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Riverside Elephant Yoga

It's the crack of dawn in Bangkok, the roads are empty and we are
off to enjoy sunrise yoga overlooking Bangkok's Chao Praya river.

        It was my birthday, so let's just say it was entirely my choice 
to get up at 5.30am on a Sunday. 
Mr Wren was less thrilled with the idea, but bless him he did it!

  We were there to join other keen yogis for a sun salutation with a difference.
Our yoga was held on the pitch for the weekend's Elephant Polo. 
The reward for such an early start 
was to be there for when the elephants had their breakfast.

The inaugural sunrise yoga 
 was part of one the biggest charitable events in South East Asia.

This event is a major fundraiser for the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation an organisation close to our hearts. 

We spent our honeymoon at the Anantara Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand and it was here that we were first introduced to the foundation's valuable work.

We returned to the Anantara Golden Triangle in May 2017 as part of our wedding anniversary celebrations

The King's Cup Elephant Polo tournament is now in its 16th Year and has raised over THB 50 million to better the lives of Thailand's wild and domesticated elephant population. 

 I wasn't sure about the whole idea of Elephant Polo, neither perhaps were the river gods... 
A massive storm on Friday put the whole city on an extreme weather alert.
The polo pitch flooded and it remained unplayable over the three days I attended.

Hats off to all the organisers for all their hard work and 'let's get this show on the road' attitude. 
Let me show you the Verve champagne tent and then you'll see
we had perfect conditions for water polo!

So I never once saw any Elephant Polo and I really didn't mind this.

Our Absolute Yoga class was one of my most memorable yoga experiences.  
It was up there with yoga in the paddy fields of Bali

The standard was high and the team at Balance Wellness catered well for an all-ability class. Certainly, Mr Wren was huffing and puffing after the first flow movement.

It wasn't long before he was well and truly distracted by the elephants waiting patiently. At one point the elephants were given a few bananas and then some sugar cane. It was an incredible backdrop.

Throughout, the Foundation gave us more information about the animals.

Do you know that elephants eat 8% of their body weight each day?

It is extremely costly for their owners, the elephants participating in this event are ex-street elephants and will be well provided for due to their participation.
They certainly looked relaxed and were happy with their buffet breakfast!

 The elephants had a definite order of preference for the fruit with bananas and sugar cane being a good starter. The Mahouts told us that papaya is not good first up as it can upset the elephant's stomachs. Pumpkin is good but best after the bananas and sugar cane. 

 We enjoyed seeing how they stomped on the pumpkin before eating its sweet fruit.

After a period of time, the first elephants were taken away for a rest and the Mahouts collected extra supplies for them to continue eating throughout the day. Then more elephants arrived for the second sitting. 

I love this photo below of the mahout carefully selecting food for his elephant.

There is a part two to this story which

I shall continue on my other blog: 
with more photos of the event. 

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