Connecting with Nature in Chiang Mai

Before I begin, I would firstly like to send my love and condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives on Monday due to a bombing of a Hindu shrine in Bangkok. Though there hasn’t been much information released about the event, Bangkok has experienced a significant amount of political unrest, which has claimed far too many lives. I hope that no more lives are lost in the name of politics or war…

Chiang Mai is located in the mountainous region of Northern Thailand. Due to the prevalence of Buddhism in Thailand, there are many meditation retreats available for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and many delicious organic vegetarian restaurants scattered across the city. Food 4 Thought is a favourites of mine. Chiang Mai is charming. The pace andante. The people beautiful. The Old City is filled with temples and surrounded by a moat built by the Lanna kings around 700 years ago.

The highlight for me – visiting the butterfly park and playing with elephants. Butterflies have always been a fascination of mine. Their individual markings are exquisite and their frame delicate, but for me they remind me of the impermanence of nature and of life. Butterflies have a lifespan ranging from 1 week to 1 year and though our lifespan is a lot longer than a butterfly’s, it is humbling to reminded that our existence, like theirs, is but a blink in the universe.

Elephants, on the other hand, have a lifespan more similar to us humans and are anything but delicate. They are, however, simply majestic. There are several elephant parks located 45 minutes North of Chiang Mai, some teach you how to become an elephant trainer and some are more like an interactive zoo. It was my first time being in such close proximity to an animal of this size and I was blown away. What intrigues me about animals is the way they interact with each other and with nature. They seem to have this unspoken respectful connection.

We however, see ourselves as separate entities. Our skin the barrier between ‘I’ and our surroundings. Perhaps that’s why we treat the planet and other members of our species in the way we do. Because a lot of us have lost our connection in favour of our ego we feel alone and isolated. So, how do we reconnect? Unfortunately there is no manual. For some, it will be gardening or being out in nature. For me it is the practice of Yoga. It doesn’t matter so much HOW you connect, more that you find a way to do so. For the sake of our planet and for ourselves.

My next and final stop is Bali. Hopefully Mt Raung behaves itself so I can enjoy a few days in paradise! Follow me via the Nourish Yoga Blog to see where I’ve been and how my adventure around South-East Asia as the ZenFlow ambassador ends. A reminder that classes start on Monday the 24th of August in Richmond at 6:30pm on top of Crossfit. Drop-ins welcome. For more information click here.

See you in Bali!