Samui Wining & Dining
Fitness, rest & relaxation all under one roof at Dr Fish and Bikram Yoga.


Everybody enjoys a good story, especially when it’s a true tale. And in this case there’s romance and babies, work and business and travel and health, all thrown into the mix. If you’re sitting comfortably we’ll begin! We’ll commence our journey with the charismatic, energetic and lovely Lola Lavaud, who originates from Brussels, Belgium. After moving to Vancouver, Canada to study Philosophy, she soon realised that whilst being interesting, this was not her destiny. And so she embarked on a yoga teaching training course. As luck would have it, her teacher was the great yoga guru, Bikram Choudhury. A practitioner from the age of four, his knowledge and experience in this art form mean that his teaching methods are second to none. He originally developed the 26 hatha (or hot) yoga positions as a simple 90-minute workout sequence, which can stimulate all the core points in the body, helping to eradicate aches, pains and illness.

      After completing the course, Lola travelled around the world to teach and practice yoga. She found that yoga aided her in such a way that she could never imagine not being able to at least practice this art form. But really her passion comes from being able to pass it onto others. Previous to practicing yoga, she suffered from anxiety and panic attacks and also had a lack of flexibility in her body. After discovering yoga, all of these problems have been eradicated.

       During her travels, Lola met the lovely, down-to-earth Alex Prestwich, who also enjoys practicing yoga, and finds some real health benefits from doing so. After several years of travelling, they both decided it was time to put down some roots. They scoured Europe looking for that ideal spot, but without success. In need of a break, they travelled to Thailand, and by happy chance this trip included a short stay on Samui. They both fell in love with the place and decided that this was going to be the setting for their new business venture.

          After careful consideration they selected a two-storey building located next to the exit to Tops Supermarket on Chaweng Beach Road. It’s the perfect location to allow customers easy access and ample parking. Here Lola created her Bikram hatha yoga suite on the top floor, and Alex carefully designed a therapy pool to house 1,000s of garra rufa fish, in preparation for Dr Fish to be created.

          The hot Yoga is conducted in an approximately 40-degrees Celsius, clean spacious room, with towels and mats being provided for every customer. There are also ample changing facilities with showers, toilets and lockers available. The yoga classes follow the 26 hatha yoga postures and two breathing exercises, and the heat warms up your whole body allowing increased flexibility. This is an art form that focuses on connecting the mind, body and soul. With complete relaxation of the mind, you’re able to attain postures that you never thought possible. Regular practice can have enormous health and general wellbeing benefits, which are individual to each person. Once you’ve completed the 90-minute vigorous, but very rewarding, workout, spend some time relaxing on your mat, as your body readjusts to the temperature change and gives you time to cool down.

          When you’re ready, head downstairs in your swimwear (after showering of course, and remember to use no soap!) to indulge yourself in an amazing, almost out of body experience at Dr Fish. They use only garra rufa fish, which originate from the hot springs of the Kengal valley in Turkey. They’re well-known for their therapeutic and healing properties because of the enzyme dithranol, which they secrete as they slowly nibble away any dead and flaky skin.

          Dr Fish is bright and airy, with one huge tank containing 17,000-litres of water and more than 5,000 fish, divided into three separate areas. The water is fresh and clean, and is filtered every 30-minutes to ensure hygiene. The experience is almost indescribable, which demonstrates how important it is that you try this unusual concept for yourself. The fish aren’t harmful in any way. As you enter the pool they only come to lightly brush the surface of your skin, which can only be described as like a very, very low shock of electricity being sent through your body. As a good distraction when you first begin, enjoy the pot of warm green tea that you’ll be offered, watch as the fish flap around your body as you move, and then return to continue to nibble your skin as you become still again. As time passes you’ll notice that some of the fish begin to drop to the bottom of the tank to rest, they’re full already. But rest assured that they’ll still be plenty others ready to take their place!

          Bikram Yoga and Dr Fish offer the complete package of an MOT, not for your car but for your whole body. And Lola and Alex are also fortunate enough to have the complete package with the birth of their baby Lilou just six months ago, which ends our story very nicely.


 Kathy Ross



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