhaps you’ll even walk away a little bit transformed.
Julie Moksim, Yoga Instructor, Laos
Here’s a photo album of some of the highlights of the May 2013 trip. The next trip leaves on October 15 and I would love to have you with me. Contact me for more information email@example.com
Plunge blodly into the think of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting. - Geothe
Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw - 70km Cycling Day
The group departs
Peter and Elizabeth en route
Picture perfect Nong Khiaw
A swim at the Mandala Ou resort
Phaxang Resort with a beautiful yoga deck overlooking the river
Boat Ride from Nong Khiaw to Mueng Khua
Quick stop in Muang Ngoi
Mueng Khua to Muang La - 73km Cycling Day
Saylom, our amazing guide! He made cycling look effortless :-)
On this day, the road we cycled followed the river the entire time
Virginia handing out tamarind to the village children
One of two hot tubs on the property
Resort in Muang La by night
Gourmet dinner on both nights
Yoga on the river bank
Muang La - Oudomxay - Pak Beng
Spectacular scenery on the way to Oudomxai
Bpateet Lao Mgam Lai, Lao country is beautiful!
Yoga in the early morning sun
Morning sun in Pak Beng
Arrival in Pak Beng. A quick break at the end of a long day
Boat Ride from Pak Beng to Pak Ou and Our Return to Luang Prabang