I was thrilled to learn that beach-front yoga classes were being held on Saturday mornings at the El Taj Oceanfront. Not only was I spoiled for choice by the fifteen classes of yoga per week in The Gym, but I now had the option of doing yoga on the shore of the Caribbean Sea!
As I walked through the Indigo Beach club past the huge white Buddha statue, I saw the teacher and my classmates gathering together on the sand to begin the lesson.
“A very fitting setting for yoga,” I thought to myself as I breathed in the salty scent of the ocean which gently lapped against the white sand.
Sam, the teacher introduced himself and we positioned ourselves on the sand. No yoga mats were required, we would be going ‘el naturale’ for this beach front yoga class!
Sam began the class by giving us a small reading from the Mayan calendar, which he studies daily. Apparently the Mayans used many different types of calendars to assist them in their ritualistic lives, and today some Mexican people study the calendars for insights which guide them in modern life also.
I liked the idea of starting the class with some ancient Mayan wisdom. Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice originating in India, so the Mayan aspect to the class was a new addition for me. Sam assured us that it was still traditional yoga, just with a shift in focus towards ancient Mayan wisdom.
It sounded wonderful; practicing yoga on the shores of the Mayan Riviera, whilst learning a little about the ancient culture of the area. The word ‘Yoga’ means union, of the body, mind and spirit, so with my feet buried in the sand, I closed my eyes and listened to Sam’s words of ancient wisdom, breathing slowly and deeply, connecting to the moment.
Most of the class was carried out on our feet, through a variety of standing postures such as ‘tree’ and triangle’ poses. Toward the end of the class, however, we made our way down to the sand for the sitting postures. It was certainly different doing yoga in the sand, and not on a mat inside a studio, but with the beautiful Caribbean sea to rinse off in afterwards, I wasn’t too worried about having it on my skin!
For the last five minutes of the one hour class, we lay back on the sand in ‘shavasana’ pose, or ‘corpse’ pose, for relaxation. Being early in the morning, the fine sand was still cool to touch, and provided a soft natural surface to completely relax in.
Through my almost-closed eyes, I saw a flock of pelicans soar overhead in an arrow formation, in perfect unison with each other. I wondered how they instinctively knew exactly what to do and where to go.
“They just do,” I thought to myself. Returning my focus to my breath, I closed my eyes, falling into a deeply relaxed state.
I was very grateful for the wisdom of two ancient cultures coming together on the shores of the Caribbean sea; allowing me to begin my day in a peaceful, centered state – the perfect way to start any day.
*There are yoga classes on the beach every Saturday morning at 8 AM. There are Tai Chi classes at 8 AM Sundays, and all classes are complimentary for all Condo hotel guests.