Yoga and Spiritual Wellness in the Heart of Siem Reap
Two thousand years after the Indian culture first spread to Cambodia in the so-called period of Indianization, yoga has become a popular form of exercise among travelers to Siem Reap looking for a holistic and spiritual recharge.
Now you can revitalize your senses with our special Spiritual and Wellness Tour that includes a private yoga class in Siem Reap run by an experienced yoga instructor. During this session of active meditation, you will learn to balance the body and mind – leaving you refreshed and ready to continue your exploration of Angkor.
However, the tour is not just about revitalizing your own spirits, but about supporting the local people and economy. Following your yoga session, you head to Marum for lunch, a Khmer restaurant that’s an ideal place to dine locally and enjoy creative cuisine made with only the freshest of ingredients.
Marum is a training restaurant run by Kaliyan Mith, a local NGO that has been working with street children and other marginalized people in Siem Reap since 2005. Part of the TREE global alliance it provides young students with the opportunity to learn useful skills that prepare them for a career in the hospitality industry.
Following your lunch, our English-speaking monk will take you on a spiritual discovery of Wat Svay Romeat, a Buddhist temple on the edge of West Baray, one of the many ancient reservoirs built during the Angkor period. Sharing with you his knowledge of Buddhism and life as a monk, he will guide you around the temple’s simple prayer hall and talk about various aspects of Buddhist life as it relates to the Cambodian society.
You will also be introduced to the temple’s head monk to whom you will present a small gift. In return you will receive his blessing, which can either be a full water blessing, requiring a change of clothes, or a dry blessing. Water blessings are a traditional Cambodian Buddhist practice that dates back centuries. The water is a symbol that reminds us to rid ourselves of attachments and generate compassion and wisdom.
After the ceremony, you can sit outside with the monks and enjoy some refreshments. It’s a chance to discuss the ceremony’s significance and ask any further questions you may have about Theravada Buddhism and its importance to the Cambodian people.
Back in Siem Reap town, you will drop in at Wat Preah Promrath, one of the most beautiful temples in Siem Reap. Situated by the river and Old Market, the monastery has many fine and colorful wall murals depicting the life of Buddha. At 5.00pm the monks emerge from the monastery for their evening chant and you can sit and listen to the mesmerizing rhythm of the mantra. The more monks taking part the more impressive is the sound, as it reverberates around the corners of the temple.
Note: On this spiritual tour, the revered status of Buddhism means that a dress code needs to be followed when entering temples. For women, shoulders must be covered by a blouse or a shawl, with skirts or pants must cover the knee. For men, it’s much the same – a shirt that covers the shoulders and pants or shorts below the knee.
For more information on health and wellness experiences in Cambodia, please contact [email protected].