I was in a much needed respite from my stress-filled life in Shanghai. I knew I needed the beach and relaxation but gone are the days of just lazing away with no purpose. No, I knew I needed more...a perfect combination of island life and yoga.
I did a search for Langkawi and yoga and I came across a man named Dr. Baskaran Koshti. He and a partner do yoga retreats on Langkawi. Their next yoga retreat didn't coincide with the dates that I was going to be there but I decided to write him anyway and ask if he teaches yoga at a studio that I can possibly go to. He wrote back in a very timely manner and said that we can do private yoga sessions anywhere from the beach to waterfalls. He also mentioned that he can arrange my accommodations. And here's the kicker...he owned a spa called ISHAN Spa! What an answer to my prayers!
I had no expectations but what I experienced over the following week in Langkawi was magical and loving....
Day 1: After picking me up at White Lodge, Bas drove me around, pass his spa and into Kuah town, where we bought healthy snacks for my room. We went back to Ishan Spa and he did a reiki session for me. The room overlooked the Andaman Sea and although the winds where blowing like a typhoon, it was really peaceful.
Day 2: Torrential downpour in the morning so Bas and I did yoga in my room. It was great, relaxing and yet challenging. That evening, he met me at Ishan Spa after my 3 hour spa treatment and we had another yoga session (as it was still raining outside).
Day 3: No rain! We met with a doctor visiting from the Middle East and had our yoga session on the beach. What an amazing feeling to be outside! It was a bit tricky staying balanced in downward dog with the sand shifting below the mat, though. Feeling the sun on my face and laying in savasana with the waves crashing as my music was absolutely refreshing to my soul.
Bas introduced me to his beautiful family, Sathia, Geshini and Ishan later in the day and they toured me around the island after stopping at one of their staff's home to celebrate Hari Raya. We went to the Langkawi Cable Car to go to the highest point of the island and I imagined that I could see Thailand but it wasn't a clear day. It was still fun, though. After driving the northern end of the island and some shopping in Kuah town, we stopped at another friend's home for Hari Raya dinner. Can it be anymore exciting than this? I felt like I was part of a family and not just a tourist anymore.
Day 4: Trekking up to Telaga Tujuh (Seven Well) waterfalls, I was thinking, how blessed and lucky I am to have a yoga teacher who just picks me up and takes me on a yoga adventure! I thought the beach was amazing but hearing the water rushing in the background of our sun salutations was phenomenal! It was an intense session with the sun on our faces but I knew my reward was dip in the waterfall pools after. What a time! There was a natural slide which I did 5 times! There was no rushing to get anywhere but to just BE in the MOMENT. What a high!
Day 5: 10 rounds of sun salutations on the Pantai Kok beachfront.... challenging! However, more fun with Bas' daughter who kept up for half and then started seashell hunting. We went on a jungle trek after. Beautiful day which ended with sunset swimming on Pantai Tengah beach and a yummy vegetarian meal at Sun Village with the Koshti family.
Day 6: Is it really my last day here on Langkawi? Bas took me to Sunset Valley, where he usually holds his yoga retreats. It was a different feel of the island as we were in the middle of rice fields with mountains in the distance. Our first rounds of sun salutations by the swimming pool came to an end when the rain started falling. We transferred onto the balcony deck of the typical Malaysian home that was absolutely beautiful. Trying to keep my peace of mind, it was a little crazy with the other yoga student who constantly answered her phone during the session. Bas was cool about it which speaks for his patience as a teacher and his compassion for where people are in their lives. We did a few rounds of pranayama which to this day have proven really good for my meditations.
That evening, Bas and his family met me at the spa, again after a 3 hour treatment and saw me off at the airport. I was on a high. I didn't expect to have the incredible experiences I had over the week. Bas was not just a yoga teacher but a very kind, compassionate, knowledgeable soul. He was a proud to show me around his beautiful island and share his life and family with me. I was going to miss my new friend and his family immensely and I still do. I do know in my heart, though that I've gained friends for life.
If ever you're looking for more than just lazy days on the beaches of Langkawi...be daring...do some yoga with Bas! You never know what you're going to see and do but be certain, it will probably be one of the most unforgettable experiences you'll have in a lifetime! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Bas, Sathia, Geshini and Ishan for a BLISSFUL experience!
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