Breathe in the purest air, breathe out the weight on your shoulders
It’s 6.45am. It’s still silent, although i’m awake, and so is the sun.
It’s time for some yoga.
We meet at the shala – a wooden platform with thatched roofing, no walls, and a slight sea breeze to cool our skin. It’s already warm.
The stillness is sublime. Our teacher is Anna – a Fijian woman, athletic in build and stature and gentle in nature. She arrives with a smile and greets us with “Yadra”, that’s good morning in Fijian.
Childs Pose is our resting pose. We start here and focus on our breath. Inhale, exhale, soften. We observe the rise and fall of our ribs and chest. Nice. I feel calmer already.
We move into a few cat and cows – a slow way to awaken the body. “Press up into downward dog ” Anna says. I walk out my feet, pressing my heels to the mat, and chest to my feet. It feels good to stretch. We meet at the top of our mat in rag doll – soft knees support our spine, and we hang our heads and empty the clutter from our mind. I feel more supple already and it has only been 5 minutes.
The gentle start to the class had me thinking it would be a light session, however I was wrong. From mountain pose through chathuranga, upward dog to downward dog. We began our sun salutations, one after the other after the other. “Be guided by your breath” Anna called. One breath per posture – it was hard work.
I welcomed the balance routine, only for the fact that it gave my heart a rest from the rigours of the powerful poses of the flow. Yet, Anna dove into a challenging standing splits routine, following dakasana – aeroplane pose. My hamstrings and gluts were burning, but not as much as the Fijian sunshine had burned my skin the day before. Caution must be taken with both. We then met in tree pose to find our stillness again, and all I could hear was the sound of my heart beating under the gentle sound of the lapping water as the tide crept in towards us.
Bridge pose, or wheel were our next options…. I chose bridge, as my arms were already tired and I was afraid I would not be able to hold myself in wheel pose. That’s OK, because a good yoga teacher always offers alternatives – “Be guided by your body” Anna confirmed. And so I was. I lay down, and chose bridge pose. Half pigeon followed – ahhh, my gluts and hips needed that. A seated twist and happy baby pose guided me calmly towards the long awaited savasana.
Bliss. Pure bliss. A strong workout was had, one that I would never have expected in a remote part of Fiji. I lay at rest. I listened to the ocean lapping against the yoga platform. I felt the sun creep over my feet. I did what Anna said and observed the rise and fall of my chest. I was at peace.
Thank you Anna. Thank you for guiding me safely to a state of relaxation. Thank you Jean Michel Cousteau resort, for the wonderful yoga. I’m hooked!