Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Yoga Retreat with Lucas Rockwood in Samui

Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui
What a great way to start the new year - detox and yoga - in Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui with 21 other like-minded individuals from different countries- 14 countries to be exact.

I've attended several yoga retreats before but nothing beats Lucas Rockwood's style. He was not at all imposing and in fact, more gentle and perhaps lenient offering several alternatives on how to execute a pose. He defined Yoga  as "taking your power back."

The schedule was not strict and allowed some leisure time in between to go to the beach - either Cheong Mon or Chaweng or remain at the resort for treatments (massage, facial, colemas, etc), short courses (like napkin folding!) or lounge in the pool area.

Daily schedule
The day started with a flow practice at 7:30 am, then breakfast at 9:30, free time from 10:30 to 1:00pm, Yoga Lab from 3 to 4:15pm, gravity yoga  from 4:30 to 6pm, dinner at 7pm and pranayama from 8 to 9pm.

The Yoga Lab was more like a workshop intensive focusing on different aspects of vinyasa flow practice. We had a total of five workshops: Transitions, Inversions, Nutrition, Back-bends and Jump throughs.

Lucas is an advocate of healthy eating. He tried all kinds of diet and lost 40 pounds through yoga and a plant-based diet lifestyle. During the Nutrition workshop, he introduced healthy foods vs toxins. The healthy foods consist of (1) fruits and veggies, (2) natural meats (hormone-free, no medication and dioxins), (3) sprouts or live foods, raw nuts and seeds, (4) essential fat acids (flax seeds, cold water fish), (5) sea veggies, liver fermented foods (kimchi, kefir, kombucha) and (6) water. He recommended to move away from products especially those with shelf life and go towards free produce. The ingredients used to preserve packaged food products are  harmful. He advised to make it a habit to read food labels and check for preservatives (such as transfat, sugars and colors) and excitoxins (MSG and aspartame). Also, to refrain from the intake of alcohol, rancid fat (mostly deep fried foods), polysaturated fat and genetically modified organisms (GMO).

I liked the gravity yoga at the end of the day which is essentially stretching.  The movement required to hold the pose for a longer period than normal and to use body weight (yours or a partner). On the right is a photo showing Lucas  putting weight on the back to stretch the hamstrings.

I truly learned a lot from Lucas and joining his retreat is a good way to jump start the year health-wise.

Here's Lucas' explaining the jump through/back:

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