Yoga in Siem Reap
Cambodia, a country rich in history, a country of kind people who give you the biggest smiles as you bike past. A country of beautiful landscapes and villages still untouched by heavy tourism. I have once again fallen in love with another place I have visited.
Much of my time in Cambodia was spent in a small farming village outside of Siem Reap, at the Hariharalaya yoga retreat. Once again, after traveling alone in some chaotic cities I felt that I needed to treat my body and mind to some relaxation time. What better way to help my body and mind to become in sync than with daily yoga and meditation, what the retreat calls integrative living.
From the moment I arrived at Hariharalaya with 5 other women retreaters, I felt at home. To get there we had to drive on dirt roads passing waving children and temples built long ago. The actual retreat is so lush, the paths are shaded with banana, mango and coconut trees. Flowers are in bloom under the extremely hot summer sun, and the sight and sound of butterfly wings fluttering all around.
I along with the other women were given a tour of the grounds. I was pleased by all the nooks with hammocks and swinging benches for reading or just taking a nap. There is also a game room and a reading room equipped with a pool table, table tennis, guitars, ukuleles and art supplies for guests to explore their artistic side. Whenever I felt a little more energetic I could hop on the trampoline or use their outdoor mini gym. And of course I can’t forget to mention the place I spent the most time, the pool. It is small but perfect for lounging during the 95+ degree days (which is oh so common).
My days looked like this:
Wake up at 6:30 take a refreshing outdoor shower
Yoga at 7 and meditation at 8:30
Breakfast at 9am
After breakfast we usually had free time until lunch at 1pm and after lunch we would have free time until 4pm yoga
Followed by 6pm meditation
Dinner at 7
And a fun group activity such as a bonfire, live music, game nights and my all-time favorite a super great magic show.
Pretty stressful huh? ;P
I was able to experience so many different types of yoga with three instructors. I experienced a blind shiatsu massage which was total bliss. And when I would get tired of laying at the pool I rode one of the retreat bikes into the village.
The most special of all were the women who I had the pleasure to interact and spend 6 days with. They were from all around the world, all different ages, different personalities but all of them were so kind and absolutely so strong and inspiring in so many unique ways.
I am leaving Hariharalaya feeling extremely happy. I will miss the tranquility, the great staff, my fellow retreaters, drinking sweet coconuts right from the tree, the feeling of stretching and freeing my mind and body, the blasting music from the weddings in the village, the sounds of the geckos and just the overall feeling of being content.