Samui Wining & Dining
ABSOLUTELY !
Absolute Sanctuary offers a new yoga class that not only tones and strengthens, but keeps you fit too.


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Lithe and cat-like, she paces in front of the group, keeping a watchful eye on their postures and movements as she gives instruction over a microphone headset. She smiles and manages to look elegant, even while performing near-impossible poses in the bright studio, with its inspiring jungle view.

       This is Jana Brauer, full-time yoga instructor at Absolute Sanctuary, a Moroccan-inspired detox and yoga resort in Choeng Mon, part of the Absolute Yoga group. Hailing from Berlin, Germany, Jana originally encountered Absolute Yoga when she came to Thailand to do a yoga instructor course with the group. Her love of yoga came about after it was the only successful cure to her long term back pain. She started her training with Absolute Yoga’s Hot Teacher Training Program in 2007, and continued her training under various highly regarded teachers. She started working for the group, moving to Absolute Sanctuary when it opened in April 2009.

        Jana’s approach to teaching is a perfect combination of gentle and relaxed, yet disciplined when required. She encourages and motivates her students to try just that bit harder to achieve their goals – and she’s testament that regular yoga produces results with a toned, healthy body.

Jana is aware that at a retreat, she’ll have students of various levels in her class, and she manages to cater to each one’s needs, not allowing beginner students to hinder the progress of those more advanced, yet allowing each to progress at their own pace.

        Absolute Sanctuary forms part of the Absolute Yoga family – the largest yoga group in Thailand. The group also boasts seven studios in Bangkok, and are expanding globally, with one in Amsterdam, and one on the cards shortly for South Africa. As a pioneer on the Bangkok yoga scene, Absolute Yoga recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. The studios are known for their variety of yoga classes and international team of well-trained instructors.

        So what is this new style of yoga offered by Absolute Yoga? Well, Absolute FIT is fun yet challenging, and focuses on the remarkable fitness aspect of yoga to help tone the body. They’ve taken the traditional yoga asanas (that’s poses for those not in the know) and organised them according to modern principles of anatomy. It’s a yoga series that raises your heart rate giving you a cardio workout similar to circuit training at the gym, but still focuses on the basic fundamentals of yoga such as core strengthening, back strengthening, hip openers, balance and upper arm strength.

         With Absolute FIT, this leading yoga studio hopes that more people will be inspired to practice yoga and reap its benefits. As Benjaporn Karoonkornsakul, the founder of Absolute Yoga, explains, “People still have the misconception that yoga is boring or slow and unable to tone the body or help one lose weight. With Absolute FIT we aim to erase this misconception.”

          It’s no wonder that Executive Director, Claire Bostock-Huang, selected Jana to lead the group’s new Absolute FIT class at the Samui studio. And Claire explains the anagram FIT: (F) fun classes, (I) invigorating experience and (T) toned body. Jana ensures that students get a total body workout and burn calories by boosting their heart rate and also raising their metabolic rate.

          “And you will break into a sweat”, promises Jana. In fact, she likes to see her students drenched in perspiration, assisting with the detoxifying process, and so the studio is kept warm (not that it’s hard in the tropics). For Absolute FIT yoga, postures are linked seamlessly and continuously (well, that’s the goal) to work up a sweat, tone the body and burn calories. These postures have been carefully selected to target various parts of the body, such as warrior lunges for the buttocks and thighs, plank pose for the arms, and boat pose for the abdominals. The exercises are repeated in sequence to ensure muscles are worked. “And there are no rest breaks”, says Jana with a grin, but she does encourage students to drink plenty of water during the class, to stay hydrated as a lot of water is lost in perspiration.

          Jana says that the Absolute FIT classes are suitable for all levels from beginner to advanced, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the benefits. She suggests that someone who’s never done yoga before first try their ‘Intro to Yoga’ class to get an understanding of the postures and poses, and during the Absolute FIT class, beginners should stay towards the back of the class where they can observe the more advanced students. With mirrors on three walls, everyone can see the instructor, and she also moves around and assists as needed.

          Yoga is perfect for people of all shapes, sizes and age, and Absolute Sanctuary can advise on the classes best suited to your strength and ability. The studio is open to those not staying at the retreat too, and in fact there’s a special offer to Samui residents and expats. New members who would like to experience the studio before committing to a membership can enjoy an introductory price of 1,200 baht for unlimited yoga for one week, allowing you to try as many of the classes on offer as you like.

          Absolute Sanctuary boasts three wood-floored, spacious and naturally-lit yoga studios, with most classes taking place in the Jungle Studio, which has a 50-mat capacity. As the name suggests, its windows look out to the jungle on one side, and mirrors on the other three walls reflect the foliage. Locker rooms with showers are available for students, and mats and towels are provided too. The Pool Studio offers a 25-mat capacity and overlooks the retreat’s stunning pool, while the Ocean Studio of the same size, offers stunning panoramic sea views. Blocks and straps are provided as needed, and all classes are led by internationally-trained teachers who are both inspiring and friendly.

          Aside from the Absolute FIT classes, Absolute Sanctuary offers a variety of up to 20 yoga classes per week, including Hot Yoga, Vinyasa, Yin, Detox, Restorative, Ashtanga, Hatha, Yoga Core and Hot Flow. Workshops and teacher-training courses are also offered and hosted by the world’s best yoga gurus.

          It’s worth popping in to Absolute Sanctuary, even if it’s just to try the delicious and healthy menu at the Love Kitchen. In fact, why not make a day of it and pamper yourself with a spa package too, or sign up for the introductory special offer. You never know, it may just be the turning point you need to make a serious change in your health or fitness routine.

          

 Rosanne Turner


 


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