We woke up to the sounds of birds chirping. Or let me rephrase that. I actually woke up to the sound of my roommate Sue’s alarm, and only heard the birds chirping after she managed to turn off the honking sound. It was 5:45 a.m. I’m pretty sure we resembled zombies trying to glide into yoga pants as we battled the urge to go back to bed. Thankfully, we managed to make it to our mats for our first sunrise yoga session.
We arrived just as Satva Samui’s magical sky changed colors. As I watched the dark clouds slowly disappearing, being replaced by the colors of daybreak, my heart filled with gratitude. I couldn’t help but think that was how I wanted to wake up every day. I snap a few photos, unfold my yoga mat, sit still, and fill my lungs with air, taking in my first mindful breaths of the day.Dimitri, our yoga instructor was a bliss to practice with. He played a hang drum at the end of our session. As we settled into savasana, we were lulled away by the harmonic soft and warm sounds produced by the instrument. It was so unpredictable yet so calming to the senses, that it washed away whatever thoughts were floating in my head.
HANG DRUM TUNES BY DIMITRI
We spent the rest of the morning on the beach. After a quick dip in the sea, we decided to stroll Lamai street, which was lined with small shops and cafes. We enjoyed a laidback and chaos-free morning, as it wasn’t till 10:30 a.m. when the shops opened. After our stroll, we headed back to the resort just in time for lunch and to prepare for our first excursion on the island.
In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to feed and hang out with elephants. But although I was happy getting up close and personal with these gentle giants, the visit was bittersweet for me. I’m not a fan of seeing animals tied up in one spot. Seeing one of them rocking and swaying back and forth repetitively broke my heart because I believe animals, just like all living beings, should be free. However, what consoled me was no one was riding them on that day.
NA MUANG WATERFALL AND DURIAN CHIPS
After feeding the elephants, we walked to the cascading waterfall of Na Muang, which is only one of several waterfalls in Koh Samui. It had been raining so its natural pool was muddy. Those who had the courage jumped into the cold waters, while the rest of us decided to stroll around the market to shop for souvenirs and to sample local delicacies like durian chips. When you think of durian fruit, perhaps the first thing that will come to mind is its potent stench. But surprisingly, the chips tasted great and we barely noticed the smell.
Our next and final stop for the day was at a coconut farm. When I think of islands in Thailand, one of the first images that pop into my head is of me sipping coconut water while beach bumming. Then I think of island hopping, snorkeling, swimming, and other water activities. After all, the country is home to so many pristine beaches that locals and tourists can choose from. Visiting a coconut farm in Thailand has never crossed my mind so it was a pleasant surprise and quite interesting to say the least.Coconut plays an important role in Asian economy, and is mostly grown in tropical countries. I love all things coconut because of its many versatile and health benefits, ranging from food to cosmetics, so our farm visit was a good opportunity for me to understand coconut farming and buy organic bi-products from the source.
As we sipped our fresh coconut water and tasted different coconut flesh, we were taken through the various stages a coconut goes through. We witnessed some of the tedious work behind harvest. We also learned that monkeys are trained and used to climb trees and pick coconuts. That explained why there was a monkey in this family farm.
Later that evening we had our usual sunset yoga followed by a one hour mantra meditation session accompanied by a Gong. This was a good opportunity for me to explore Gong meditation something that I have only practiced once in the past. It was an adventure to the senses, the sound waves emitted by the gong relaxes the mind gently leading one to a meditative state.
“The gong is very simple. It is an inter-vibratory system. It is the sound of Creativity itself. The gong is nothing more, nothing less. One who plays the gong plays the universe. The gong is not an ordinary thing to play. Out of it came all music, all sounds, and all words. The sound of the gong is the nucleus of the Word.”
Just when I thought we were done for the evening, Satva Samui staff took over the stage and performed a fluent dance in colourful costumes that made them all look like beautiful fire flies. The performance was very cheerful and entertaining. I enjoyed watching as I sipped my complementary papaya smoothie…… secretly wishing it was a glass of pinot. It had been an interesting day but as I smeared my newly-bought organic coconut oil on my body later that evening, I couldn’t help but think of that monkey that picked the coconut that was used to make the oil. Then the Sanskrit mantra “Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu”, which means, “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to the happiness and to that freedom for all”, came to my mind. Sadly, I definitely did not contribute to the monkey’s freedom.
Lora By Lora