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ABOUT

Who We Are And How We Got Here

The Story

Suan Sati Front Gate Icon Dark Red Final New

Suan Sati was dreamed up by Will, the owner, in October 2015 while having lunch with Thai friends along the banks of the Ping River. Inspired but also tired from nearly 6 years of travel, Will longed for a place to unpack his bags and call home. He envisioned combining his passions of meditation, yoga, and conservation into a lifestyle project. With the support of his Thai friends, Suan Sati was birthed from idea to reality in June 2016 when he moved onto the site of the first location. With little money, few hard skills, and an open heart, Suan Sati began to welcome friends and volunteers to help with the co-creation of this sacred space. The idea was simple – a place in the countryside of Chiang Mai where people from all walks of life could come and experience life changing transformation at an affordable price.

Suan Sati About Philosophy

Philosophy

Suan Sati’s intention is to be a place to practice mindfulness through meditation, asana yoga, ecological integration, and community connection. Underlying this intention is the view that every moment is an opportunity to practice. This space supports the practice by reminding us return to this intention throughout the day in meditation sessions, yoga classes, taking quiet time to reflect, and observation and interaction with nature. The invitation to bring mindfulness into daily life is ever present in the Garden of Mindfulness.

Beginnings

The original location of Suan Sati is a fond memory for all involved. When work first began in 2016, the site was overgrown and neglected. With the help of dozens of short-term volunteers, work was undertaken to clear and clean the land in preparation for building. Conditions were simple, but the volunteers felt joyous as they poured their energy into a project that had meaning, and heart. Eventually, a few simple bamboo bungalows were built, along with shared bathrooms and a kitchen. After 6 months of hard work, Suan Sati proudly opened and began to receive guests from all over the world on New Year’s Day, 2017.

The Move

In early 2018, it became clear that Suan Sati was a success. In just 14 months of being operational, retreats were frequently fully booked with a waiting list. There was a lot of love in the current space, but it became obvious there was no more room to grow. Will and Lisa began exploring options to move into a larger, more permanent home. After looking all around Chiang Mai province, he fell in love with a simple patch of rice fields in the Mae Wang district south of town. It was quiet, beautiful, and the perfect blank canvas to create a masterpiece.

Building

The purchase of the new 5 acre plot was completed in late July 2018, exactly 2 years after Will and the volunteers first moved out to the first Suan Sati. Construction began in November on the new retreat center. There were many, many challenges during the building process, especially surrounding the sustainability features that were high priorities. Some features were very uncommon or unconventional in Thailand, like solar power or adobe mud brick buildings. Fortunately, everything came together just in time for the grand opening. Since October 1, 2019, Suan Sati has been welcoming guests into the new and improved space with the same old Suan Sati family feel. We invite you to come for a retreat and see for yourself what makes this place special.

About Will

Director and Co-Founder

Will initially moved to Thailand from America in 2010 to teach English as a second language. He eventually moved to Chiang Mai and it was here that he first experimented with yoga. Feeling no connection to asana as it was taught to him at a fitness gym, he stopped practicing yoga and opened to vipassana meditation as his primary spiritual practice.

After two years living in Thailand, Will packed up his bags and traveled through Asia for 12 months, finishing with over one month spent back in Thailand sitting three consecutive meditation retreats at Wat Kow Tahm and Wat Suan Mokkh. Over the next three years, he continued his global travels in constant search of something that was always just out of reach. He spent nearly a year in the Australian outback, three months working on an isolated island in Indonesia, brief jaunts through Africa, Europe, South America, and an extended trip to Central America.

It was in Guatemala where he again encountered yoga during a one month permaculture and yoga course. He felt firsthand the physical benefits to yoga, but it was the opportunity to dedicate each class to cultivating mindfulness that made the practice stick. This led him to dive deep into yoga, practicing up to six hours a day in the months leading up to a 200 hour yoga teacher training course in Goa, India in January 2016. This is where he and Lisa fell in love. After spending some time together in India, Will invited Lisa to join him in Thailand to create Suan Sati.

The 200 hour course was a great foundation, but Will’s early teaching style was most heavily influenced by his primary teacher Mittra Rawat. Will spent nearly two months together with Mittra in 2016 practicing Hatha yoga on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India. Will also lists Jason Crandell, Dali Dhamma, Gernot Huber, and Bear Tobin as his influences. His teaching style is deliberate and down-to-earth, with subtle, accessible wisdom skillfully interwoven throughout mindfully curated sequences. He is currently E-RYT® 200 certified and continues his studies with well known teachers in his time away from Suan Sati.

Will founded Suan Sati as a lifestyle that would allow himself and others to live the practice and not only visit it. Buddhist meditation, yoga, and spiritual communion with nature are integral parts of his path. The opportunity and responsibility to share these things with others in a community setting led him to take on this project. Will is often on site making sure the guests are well looked after, but he always has time for a chat and a laugh with new friends.

Lisa is a Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga teacher from Austria. She also draws inspiration from Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of love and devotion, in her practice and teaching. She had been doing bodywork for many years as a physiotherapist before discovering Yoga. After a powerful first experience with a visiting teacher from India, she formally embarked on her Yoga journey in 2015. Since then, she has been influenced and inspired by teachers from all over the world and from many different traditions.

The Path of Yoga opened up a whole new world for her – a world of love, acceptance and connection to a higher power, without having to label or define it. From this place of love, acceptance, and connection, we are able to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. Many people initially come to yoga to heal a physical ailment, but the reason why they continue is that it ultimately heals something in the heart. Stepping onto the Yoga mat is the time to honor ourselves and all of our blessings. It is here that we can focus our minds on appreciating the wondrous gift of life.

