27.1.18

Haad Rin, Koh Phangan

Monthlong private retreats


Exercise list (pdf)


Views of Haad Rin & the cape


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26.1.18

YOGA|SRITANTRA

Yogasritantra is a common foundational life-technology presented best in a natural, aesthetic and poetic environment where dignity and elegance are easily weighed. The activity of learning should be open and small, relaxed and inconspicuous, calm and gracious to the varied pursuits going on at the site. Yoga-pedagogy is not romantic, but a highly precise and specified craft akin to plumbing and heart surgery. We pity the droves of certified teachers lured to the pyramidal Tupperware balls, completely unattuned to the gem-like principles alive in their freshly minted clarity.

21.10.16

The yoga of the Southeast Asian region

We call upon our local-born ascetic-arts heritage to feed and even pander to the tantalising image of Southeast Asia as a soothing restoration at the end of the world. We additionally advance the stimulating theory that the elements of « yoga », as imagined today, abide in abundance in the nativised vales where Khmer refinements historically poured, in the royal court customs of Ayutthaya and Old Siam. We furthermore declare this classical vernacular the world's first truly female yoga, if only for the fact that it comes from the region where yogic poise and the feminine principle are socially diffused more than anywhere else.

Our regional tradition is internally exotic. It is the manifestation of a deeply seeded legacy that snuggles up-close to its jungle backdrop and spawns animistic views of life where body, mind and soul gain lusher, more succulent and integrated dialogue.

Not to be evasive, you can think of this approach as a kind of Hatha Yoga mixed with Raja Yoga. It comprises a handful of rediscovered principles and the pedagogic methods that emerge thereof. These natural, precise and elegant procedures are markedly distinct from the replicated formulas that colonise contemporary corporate regimes. In fact, our research findings form a critical indictment of the whole industrial masquerade.

20.10.16

Guru Chod (1900-1988)

Guru Chod (ชด) was modern Thailand's pioneer yoga-tantric authority. His family name, Hasbamrer (หัศบำเรอ), derives from Sanskrit harṣavarman and signifies Royal Khmer ancestry. He was born in the fifth Rattanakosin reign of King Chulalongkorn near the empire's southerly Andaman Sea coast. In youth he attended Penang Free School and continued his studies in Bombay, India.

Upon graduation from Trinity College, Cambridge, he remained in England and worked as a reporter. He furthered that profession in British India. By 1937 Chod was back in Britain, and from there covered stories on the continent too. A few years later due to imminent war and serious personal health concerns, he withdrew to India and gained ascetic refuge with Swami Sivananda on the banks of the Ganges near Rishikesh. It took him two years to cure his disorders and he stayed three more to master yoga's higher forms.

After the war Chod moved to Bangkok and established himself as a national news editor. He sometimes ran two papers at once while writing internationally for Reuters news agency. He turned his home into a morning yoga centre and drove to the newsroom after lunch.

At the strong and healthy age of seventy-five years Chod retired from journalism altogether and founded his distinguished yoga ashram. Public demand was often unrelenting but he faced the challenges without complaint. "It's a good occupation for an old man," he said: "I like to be useful." Students and patrons came from all walks of life, yet most were of the kingdom's higher social rungs. High-ranking members of the Buddhist clergy similarly sought the guru's counsel. He looked to all with equal vision. He was furthermore esteemed as the yogi-raja-guru who initiated members of the Thai royal family. Chod never made such statements himself but those around him discreetly did. It was common knowledge at the time.

Even well into his eighty-eighth year the guru radiated charm and grace. He was typically surrounded by sparkling college girls, stunning air hostesses and breathtaking models, wives of industrialists, bankers and writers, opera singers and foreign diplomats. But road-tattered Western yoginis came as well, aglow from extended travels East having heard along the way of a certain living saint. This is probably what kept him teaching so long. "But everybody has to die," Chod affirmed, and he certainly gave us all fair warning. True to prediction near his eighty-eighth birthday, he stretched out on the floor and walked right out of there.

Guru Chod's legacy represents by far the most elegant, refined and structurally intact ascetic-arts heritage in the world.