What happens when you do Pilates in Angkor Wat?

After a day of touring, we enjoyed a sunset class together and then a group dinner at one of my favorite cafes, one that when I am in LA, I crave.

  • Author: lesley.logan
  • April 2, 2017
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Angkor-Wat-Pilates-Retreat-blog-post-Lesley-Logan-Pilates-thegem-blog-default - Online Pilates Classes

You plan your next trip back to do it all over again!

We arrived here on Sunday, March 5th, and our personal tuk-tuk driver Poly took us to our retreat space. I knew this space would be unique and calm. I was not expecting it to be this artistic oasis with plenty of meditation spots, hammocks, mango trees with branches that provided a canopy from the Cambodian sun and bungalows with handmade mosaic floors. The owners have thought of every detail. Sweet touches of Buddhas, vases, flowers everywhere. The community table we ate all our homemade vegetarian meals, that are farm-to-table, is a complete mosaic table with adorable French dishes set inside.

After setting down our bags, we explored the Shalas where I would be leading Pilates class. The best way I can describe our room is a treehouse. Completely outdoors above the mango trees with a covered roof to protect us from the sun and in the rainy season the rain.

As our group arrived (we had 11 total) they got settled in their rooms, and we all enjoyed a delicious dinner of Cambodian style curry and rice. Getting to bed early to wake up for our first day of the retreat. We had Pilates class bright and early as the sun rose. Our first day filled with Pilates classes, a workshop to understand the Pilates mat better for a home practice, the Pilates teachers who joined us loved the deep dive. The retreaters Pilates experience ranged from less than a year to several years and a couple of teachers. Diving deep into Joseph Pilates “Return to Life” mat allowed everyone to develop a personal Pilates practice all their own. After a lovely lunch and lounging, we went out to a Pagoda (Buddhist temple) and met a young monk who blessed us. We did an outdoor standing mat class and then hopped on a boat to enjoy the sunset over the West Baray (a reservoir).

Not sure if it was the heat or the beauty but the Baray called us, and we had to jump in. Swimming in the West Baray was incredibly refreshing and while on a retreat so liberating. Here we are in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a place with incredible history and we are floating along as the sun sets on our first day.

Not sure how our second day could top the first but it did! After Pilates class, we got lots hammock time in and then off to the Temples. Our guide Pich is unlike any other. She grew up in Siem Reap and spends her days touring every temple. When she is not, she is giving food to the monks in her village and taking care of her elders, even ones that are not family. I say this because the people here in Siem Reap are the nicest people you will meet. They give more than they have.

Pich started us off at Prasat Kavan, a Temple built in the 10th century. I had not seen this Temple last year. In fact, there are so many Temples here in Angkor that I still have many, many more to see (hence why I am already planning the next trip). After Prasat went to Ta Prohm, also known as the Jungle Temple. This one is so Tomb Raider. Our guide took us in a back way so that we could see some of the buddhas they thought were missing. Eventually found under some stones that had fallen without their heads. Something you’ll learn about this place is that there are few Buddhas with their heads. Most stolen or destroyed.

After our tour through this place made for the covers of National Geographics, we took a long drive off the beaten path to visit Bantey Srey, the pink temple.

I try not to make trips like all tourists. Our retreats are meant to take you away from the routine and to also learn more than what you could from a few articles and some you-tube videos. So, Pich, our all-knowing guide took us off the main route, and we stopped at our driver’s village to see how they make sugar. It’s not at all how you expect it, and you’ll just have to join me next time to see how good sugar can be.

Then back on the bus to continue our adventure to the pink Temple. I cannot tell you how amazing this space is. Seriously, you will just have to see it for yourself.

Day 3 was spent diving deep into the last half of Joe’s Pilates exercises and then enjoying all that Siem Reap has to offer. There are many restaurants, shops, and museums to see. Our 4th day woke up early and went out to watch the sunrise above the center tower of Angkor Wat. This time of year is perfect for it to line up over the top tower. Pich, our guide, knew how to take the best pictures and then took us off to see Bayon and Praer Kahn before we went back to Angkor to see the inside. There are thousands of tourists at the Temples each day, and my guide knows when to go to what Temples so we can enjoy them all to ourselves.

My favorite Temple is Praer Khan. A very extraordinary woman lives there and takes care of the Temple. She was not there this trip so of course, I just have to come back. She is worth the trek through the jungle to meet her and receive a blessing.

After a day of touring, we enjoyed a sunset class together and then a group dinner at one of my favorite cafes, one that when I am in LA, I crave.

Our final day included a long mat class and a great farewell breakfast. As I write this, I am sad this retreat has come to an end. But, it’s not THE END. I am deep into planning my next retreats. To be first to know about the next Angkor trip message me here. Space is limited, so it is first to come first serve.

