1. Body language: it is rude to point with the index finger. Use, instead, your thumb and always your right hand (left is seen as impure). The head is seen as sacred, so avoid patting children’s heads, and refrain from displaying the bottoms of your feet (also seen as impure). Talking with your hands on your hips is a sign of contempt, anger or aggression.
2. Hospitality: handshaking is customary for greetings (again, use only the right hand). A common method when greeting in passing is to press your palm to your friend’s palm in front of your chests, fingers point upwards.
3. Visitors: are always welcomed with refreshments, but refrain from eating or drinking until host says ‘silakan’ (please begin). When eating with hands, first wash hands, then use right hand only. Sandals and shoes may be left outside the entrance the home.
4. What to Wear: When visiting rural villages, skimpy attire is not considered appropriate. Cover your shoulders, do not wear short shorts, cover your knees.
5. Bargaining: in a Balinese market, haggling over price is not considered impolite, but be pleasant. Bali is not one of those places where making an agitated display of negotiations is considered part of the process. Smile, and insist on the price you want to pay, and if they refuse your price, smile, say ‘thank you’ (terima kasi) and walk away.
6. Shoes: You will always remove your shoes before entering any store or restaurant. This is customary for all.
For BOTH men and women, when entering a temple, you MUST wear a sarong around the waist and sometimes a sash is also required.
WOMEN ONLY – you must cover your shoulders and your knees.
Please ask permission before taking pictures.
Please avoid pointing the soles of the feet towards the shrines if sitting on the ground.
And when in doubt just in case you find yourself not knowing the etiquette learn how to say ‘ma’af sekali’ (very sorry).
Women on their cycle are not allowed in the temple, nor are women who have recently given birth
Basically, the Balinese only have four first names:
First child: Wayan or Putu
Second child: Made or Kadek
Third child: Nyoman or Koman
Fourth child: Ketut
Fifth child: Start over with Wayan or Putu, and so on….
So don’t get confused if you feel like everyone you meet has the same name!
Of all of the beautiful islands, beaches, and resorts in Thailand, we chose the secluded island of Koh Samui for our fall yoga retreat. We make these decisions very intentionally in order to offer you a healing, eco-concious, peaceful, and diverse home for your retreat.
Koh Samui lies in the southern part of the Gulf of Thailand and is thought to have been inhabited for 15 centuries. Until the late 20th century, Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community, having little connection with mainland Thailand.
The people of Koh Samui are very much in rhythm with the natural flow of the seasons and let no resource the island gives them go to waste. It is still known for being self sufficient, with its residents using sustainable methods to make the most of the island’s resources. Nowadays many take advantage of harnessing the island’s constant sunlight for solar powered lights and heated water. They also continue the tradition of growing and harvesting much of their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs instead of importing them from the mainland. Southeast Asia’s ‘rainy season’ between May and November provides ample opportunity for rainwater recycling.
The name ‘Samui’ itself is mysterious in that it can’t be traced to a single origin (Ko=Island). It may be a variation of the Southern indian word meaning ‘waves and wind,’ or it may be named for a native tree, ‘mui.’ The most fitting explanation, in our opinion, is that the name is derived from the Chinese word, ‘Saboey,’ meaning ‘safe haven.’
The island was even without roads until the early 1970s, and nowadays can be circumnavigated by car in just a few hours. The island hosts gorgeous, well maintained beaches with crystal clear water- always a non-negotiable for our island retreats!
Check out more info about our retreat to Koh Samui in Thailand the fall here!
1. Willingness to let go of control. If you’re an independent type A personality, this could be a tough one for you. Being in a new place with unfamiliar food, a different schedule, and new people to meet can be uncomfortable at first. Your retreat guides know where your next meal is coming from and where you’ll sleep that night, so you don’t have to.
2. A sense of humor. Being able to laugh at yourself and accept that your yoga practice and your life aren’t always going to be graceful and smooth. Sometimes your tree pose is crooked and sometimes you belly flop into the pool while trying to do a jackknife dive. If either of those are the worst things that happen to you that day, life is pretty good!
