Yoga Travel Destination: Agama – Thailand
Known for its friendly people, amazing food, and abundance of yoga centers, Thailand ranks high on our list for yoga travel destinations. The beautiful Thai island of Koh Phagnan hosts the flagship site of the international yoga school Agama Yoga. Basing its foundations on ancient lineages of Tantra Yoga, Agama created an authentic practice center in a tropical paradise, making it a popular destination for yoga travelers.
Koh Phagnan is a small island made famous for its legendary full moon parties. Once a month, on the full moon, Koh Phagnan erupts with an influx of party seekers. As the party-goers return back to the mainland, the island calms down to its natural, peaceful equilibrium.
Like everywhere in Thailand, the people are extremely friendly and conversational. Thailand is widely known as “The Land of Smiles.”
The food is tasty and affordable, usually costing around $2-$4 per meal. Being an island, the restaurants and food vendors of Koh Phagnan have access to incredibly fresh seafood. The crab fried rice was delicious! Vegetarian fare is somewhat available in restaurants and through limited street vendors. Not so friendly for the yogic diet, Thai street vendors love to BBQ and fry their meat. One option is to purchase your own veggies at the Thongsala market, and cook it yourself.
To reach Koh Phagnan there are a couple of options. The large, neighboring island of Koh Samui is reachable by plane from Bangkok for a cheap price. Travellers would then take a short ferry ride over to Koh Phagnan. Alternately, one can take a train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, a port town in the south of Thailand. Then you would take a 3 hour ferry ride directly to Koh Phagnan.
Our impression of the Agama yoga style is that the practice boasted an extremely authentic and devotional energy. The asana practice was intensive in its physicality as mantras were repeated throughout. The school kindly offers a free class to first timers, so if you’re on the island, give it a try. A description of Agama yoga from their website:
Agama is a unique international school offering its students the secret spiritual path of true Integral Yoga in a modern form. Based in the authentic, esoteric lineages of Indian and Tibetan Tantra Yoga, Agama provides an updated and upgraded self-development system whose theory includes comprehensive university-level teachings, combined with those of other sacred traditions from East and West (such as Taoism, Gnostic Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism).
Agama hosts many retreats and workshops throughout the year. Check their calendar and you will find that there are rotating classes of Tantra, meditation, Anusara yoga, detox programs, and yogic healing. My friend attended their detox program and said that it was difficult but “life changing.” If you really enjoy the Agama style and want to take it to the next level, the school offers yoga teacher training programs.
Accommodations are not available though Agama, however there is a partner resort (Ananda Wellness) which gives discounts for Agama students. Guesthouses and bungalows are incredibly cheap in Thailand. Usually, your room will be cheaper than your meals, which is cheap! Depending on the quality, you can find something as low as $8/night, depending on the season and the proximity to the full moon party. Be sure to negotiate and let the owner know that you are staying for multiple days. There is a whole art to negotiation in Thailand which is beyond the scope of this article, however we must mention your best tactic will be to keep smiling.
If you decide to take a yoga travel adventure to Thailand, be sure to come back to tell us about how much you enjoyed it. I could talk Thailand all day!