You also do not have to wait! This summer I will be in Ojai, CA. Instead of saying “I wish,” or “Someday,” just say “YES!” Saying yes means time for you away from the norm, from the walk of the same and it also means connecting with yourself and connecting to the world. It’s an exotic place out here. See you soon!

xx~LL

By lesley.logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with OPC Teachers.
Enjoying Lesley's teaching style? Willing to travel? Explore the world while maintaining your practice by joining Lesley on a Pilates retreat.

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pop up summer tour | online pilates classes

SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Yes, we are focusing on Horseback in this week's workout. But, we are also giving a celebration to all of us who might be back in our Pilates saddle again. Or, maybe you've been in the Saddle but stuck in the mud. This week's workout it's designed to be a positive play time with an exercise many of us avoid and one that we may never get. But, hey, it's always fun to be out where a friend is a friend - get it? If you know the song you do!

Mat: Theraband and light weights
Reformer: no props needed

See ya in class,
xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Theraband, light weights and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    99 PROBLEMS BUT BRIDGE AIN'T ONE

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Shoulder Bridge has multiple phases. It's a phenomenal replacement exercise and also can be a huge challenge. You can balance your asymmetries while also revealing them. It's an exercise that can warm you up and can be part of an advanced series. This week we'll focus on exercises that benefit from Shoulder Bridge and what Shoulder Bridge is telling us about our practice that day.

    Mat: magic circle for the warm up. If you don't have a circle a ball and a theraband.
    Reformer: no prop needed but can use a theraband or circle for short box

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, magic circle, a ball, a theraband and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a theraband or circle for short box and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    AIN'T NO PARTY LIKE A 100 PARTY

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    So many people don't love the 100. But the 100 is an incredible exercise that when you know all its capabilities can be something you might look forward to...maybe even like a little bit. Or a lot!

    We often wonder why the 100 is the first exercise. I mean, it's got a lot going on for a warm up. To me it's a survey, a feedback, a mirror to how our body is doing that day. And, how cool it is to know how your body is feeling as you go into your practice. This way you can explore what your body needs in other exercises.

    Let's explore what the 100 is telling us and how to make it our own each day!

    No props needed.

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

      STAND BY ME

      Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

      The key to longevity is being able to get down to the ground and up again with as little assistance as possible. In this weeks class we are going to focus on how to stand in your feet no matter where they are in space.

      On the Mat we will have a playful ending that Joseph Pilates would do!

      The Reformer we’ll end challenging ourselves standing on our carriage. (Options to do the exercises off the Reformer too!)

      No props needed.

      See ya in class,

      xx~LL 💋

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

      FRENEMIES

      Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

      Hello, it's OPC Teacher Christine here! I used to get commended for my form and flexibility in any type of movement class I went to, even if it was my very first class. But what I struggled with was always hitting a plateau where I couldn't make progress or improvement. For me, that changed when I discovered the strength and control I found in practicing Pilates.

      Getting on the apparatuses puts your body in a position where you find strength, stretch, and control through your center. I was unable to fold my body like origami anymore. One of the mat exercises - double leg stretch - is great for finding a strong center regardless of what the arms and legs are doing.

      For this month, we'll explore using the concept of finding an inner lift of the belly away from the thighs to find a strength in our center, the two-way stretch of the limbs, while controlling the movement of the arms and legs whether they move away from center, or come back to center.

      Mat class: Magic Circle and squishy ball

      See you in class,

      Christine

      HANG 10

      ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

      Grip strength as well as upper body strength plays an important role in so many different exercises throughout the mat and all apparatus. Our grip can influence the connection from our wrists - to our arms - to our back. And building strength in our chest and upper back can help us connect more to our center in every exercise.

      All month long we’ll explore the feeling, the strength, and the position of our hands and upper body to see how our exercises change with a little extra focus. We’ll also play with ways to gain more strength and awareness in our chest and upper back to create even more connections to the exercises.

      Props:
      Chair - short pole* and a foam roller for balance
      *A thicker pole or roll down bar size might feel nice, but no worries you’ll find your connections no matter what you have on hand!
      Mat: a pole
      Reformer: No props needed
      Cadillac: No props needed

      See ya in class,
      xx-LL 💋

      I LOVE ROCK & ROLL UP

      Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

      Finding some love for Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker isn't easy! But, these two exercises unlock the potential for so many other exercises. And what we don't like we often need. So, let's dive into what we need to rock our Roll Ups and Open leg Rockers and see how that changes the rest of our practice in the meantime.

      Mat: Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband
      Reformer: have your shortbox pole near by

      xx~LL

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, short box and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.