Back to teaching on my roof in Ibiza.
We came back after our three month journey through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia around mid-March and just a short time after that I gave my first yoga class of the year in my yoga space: the roof of my house. Still not ready for the season the roof is uncovered and fully exposed to the sun, and it’s painted white. So the light is extremely strong and bright. Sunglasses must be worn by all!
The people who come to the classes are guests in our house, who come from colder parts of Europe, looking to soak up some Spanish sunshine. They actually love practicing yoga in the sun, on this bright roof overlooking the so picturesque countryside and the blue Mediterranean not so far away on the horizon ‒ a perfect drsti to focus on in balance poses.
I also went to a Sunday event held on a beach, with a theme of healthy food, yoga and wellbeing. The yoga class was at 12.30 pm, led by a very sweet, young German girl, in the sand, in the sun, in the heat, surrounded by running dogs and children holding kites.
Can you guess where this is going...?
DO NOT FOR ONE SECOND THINK THAT PRACTICING YOGA IN THE SUN, ON THE BEACH, OR ON A ROOF WITH VIEWS, IS AS ROMANTIC AND BEAUTIFULLY HARMONIOUS AS IT LOOKS!
It doesn't get any more uncomfortable, in fact, than practicing yoga on the beach. Even though on all beautiful pictures, you see yogis... on the beach. All covers and posters and Instagrammers are doing their asanas on a sandy beach, with the sun blasting, or maybe at sunset, somehow without the inevitable mosquitos.
The yoga mat in the sand equals just problems. It sinks, it flies away in the wind, it gets covered in sand. You have to constantly stop and fix it, straighten it out, brush the sand away.
The drsti is completely squinted from the sun, unless you wear sunglasses, which is necessary if you're on my roof. And somehow, it doesn't feel right to be doing yoga with sunnies on. In downward dog, they fall onto the top of the head, and make me feel I need to rescue them before they slide off completely.
The focus is just... gone. You're surrounded by flying saucers (frisbees) and children chasing kites, not even looking ahead nor down, only up. At one point you may actually have to jump off your mat unless you want your throat slit by a colourful kite.
The sun is damned strong here in Spain, despite it being only April, and most people end up frying their skin. I came out of the beach-class with a VERY red right side of my body. Not funny. And I didn't wear sunscreen because I had never ever in my life expected the yoga class to be bang in the middle of the beach… I would have chosen the lovely rocks to the side.
It's just HOT and increasingly uncomfortable as you go on and you start to feel like a hairy dog with your tongue out, staring longingly at the beach bars serving ice cold beer.
Because of the uneven surface that the yoga mat is trying to stick to, all the postures are done differently. One Trikonasana leaning to the right, one Dhanurasana leaning to the left.
As you reach the end of the practice, you feel like you are boiling over, the skin is burning, breath is in the throat and you just wanna throw yourself in the water. Like after a sweaty run, not a calm and peaceful yoga class.
To sum it up, it feels like the exact ANTITHESIS to what yoga is supposed to do for you.
I think I'll stick to my dark room for my yoga from now on... and try to convince the people coming to my classes from that it's actually better if we are in the shade. They can hit the beach later, feeling Shanti and Zen from the inner visit to the caves of their souls.