• close family • small boat • big world •

A Beautiful Practice in a Beautiful Place

November 5, 2014

by Paula
Luperon, Dominican Republic

During mountain pose, my instructor says, "focus your gaze." I concentrate on a beautiful mountain. During tree pose, I focus on a tall palm tree. Yoga is a very special practice here in Luperón harbor.

A friendly and helpful community easily develops in a place where cruisers sit out the months of the hurricane season or where others have chosen it as their final destination. Navigating the lack of services in this small, poor town can be a challenge, and the sailing community bands together to help out one another. Cathy, here for six years now on S/V Cats Paws, generously offers free yoga classes for anyone who would like to participate.

Focus on the mountain or the tree
Our instructor, Cathy
Hour-and-a-half-long classes are held three mornings a week in the abandoned Luperón Yacht Club. A lovely restaurant in its recent past, its empty space set on a harbor-side hilltop is perfect for housing our yoga class. It’s easy to overlook the mildewed columns and dangling electrical wires when the view over the balustrade is a gorgeous panorama. Looking south, the vista extends from the harbor below to nearby hills and the Cordillera Septentrional mountains in the distance.

The large space with open doors and no windows makes it easier to feel a sense of oneness with the world around me. The fresh breeze smooths my skin and I smell the rich earth each time I take a deep breath.  During cow pose, I hear the gentle lowing of a wayward cow.  A rooster's crow
breaks the silence while we concentrate during pigeon pose and dragonflies buzz by while I stretch in a triangle pose.  I try to "move outside of my body" when relaxing in shavasana, but it's hard when tiny ants are biting my arms and legs.

Shanti, our yoga mascot
A regular visitor to our sessions is Shanti, the adorable dog who lives with her new puppies on the second floor of the club.  She greets us each morning and wanders through class looking for attention. Its an additional challenge to focus on my body when there is a dog resting her sweet face on my leg. 

What a wonderful way to start the day. How lucky we are to have this beautiful exercise of body and spirit in this marvelous place.