Well Suan Sati Family, I’ve been looking at this blog feature for a few months now and decided to give it a go finally. I want to share how things are going here, and where we’re headed in the future.
We have officially been open since January, and we have experienced some big ups and downs. Overall, we have emerged from the fires of starting a new venture unscathed, and are doing quite well. In January when we opened, I had no idea of what to expect, or how to manage a project like this. I was making nearly everything up as I went along. We adjusted our schedule many times, how we served meals, who cooked those meals, the volunteer program, where Lisa and I slept (everywhere at least once!), and there has been a constantly changing cast of characters. Things have gradually settled down, and the land is looking better every day. The rains have come early and the land is greening up again after a relatively mild hot season. We’ve recently finished construction of a new volunteer accommodation for visiting teachers, a roof over our dining area, and some roofing over a few small sections of the showers. The garden is looking much improved thanks to our permaculture loving friends Ian and Sasha along with many others who have come to lend a hand. Thanks to help from my Thai big sister Pee Ohn, our systems are running quite smoothly now including the kitchen, housekeeping, and overall property management.
Next month, we’re excited to play host to a yoga Teacher Training Course led by Dali Dhamma of Buddho Yoga, a friend and fellow practitioner of Therevadan Buddhism. October will see us hosting another TTC by Buddho Yoga which we decided to run after seeing the overwhelming interest that the first one drew. We’re completely booked out, congratulations Dali!
While we are enjoying operating like a yoga guesthouse, we would like to transition to hosting our own retreats this upcoming high season. Our popularity is building at a sufficient rate that I feel confident that we could be successful. The reason we didn’t start like this is to be able to capture as many potential guests as possible. In other words, someone who could only come on a Tuesday for 3 nights, as opposed to saying everyone comes on a Sunday and leaves on a Friday. I could foresee still using this model at times, but I also find it rewarding to go through a retreat together as a group from start to finish. This enable us to build relationships over the course of a retreat, the students can become gently familiarized with our style of teaching, and we can watch students grow during the course of the retreat. I could see how it could get old repeating the same instructions over and over, but we do that several times a week at this point anyways. I think that the students could get more out of the teaching team with a scheduled plan to deliver teachings sequentially and tailored to each group. Look out for Suan Sati 6 day retreats starting this November!
The balance for Suan Sati will likely be to host private events for 4 months per year, run Suan Sati branded retreats 4-5 months per year, and to operate like a guesthouse the remaining months. We will stay open and flexible to whatever the market will bear, and I’m personally excited to watch the growth over the rest of 2017.
Thanks for reading our inaugural state of the union address, and stay tuned for what’s next here in the Garden of Mindfulness 🙂