Updated: Jun 11
Well where do we start with our very first blog? well lets begin with where we came from
Before True Nature, Ning and I ran 2 yoga studios in the Old town of Chiang Mai. We opened our first Studio Freedom Yoga in 2015, this was our first little venture into the yoga world. Freedom Yoga doubles as our yoga studio and our home. We had a small room in the back that became our bedroom, a hang out/check in area down stairs that doubled up as our loungeroom, and the yoga studio space upstairs. It was quite a unique setup, we basically lived in our little yoga studio for 6 years, and we made it work.
We had no experience running a yoga studio before but we managed to learn and grow into quite a popular yoga studio in Chiang Mai with lots of regular friends visiting each year to practice with us. Not many people know this but I was fresh out of my 200 hour TTC when we opened Freedom yoga and had never actually taught a yoga class before, makes me giggle a bit now :P Back then I was so young, ambitious and full of potential
The second Studio we opened in Chiang Mai was Hidden House Yoga, this studio came about 3 years after Freedom. We opened our second studio because we had a shaky relationship with our landlord at Freedom Yoga, they were constantly trying to swindle us in every way possible and would never give us a lease longer than 1 year, it was quite unpleasant. Because of this we never felt very secure with our situation there there, with a second studio in town we felt a bit more settled in the sense that our lively hood would not be pulled out from under us at any moment.
I came up with the name Hidden House yoga because the house was a beautiful Lanna style house over 80 years old, it was an absolute gem, and it really was kind of hidden down one of those small alleyways in the old town of Chiang Mai, so the name was a good fit. I was also tired of every yoga studio adopting a Sanskrit term for their name so I wanted to do something completely different. Hidden House Yoga had some pop to it!
Hidden house also had spacious open area below the house, this eventually became Ning's Kitchen. We set up a kitchen/dinning space and Ning would host her vegetarian/vegan cooking classes here, they were very popular with all the vegan and vegetarian travelers that visit Chiang Mai
After a few years of running the 2 studios and cooking school I felt like a wanted to move on, I felt I had hit my ceiling in Chiang Mai and there wasn’t much I was interested in doing any more, I was no longer interested in teaching yoga either, probably my own fault for teaching so much that I lost the passion for it. I was finding the city to be boring and stale and I really just needed a change. So I left Chiang Mai and Ning ended up running everything herself for around 1 year, she held it down like Boss!
The next phase of this story is what happened during covid.
This was a very eye-opening period for us, we really learnt a lot and made some big decisions about how we want to live in the future.
As we all know when the pandemic started, like in many other countries businesses in Thailand were forced to close and there were lockdowns enforced. The country came to a complete standstill. I was actually attending a silent meditation retreat in Dipabhāvan Meditation Center in Koh Samui when the lockdowns begun. It was kind of unbelievable, we finished our retreat only to find out how the world had fallen into chaos. On hearing the news most of the participants went into a panic, furiously trying to book the earliest flight back home. I had a different method of dealing with the madness, I checked in for the next silent retreat for another 10 days thinking that by then all this nonsense would have blown over. Unfortunatly i was wrong about that
At some point when the lockdowns eased, we started looking for the plot of land that would become our future Homestay and Yoga/Meditation Retreat Center. We looked around for a while until Ning found an 8 Rai banana plantation for sale in Mae Taeng, a rural Farming area north of Chiang Mai. It was hard to get a feel for the landscape because it was covered in huge almighty banana trees from border to border, but we liked the mountain views and the rural feel of the area so we went for it. We spent all of our savings on this 8 rai banana plantation (lol) to start building our ideal place for transitioning back to a simple, sustainable and balanced way of living.
I would like to say the rest is History, but it’s not it’s just the beginning.
Thanks for reading,
read our next blog post on "Why a 5 star yoga retreat might not be that good for you"