Restorative yoga a nice change of pace

Posted at 1:50 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 13:50:36-04

I’m one of those weirdos who tries to make exercise a part of my vacation.

There’s a gym with Zumba classes that I regularly drop in on when I go to Rehoboth Beach in the summer, and I always pack my running shoes so I can run anytime, anywhere.

"Why should my honeymoon in Costa Rica be any different?" I thought. So I dutifully packed my running shoes and even my Garmin GPS watch.

And how much did I run while I was there?

Zero miles (the upcoming Baltimore Ten Miler should be interesting!) To be fair, I did wear my running shoes during hikes around the Poas Volcano and the waterfalls near the Arenal Volcano, but that GPS watch stayed buried at the bottom of my carry on.

That said, vacation is all about trying new things, especially in a new country, so when we were in Tamarindo on Costa Rica’s Pacific side and I saw the Mermaids and Sailors yoga studio that encouraged drop ins, I suggested to my husband that we give it a shot.

He agreed, mostly because it was air conditioned (it was in the 90s in Tamarindo and many establishments do not have central air).

I’ve done yoga before, but sporadically—I’m by no means any kind of experienced yogi. And I had never done “restorative” yoga before, which focuses on breathing, relaxation and staying still for longer periods of time.

A restorative yoga sequence typically involves only five or six poses, supported by props, according to Yoga Journal. Held for five minutes or more, restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds and gentle backbends.

When I tried out Illuminated Yoga at the Inner Harbor in March, my challenge was my complete lack of flexibility. This time around, it was making myself be still and just concentrate on breathing. I feel like if I tried restorative yoga at home, in the middle of a stressful work week, my mind would probably just wander and I’d think about my never-ending to do list. On vacation, it was a little easier to keep my mind uncluttered, but it was still difficult not to think about what we were doing that night and when we needed to get to the airport later that week.

That’s all my neuroses, though. Our instructor was great! She spoke fluent English for those of us who were non-Spanish speakers, she had the calming voice one would expect of someone teaching restorative yoga and she was happy to adjust you if you didn’t have the pose quite right.

While I generally prefer activities that are a little more high-impact, this was a nice change of pace, in more ways than one. It was the perfect vacation workout. Don't we look relaxed? 

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