Beyond the Mat

Beyond the Mat

With the increasing benefits of Yoga, there is no doubt that the appreciation for this exercise has crossed borders. Proven to promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being, earning its day of observance on June 21st was inevitable.

Let’s start with its origins

Making Yoga Day an international day of observance was campaigned by the prime minister of India – Narendra Modi. When allowed to present at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. With his few minutes, Mr Modi was able to captivate the assembly by expressing the revolutionary benefits of this exercise and how it can impact the entire world. With unanimous support, Honorable Modi was able to get the approval of nations heads from over 176 nations. Thus International Yoga Day came into existence.

But why all the rave over Yoga, is it worth all the recognition?

The answer to this is simple, yes. Yoga, with its origins stemming from India, means “union” symbolising a complete body integration. It provides solutions that are based on whole-person care. By practising yoga correctly, the different advantages include mental development, weight loss, concentration enhancement, attention span boosting, attractive appearance and even a cure for some diseases.

Are the exercises difficult?

The first time I started doing yoga, like many, I was anxious to attempt the what seem complex poses but it didn’t take me long to figure out that they are not as difficult as they seem. One of the most basic positions is Mountain pose, also known as Tadasana. To do this, I stand with my feet together and press through both feet evenly while lifting my arches. My thighs are engaged and my tailbone is slightly tucked under. Shoulders are rolled back and down, arms hang relaxed by the side. This pose may look easy but it provides a platform for other poses improving posture and balance.

Another position that appeared daunting was the Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana. Starting on my hands and knees with wrists directly under the shoulders and knees beneath the hips, I lift up by buttocks towards the ceiling extending my legs long while keeping my spine elongated. I distribute weight equally in both hands and feet while releasing my head between my arms. Gradually, however, I noticed that I could sink into it more deeply until it felt comfortable in those places where hamstrings meet shoulder blades.

Warrior II(Virabhadrasana II) also appeared daunting but eventually, it turned out quite empowering when you got a grip on it. After starting from a standing position, one foot should be extended outward and tilted slightly outward. Whilst also stretching one’s arms out parallel to the floor, I found it easy to keep my back perfectly vertical and adjacent to my knee which had to be slightly bent. It is important to note that in order for this pose to be completely comfortable one simply has to ensure that their knee is directly aligned to their ankle. This way the body relies on our core muscles.
Furthermore, by focusing on the breathing patterns shared by your instructor, you will find the position a lot less daunting than it may appear.

Where to be for International Day of Yoga

What better way to celebrate this day dedicated to the ancient practice that brings harmony to the mind, body and spirit, than under the skilled guidance of our resort’s remarkable yoga teacher, Mya.

With years of experience and a passion for yoga that runs deep, Mya has designed yoga practices of all kinds that will challenge and delight both novice and expert alike. Her philosophy reflects her belief that yoga should be for everyone, so it’s always fun, relevant and life-changing. This philosophy is proven through the many different yoga styles that she teaches, so there’s something for everyone.

One of Mya’s most popular classes is Hatha Yoga. This class centres on fundamental yoga practices and is perfect for those new to yoga and those wishing to gain a better insight into basic asanas. Through slow, deliberate movements and coordinated breathing, Hatha Yoga increases both strength and flexibility while calming the mind. In a Hatha Yoga session, Mya guides her sessions with gentle, yet exact guidance, so that they may establish a healthy connection with their body and find balance and inner calm.

For guests wishing for a faster-paced and more challenging practice, Mya’s Vinyasa Flow sessions will satisfy them. Vinyasa is a style of yoga that is both smooth and rhythmic in which one’s synchronised breath moves us into and out of each pose in a fluid sequence. A Vinyasa class such as Mya’s, is lively and motivating, providing an aerobic workout while toning and strengthening. As each class is individually orchestrated by Mya to varying degrees of intensity, novice to expert yogis alike will feel challenged.

A special treat is Mya’s Yin Yoga class. Slower in pace, Yin Yoga aims to affect the deeper tissues of the body. Ligaments, bones, and even joints that are not often stretched in stricter yoga practices, are gently worked. The static poses are maintained for longer periods than in other styles (usually for three to five minutes), so that the deeper tissues gradually release their tension. With each deliberate pose, Mya’s calming voice and serene disposition gently walk her guests through each movement, encouraging them to find stillness and awareness. This meditative class promotes a deep sense of quiet and reflection and is an ideal counterpart to the more physical styles of yoga practice.

Along with these foundational sessions, Mya also provides her guests with more specialised classes including Sunrise Yoga and Sunset Yoga. For many, the repetitive and often monotonous nature of daily life can quickly go unnoticed. Yoga at sunrise or sunset helps to reconnect us to the day’s rhythm which enhances our yoga practice. With the sun rising over the horizon, Sunrise Yoga energises the senses and puts us in a positive frame of mind for the day ahead. As the sunsets, cast a soothing palette of end tones, Sunset yoga offers relaxation and a moment to reflect with gratitude on the day that has been.

There are more than a few types of yoga that are offered at the resort— Each person can pick something very special to them from among all these different approaches no matter what his/her level might be.

Ultimately, yoga sessions at BodyHoliday Saint Lucia are a must in this lifetime. With a natural setting that includes wonderful ocean sounds coupled with a sun-kissed beach, it is an ideal location for spiritual renewal.

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