I started to look into yoga retreats after four months on the road. I wanted a break from the constant moving around, and a place to chill out for a bit. Now, just to be clear I am not a yogi. In fact I’ve only ever been to a handful of classes, before deciding I was way to intimidated by the other people wearing fancy yoga pants, with super flexible backs, strong arms and actual ab muscles. I came out of downward facing dog red in the face and regretting the cigarette I’d just had outside. Essentially I lacked the commitment to further any sort of practice.
So I don’t really know what compelled me to go to a remote island and do yoga. I’m not doubting that I needed to go; my behaviour is erratic, my emotions are generally out of control and I’d spent the last four months boozing and eating burgers.
But my body is just not made for yoga; I don’t mean that like I’m just not that good at it. Literally I’m not built for yoga. An old abdominal operation left a scar running across my belly; as a result I basically haven’t used my very important yoga core muscles in 20 years. The same operation nicked a blood vessel to my left leg, causing it not to sweat (I know, I am so weird). So my danger of face planting is very, very real. I also don’t know my rights and lefts, and of course I am not at all flexible.
Nonetheless, I knew my mind needed to go, even if my body was non-compliant. So I boldly strode off to my first yoga class, not actually that apprehensive, but I think that was just lack of sleep from my journey down from Bangkok.
When I first arrived in Koh Tao, I had planned to go to different yoga studio, Grounded. Which I found out had recently moved and after much googling I just couldn’t find it. So I set out to look for another, and came across Ocean Sound Dive and Yoga. Which was closer, the reviews were great, and they had a budget approved deal on classes. I also needed to commit to this quickly, as with every minute that passed I was at more and more risk of reverting my decision and just signing up to the pub crawl instead.
I had originally planned to stay in the cheapest hostel I could find, and just eat the inflated islands prices for a few weeks. But after the first class I got talking to another girl, who ended up giving me a lift home, we got chatting about accommodation, plans, life etc etc… Anyway, she was moving out the next day for three weeks, I planned to stay for three weeks; it was perfect, super convenient and dirt cheap. The following day I was in. I was committed.
My first class at Ocean Sound fortunately Restorative and eases me and my aching body in nicely. The instructors were easy going, totally non-pretentious and really knew their shit. The clientele varied from short to long term holiday makers/backpackers and workers from the island. Mostly women, but with the odd guy thrown in for good measure; and all really lovely.
The studio was super homely; beautifully decorated with large windows, high wooden ceilings, tiled floors, a few discrete spiritual symbols and what I’m told is top of the range equipment. It had a calm and chilled out atmosphere, was really clean, with an abundance of fans, free water refills (which I totally abused) but most importantly it was just super friendly and everyone was welcome.
Classes covered Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin and Restorative. Yin was my favourite because I’m lazy, but I tried to mix it up. Classes are at 7am (I never made it to any of those), 10am and 6pm mostly lasting 90 minutes.
The total pricings worked out at 6,500 bht for 3 weeks at P&N Guesthouse (although there were many others like it). I had my own double bed, shower, kitchen, a small living room and balcony. A two minute walk from the yoga studio in Ban Koh Tao; it seemed a popular choice for others in my position. The entire block was filled up with European girls spending a few weeks on Koh Tao being all hippy an’ shit.
For the yoga I paid 1000 bht for a one week unlimited pass. So two classes a day (could’ve done three if my body didn’t feel so middle aged). Which worked out at a ridiculous 70 bht per class (approx. £1.55/$2/1.80euro).
To keep my spending down I got the majority of my meals (mostly Pad Thai) from the street stall by my house ‘Lady Sandwich’ and although Lady was a little frosty at first, she soon warmed up to me when she saw I was a repeat customer.
One week in and I really loved the little retreat I’d made for myself. I felt calmer, and the subtle changes to my body were satisfying. I guiltlessly found myself searching yoga inspiration on Insta and Pintrest. I think the yoga has me now.
Ocean Sound Yoga.