3. Empathy. Depending on where you’re traveling, the culture and people who’s lives you’re intersecting with could be drastically different than what you know. Let understanding these differences be what brings you together as opposed to what divides you.
4. Openness to try new things. Traveling and yoga help us grow so much as people because they provide a change of pace, deviating from the safe lifestyles many of us have created for ourselves. It’s in that place outside our safety zone that we can really explore what we’re made of.
5. Courage. Courage to try that pose you’ve been resisting, courage to try foreign foods, and courage to make every day the best day of your life!
People all over the world have known for centuries the therapeutic benefits of spending time in hot spring pools. Hot springs occur when geothermally heated groundwater finds its way to the surface, bringing with it a distinct mineral content depending on location. Each pool has it’s own unique benefits, and because of this many pools around the world have been preserved for us to enjoy. The word ‘spa’ itself comes from the Latin term ‘sanus per aquam,’ meaning health through water.
The hot spring pools of Iceland are known to contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral minerals that were said to keep sheep farmers healthy and warm through the harsh winter months. The Petriolo Thermal Baths in Italy date back to 1404 and were visited by many of the noble families sich as Medici and Gonzaga. These baths were known for high concentrations of substances that were effective for treating various skin diseases, respiratory problems, and arthritis. Petriolo geothermal waters flow into the cold waters of the river Farma, so it is very healing for those with circulatory disorders. It is said that Roman soldiers routinely used Italy’s hot wells to recover from their physical and emotional wounds.
Hot springs occur naturally all over the world as a replenishing gift from mother nature that nourishes us from the inside out!
In choosing an Italy Yoga Retreat make sure to ask about the pedigree of the Chef. If you make the trip to Italy and stay at a retreat center with a non Italian chef you are doing yourself a disservice. The artistic and centuries old learnings of Italian chefs is a must experience while in Tuscany.
FOOD IS ART
What sets apart one retreat from another are: accommodations and food. Tuscany offers you a beautiful experience in living like Italians do. Seek the best. There is no reason you have to share a bathroom with 5-10 other guests. We are experts in Tuscany.
WHERE WE WILL STAY ON OUR TUSCANY YOGA RETREAT
We will be guests at Antico Borgo di Tignano, a UNESCO World Heritage site and classic Tuscan farmhouse which our friend, Gabriella has converted into a stylish yoga retreat center. Gabriella guided a team of architects and licensed contractors to renovate this medieval village and now you get to see the completion of her vision. With epic views of Casole d’Elsa and Volterra in the distance, this is the perfect entryway into the Tuscan countryside.
The actual Borgo was a 16th century rural residence. Its original name, Borgo di Tignano, has Roman origins. It is the probable birth-place, in the 4th century, of Saint Attinia, a venerated saint from the Volterra area. Amongst its illustrious guests in the 1800’s, during the time the Borgo was a summer retreat from the ‘Scolopi‘ fathers, was Pope Pius the ninth. This Borgo is overall a place to enjoy with your heart, surrounded by a soft landscape and a peculiar light which often brings back forgotten emotions.
In the local tradition, one says that the Berignone Forest, which faces the Borgo, is what inspired Dante Alighieri to write about the “Selva Oscura”–the location in which his Divine Comedy story starts.
The gardens of the Borgo, with lavendar-lined paths combine with aromatic herbs, juniper hedges, myrtle and evergreens to reproduce a Mediterranean environment. The characteristic ‘Osteria’, which used to be the old olive press, is the ideal place for a romantic candlelight dinner overlooking the amazing countryside, or a light lunch on the panoramic terrace.
A beautiful, large swimming pool and lounge area welcome you to get the most out of the sun. There is a reading room that also has a wireless internet point. There is a golf course within 30 minutes drive from the Borgo.
Accommodation is in one bedroom apartments with private baths and kitchens. All the apartments are independent, personalized and fully furnished, with ample garden and terrace areas for leisure.