Lisa’s passion is sharing her knowledge and experience with others. She is a skillful motivator, having helped many people spark their own fire on this path. Music and chanting are always strong elements in her classes. She loves inviting others to use their voices as a tool of self empowerment and self expression. Music and movement are both powerful forms of medicine, and she weaves them together seamlessly.

Her calling as a teacher and student is to remind herself and others to choose love over fear, to move, to feel, to express, to play, to make mistakes. These reminders cultivate a sacred and safe space for people to better understand their purpose on this earth, and to mindfully step into their power with clarity and grace.

About Lisa

Co-Founder and Lead Teacher

About Lisa
Co-Founder and Lead Teacher
Lisa is a Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga teacher from Austria. She also draws heavily upon Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of love and devotion, in her practice and teaching. She has been doing bodywork for many years as a physiotherapist before discovering Yoga. After a powerful first experience with a visiting teacher from India, she formally embarked on her Yoga journey in 2015. Since then, she has been influenced and inspired by teachers from all over the world and from many different traditions.

The Path of Yoga opened up a whole new world for her - a world of love, acceptance and connection to a higher power, without having to label or define it. From this place of love, acceptance, and connection,we are able to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. Many people initially come to yoga to heal a physical ailment, but the reason why they continue is that it ultimately heals something in the heart. Stepping onto the Yoga mat is the time to honor ourselves and all of our blessings. It is here that we can focus our minds on appreciating the wondrous gift of life.
Lisa's passion is sharing her knowledge and experience with others. She is a skillful motivator, having helped many people spark their own fire on this path. Music and chanting are always strong elements in her classes. She loves inviting others to use their voices as a tool of self empowerment and self expression. Music and movement are both powerful forms of medicine, and she weaves them together seamlessly.

Her calling as a teacher and student is to remind herself and others to choose love over fear, to move, to feel, to express, to play, to make mistakes. These reminders cultivate a sacred and safe space for people to better understand their purpose on this earth, and to mindfully step into their power with clarity and grace.
About Will
Director and Co-Founder
Will initially moved to Thailand from America in 2010 to teach English as a second language. He eventually moved to Chiang Mai and it was here that he first experimented with yoga. Feeling no connection to asana as it was taught to him at a fitness gym, he stopped practicing yoga and opened to vipassana meditation as his primary spiritual practice.

After two years living in Thailand, Will packed up his bags and traveled through Asia for 12 months, finishing with over one month spent back in Thailand sitting three consecutive meditation retreats at Wat Kow Tahm and Wat Suan Mokkh. Over the next three years, he continued his global travels in constant search of something that was always just out of reach. He spent nearly a year in the Australian outback, three months working on an isolated island in Indonesia, brief jaunts through Africa, Europe, South America, and an extended trip to Central America. It was in Guatemala where he again encountered yoga during a one month permaculture and yoga course. He felt firsthand the physical benefits to yoga, but it was the opportunity to dedicate each class to cultivating mindfulness that made the practice stick.
This led him to dive deep into yoga, practicing up to six hours a day in the months leading up to a 200 hour yoga teacher training course in Goa, India in January 2016. The course was a great foundation, but Will’s early teaching style was most heavily influenced by his primary teacher Mittra Rawat. Will spent nearly two months together with Mittra in 2016 practicing Hatha yoga on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India. Will also lists Jason Crandell, Dali Dhamma, Gernot Huber, and Bear Tobin as his influences. His teaching style is deliberate and down-to-earth, with subtle, accessible wisdom skillfully interwoven throughout mindfully curated sequences. He is currently E-RYT® 200 certified and continues his studies with well known teachers in his time away from Suan Sati.

Will founded Suan Sati as a lifestyle that would allow himself and others to live the practice and not only visit it. Buddhist meditation, yoga, and spiritual communion with nature are integral parts of his path. The opportunity and responsibility to share these things with others in a community setting led him to take on this project. Will is often on site tending the grounds, leading classes, and milling around the kitchen, but he always has time for a chat and a laugh with new friends.
About Thai Staff Group

Our Beloved Staff

We are confident that Suan Sati has the best local staff in Thailand, and our guests agree!

The general manager Pee Jaa (Pee means older brother or sister in Thai) has been indispensable in maneuvering Suan Sati through difficult times. She was the first staff hired, and manages everything behind the scenes to ensure that Suan Sati runs smoothly.

Pee Ray is the maintenance manager. He is a tireless problem solver, and is a jack-of-all-trades. He is Pee Bow’s husband, and their daughter Nong Bam (Nong means younger brother or sister in Thai) provides a big dose of cuteness to the Suan Sati Family when she’s on site.

The head chef is Pee Bow. She is experimental in the kitchen, drawing on traditional Thai, Burmese, and Shan recipes along with western influences. This gives you an authentic taste of the region while also sprinkling in enough familiar Western food to stave off homesickness or rice overdose.

Pee Daeng is an all-arounder, and Pee Bow’s sister. She is the comedian in the group, always keeping everyone light and laughing. She assists in the kitchen and housekeeping, and also is the caretaker of Suan Sati 1, our first location.

Our Chefs Accommodate Food Allergies

Some of Our Staff and Teachers

Additional/Rotating Teachers

We have a select few talented teachers that join us throughout the year to lead the retreat program. Even when Will and Lisa aren’t on site, you can be assured that you will be led by gifted, loving teachers that will support you in your yogic journey.