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Practicing Awareness on a Scooter in Thailand

“You can’t hear much at 40 kilometers an hour.” I think to myself.

Actually I can hear a lot but of mainly one thing, the wind roaring around my exposed head. Upon second thought I can actually hear two things; the whine of the small engine occasionally cuts through the roar of the wind. I am guessing the speed because my speedometer currently reads zero. I know this is obviously wildly inaccurate given the beauty that blurs around me. Besides guessing my speed I am also guessing the speed limit. They have tended to many things here on this remote island off Sriracha Thailand however speed limit signs are not one of them.

“Ah, this is yoga” I declare in my head” Yes, one could argue as soon as that voice started up, I had stopped practicing yoga however what do they call it…poetic license? Anyway, “I am connected, to this moving moment” I thought. I had to be. The winding road, two side walks put together actually, had a vast array of various inclines and declines which are attached to S turns that seemed to cling to the edge of this volcanic island. To my left are some large grey stones with deep etchings. To my right, a dreamy emerald green sea. “This is yoga” again rang out and I begin to feel, really feel the bike, the wind, the road, the sun, and the smiles of the Thai children I pass.

As I train teachers I challenge them to practice yoga as they drive home. I always get the same responses back. Laughter and then remarks of the danger involved. They couldn’t be more wrong. Yoga is awareness and connection. On most streets I would say the lack of awareness and connection is the problem. Your yoga practice is most important when the safety and health of yourself and others are involved.

I sit up straighter and throttle up a little into a turn. In the same moment a bus comes into view directly ahead of me. I think about it being a small bus and how all things down here on Koh Si Chang seem a little smaller, but still my scooter is no match. In a millisecond I realize my mistake and cut my scooter sharply to the right, avoiding the bumper of the bus by (I like to think) at least a few inches. Straightening out I start to laugh; Lesson for the day: Awareness of surroundings can only serve you after you are aware of which side of the street people drive on in the country you are in!

Safe Travels~ Kurt Johnsen



Kurt Johnsen started on his path in 1981 when he first began practicing yoga. He continued to grow his knowledge and skill in several physical and mental disciplines, including Tai Chi Chuan and the Lightning Fire Mountain system of Tibetan Kung Fu with friend and mentor, Roger Stainbrook. Learning how these systems could help him grow, engage, and focus his energy has served him well as he has moved through life and all the many challenges and opportunities it can present.

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