Introducing guest blogger, Amy Steele for http://www.karabemisyoga.com, welcome Amy!
Hidden in an industrial area of Chiang Mai’s old city, at the end of what appears to be a deserted alley, sits The Yoga Tree, a shaded oasis of a chilled-out yoga retreat.
In September, in the middle of a trip to Thailand that brought me over from South Korea and my mom from Alaska, we dropped into The Yoga Tree for a 90-minute yoga foundations class with Gernot Huber. These particular classes explore a common theme every week – with classes currently held Monday, Wednesday and Friday – each one building on the next.
The Wednesday session we attended was a hands-on workshop-style class, with a focus on engaging the muscles between the shoulder blades and aligning the head and neck to improve posture. It was a small class of five people, which allowed each of us plenty of personal attention from Gernot.
Gernot taught a very hands-on class, giving adjustments to us through downward-facing dogs, planks, lizard poses and inversions. In each pose, he would gently push our back muscles into correct alignment, followed by helping us align the head and neck with the spine.
My mom and I agree: One of the most memorable poses was the partner exercise in L-shaped handstand, or half handstand. My mom received an adjustment from Gernot and was able to access the pose carefully, yet confidently, knowing the support was there.
I talked to my mom about the experience after returning from our Thailand trip. “The overall impression is a lasting one,” she said. “Several times a day since the class, I am checking my back and pulling in the muscles to bring my neck and back into alignment. I appreciated [Gernot’s] hands-on approach and his gentle pointers.”
How to get there
The Yoga Tree is a bit difficult to find if you’re not familiar with Chiang Mai. Trust me; we went up and down the west side of the old city several times until we finally asked a local how to get there. Don’t be like us; find detailed directions, in English and Thai, at their website, here.
Address: 65/1 Arak Road, Prasing, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
The studio is well-equipped with mats and props, including bolsters and blankets, which were essential for my mom’s titanium knees. Water bottle refills are available at the smoothie bar outside.
A regular 90-minute drop-in class at The Yoga Tree is 250 THB, or about 7 USD. Passes are also available. View The Yoga Tree’s class schedule here.
Amy Steele has been teaching English in South Korea since 2013. On the side, she volunteers as a copyeditor and occasionally writes for a local expat magazine. She hopes 2016 will bring her the good fortune of continuing her yoga practice across Southeast Asia.