Samma Karuna has a lovely location right on the beach at Haad Chao Phao, here on Koh Phangan, in Thailand, and the variety of classes they offer is amazing! Unlike many other yoga schools, Samma Karuna is more concentrated on the emotional and healing aspect rather than yoga as a physical exercice.
It is a non-dogmatic school, based on tantric and anahata (heart) principles. Moreover, Samma Karuna has scored very highly in the TTC:s (teacher training course) comparisons, so they must be doing something right (source: yogattc.info)!
Samma Karuna is a bit far from where I live plus it’s not Ashtanga based so that’s why I haven’t been a regular here. However, for this blog post, I did some research, eg. talked to Ishi, one of the founding members of the school, and familiarised myself with this beautiful place.
Although I love my Ashtanga, I sometimes do other yoga styles as well. I love a grounding and calming Yin yoga class every now and then. It is so different from Ashtanga, where the breath and movement are interconnected, and the practice is very demanding and most certainly will make you sweat.
In Yin yoga you stay in the asanas longer, even several minutes and concentrate especially on your lower body. The feeling that you get after a class is amazing. You kind of feel like walking on air. Your body is relaxed and loose, and you feel balanced. In the beginning of the class we made a short pranayama exercise before digging deep (literally). Anyway, our teacher had a lovely assisting style and I was very pleased with the class.
After the class it’s so nice to chill at the beach and watch the sunset. What could be a better ending to a soothing yoga class?
Next time I came to try Kundalini yoga class. It had been on my mind for some time so this was as good a time as ever. Our teacher, Jewels is a very sweet lady who has extensive knowledge of different meditation and healing techniques to name but a few.
We did several different postures during the 90-minute lesson, but the breathing played a very central part of the asanas. Some of the postures were challenging, but it is a completely different style from the vinyasa method that we do in Ashtanga. While my chakras didn’t throw me into another dimension, I certainly got interested in Kundalini yoga and will give it another try. You can learn more about Jewels here.
Heart meditation and Osho kundalini
I went out of my comfort zone to learn about different styles and familiarise myself with new techniques. I have noticed that I always keep on returning to Ashtanga and that is my thing but sometimes it might be good to open yourself up to something new.
That being said, I have to be honest; Heart meditation wasn’t my cup of tea. It was a bit too hippyish to my liking, haha. Osho kundalini was ok but not 100% my kind of a thing either. I prefer seated meditations and mantra chanting rather than meditations in which you dance and shake of the bad energies around you. However, I do believe that many people like these classes and they can beneficial. It just wasn’t exactly for me.
Community volunteering and social responsibility
I’ve talked about it earlier how yoga is a big business nowadays and sometimes this contradicts the inherent values and principles of yoga. At Samma Karuna, they have a community volunteering programme and I have a really big respect for Samma Karuna for this.
While you cannot get a free boarding, you can still benefit extensively from the free classes, learn new skills and improve yourself. This, in my opinion, is in line with the yogic principles and Karma yoga which is done through serving and helping others.
I was lucky enough to talk to Ishi, one of the founding members and a genuinely heartfelt man and he said that they believe in social responsibility. They organise community dinners and profits are directed towards local Thais.
Moreover, all the students who have participated in the TTC can do an internship at Samma Karuna plus receive lifelong free lessons here. Now, how many other places offer these kinds of perks to their students?! Not many, I believe.
There would be so much more to write about this lovely place but perhaps you should go and experience it for yourself. I still prefer Ashtanga but I also believe we need places like Samma Karuna which are more concentrated on the healing and making us better human beings.
Furthermore, I am very happy that there still are yoga schools which are also in line with the yogic principles, such as giving back to the community and offering internships to students after teacher training graduation. Samma Karuna has been up and running only 4 years but the “results” speak for themselves. If you want more information on this lovely place, check out their web page.
Namaste, Samma Karuna, to all of its staff and students!
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