These might sound like words you hear within the four walls of your local yoga studio, eight minutes away from home, situated between your go-to dry cleaners and a Starbucks. This could also sound like what you might hear on a remote Southeast Asian island, 8,000 miles away, amidst a symphony of gently crashing waves and swaying palm trees, while staring out at a sparkling, sunkissed ocean beneath a swirling, pink and orange cotton candy sky.


If you’re passionate about yoga, chances are you’ve entertained the idea of deepening your practice in some far away, exotic locale. For those looking to check all the boxes of a destination spiritual retreat, but hold a deeper desire to push personal boundaries and engage in a transformational experience with lifelong benefits, look to Global Vinyasa, a true East meets West, yoga teacher certification program on the tropical Thai island, Koh Pha Ngan. 

Global Vinyasa, founded by Candace Welch and Phillip Bryden, offers a 12 day long, registered yoga school teacher certification on this tucked away island in the Surat Thani province of Southern Thailand. 

The two expats (Welch, hailing from Seattle and Bryden, a Los Angeles native) split their time between training professional athletes in the Barcelona region of Spain, and offering their immersive yoga teacher training program in Thailand. 

During the Global Vinyasa certification training, students spend mornings practicing yoga on serene beaches around the island, followed by transformational workshops and discussions around topics spanning from the history and lineage of yoga, anatomy and physiology, ayurvedic and holistic nutrition, and teaching methodology. Workshops and practices are taught throughout the island giving students an opportunity to explore beaches less traveled and discover local gems. Each day caps with a rotation of guided sunset meditations, introspective rituals, and stand up paddleboard yoga sessions. And of course, Thai massages. 


The most unique part of the program? It’s completely donation based. The ethos behind the donation structure? Simply put, these two are the real deal when it comes to embodying the yogic lifestyle. They believe yoga should be accessible to everyone, and that sharing their philosophical knowledge and holistic practices helps strengthen a foundation for deeper connection on an individual, societal, and universal scale. 

Disclaimer: if you’re looking for five-star accommodations and 1000 thread count sheets, this may not be the journey for you. Instead, expect beachy bungalows, bare feet, and bonding with locals. And plenty of fresh papaya salad and spicy pad thai. You’ll quickly discover that the luxury of giving yourself time to connect with your higher consciousness and the universe around you on a deeply profound level, far outweighs any extravagant resort. Not to mention, the added bonus of leaving as a certified yoga instructor. 

With all that said, there’s still plenty of free time during the training for fine dining, jungle spa sessions, and luxury beach resort living. It is highly recommended to extend your stay to reflect and enjoy all the wonders Thailand has to offer. In Koh Pha Ngan, be sure to check out Cocohut Resort (a must visit), Fisherman’s Restaurant, The Sanctuary Spa, and Orion Healing Center. After all, yoga is all about balance, right? 

Beyond the deeply rewarding experience of the training program itself, the ability to leave with a Yoga Alliance teacher certification opens doors to professionally guide yoga classes when you return. And while teaching back at your local yoga studio after training in Thailand may be a tough act to follow, rest assured, the honor of continuing your spiritual journey and guiding others in theirs will take you right back to those swaying palm trees and swirling cotton candy skies. Namaste. 

Global Vinyasa currently offers their donation based certification program twice a year, in April and December. To learn more and reserve a space in their upcoming programs, visit