I knew that yoga would have to be one of my exercises while I was on vacation in Kauai, living on Kalalau Beach. Kalalau is a very spiritual place for the people who have lived there over the centuries so I found it fitting to do my one yoga workout this month while in the valley. Also, after 15 miles of hiking over two days with a pack weight approaching 50 pounds I knew my body needed some recovery. Yoga definitely did the trick. I most often do yoga on Mondays or Tuesdays after a weekend of beating myself up hiking, climbing, or adventuring. It helps lengthen my body back out and helps me work my muscles in a super low-impact way to help them recover. I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my recovery time as well as other aspects of my life (core strength, flexibility, rock climbing, etc) thanks to Yoga.
I used to be a huge naysayer toward yoga because I had wrongly assumed it was just for people who wanted to be flexible and/or wear yoga pants (both of which I fully support but that’s besides the point). I remember the first time I did yoga three years ago during a PE class at Tufts. I figured I would walk into the class, stretch out a bit, hopefully meet a girl or two, and I was golden, basically foolproof. Boy was I wrong, I was totally humbled because power yoga absolutely kicked my ass. My mat was covered in my own sweat, my muscles were shaking uncontrollably, and I felt like I wanted to die. I was that guy in the back of the class cursing and falling over and getting exceedingly frustrated because everyone else was in the zone with these expressions of zen on their faces. After taking a few semester-long classes in college I’m now a firm believer in making yoga part of my weekly routine. I like the emphasis it places on balance, power, and flexibility (not just flexibility as I wrongly assumed).
On Kalalau Beach in Kauai I decided I would do a 45 minute yoga session. I can safely say that I’ve never had such an amazing backdrop for doing yoga. I wasn’t quite sure whether I should be facing the ocean or facing the valley:
This picture was taken about two minutes before the wind blew away my inner-tube. The tube rolled up on its side and the wind blew it about 200 yards down the beach and threatened to blow it into the ocean to be gone forever. I ran down the beach as fast as I could and saved the inner-tube. As I returned to my yoga I got a standing ovation from a half dozen naked people who were watching my escapades. After running about 400 yards and now knowing that I had an audience, I had to calm myself down and finish out another 20 minutes of yoga.
My min/max/average heart rates were 70/108/153 and it was pretty clear that the 153 peak came from sprinting down the beach. It was pretty tough to do yoga on the sand, I’m not sure I recommend it. At first I tried to use my towel as my yoga mat but it was significantly too short and it kept moving around. I quickly ditched the towel and accepted the fact I’d just be covered in sand by the end of it. I spent a lot of time getting my hands and feet situated before, during, and after each pose. It definitely wasn’t my best yoga session of all time but it was certainly the best yoga experience I’ve ever had. After the session I promptly jumped into the ocean to wash off the sand and the sweat. Then to wash off the salt water I showered under the waterfall you can see in the picture above.