What better way to escape a madding digital world for a couple of hours than for kids, tweenies, teenagers and adults to visit Samui Elephant Haven, and take part in Free Yoga Community Samui‘s imaginative yoga classes. Every month, kids will become one of Haven’s Warriors as they practice yoga to the sound of trumpeting and splashing as the resident elephants wander around the park. Shanon, the kids’ favourite yoga instructor will encourage them to stretch like a dog, stand tall and proud like a tree and flutter like a butterfly.
Free Yoga Community Samui is an extraordinary community of world-class yoga teachers that work in tandem with EcoThailand. They promote education by involvement with local schools, local people, local businesses and visitors to the area whilst interacting with key governmental departments, NGO organisations and other volunteer groups. The community offers donation-led yoga classes which makes them accessible to everyone. They have several classes in different locations across the island each week. Their aim is to bring communities and cultures together; yoga promotes unity and connection.
All donations received from Free Yoga Community Samui are gifted back into the community and assist people facing financial hardships from medical conditions, babies and young families, to food and household essentials for those that have lost their income during the pandemic. All funds raised from the regular yoga classes at Samui Elephant Haven will help feed and look after the resident elephants. Samui Homemade Foods is providing delicious snacks for Haven‘s hungry Warriors after their class.
Adults and their little people have recently experienced so many pressures from the pandemic. Stay-at-home parents are insisting on silence as they conduct Zoom meetings around the world, curfews, lockdown, employment uncertainties, and not being able to see their friends. This has been an unprecedented experience and has had a profound global effect on innate joy. Through yoga, children can learn to navigate life’s challenges and find non-competitive inner fulfilment through physical exercise. These life skills are essential for self-esteem, compassion and body awareness.
There are enormous benefits from practising ‘Haven’s Warriors’ yoga. Not only does the practice enhance the child’s strength and co-ordination, but allows them to play, improve flexibility and strength, connect more deeply and develop a relationship with nature, and the animals that surround them. Little people possess magical carefree happiness that should make them glow from the inside-out.
Yoga asanas were developed thousands of years ago, and the yogi’s, who lived within nature, used the natural world for inspiration; this link makes it easy and fun for children to understand. Many of the ‘poses’ are named with animals in mind including frog, cobra, butterfly, monkey, rabbit and lion. Imagine if there was an elephant pose; it would represent empathy, compassion and strength. Each child who attends the Community Yoga classes will have the opportunity to connect with the herd on a deep level and feed them rice balls and bananas.
Samui Elephant Haven is also a ‘centre‘ for art and expression. Children love to explore, chat, paint and learn. It’s through these experiences that they understand connection, peace and acceptance. There will be a little art-activity at the end of their yoga session, where Moran will unleash their creativity using a variety of mediums.