3 Reasons I Love Yoga on a Tropical Island

On any given day, yoga makes me feel alive in body, mind and spirit. I’ve found, however, that doing yoga in a tropical setting adds color to my practice. I’ve had the pleasure of taking a yoga class in several exotic places, and there’s nothing like hearing the instructor say, “Turn your head toward the waves,” instead of “Turn toward the mirror.”

Here are some of my other discoveries about doing yoga outdoors:

1. Turks & Caicos: Contemplate Infinity by the Ocean

While practicing Warrior pose and gazing over the ocean, I can’t help but gain some perspective. How tiny I feel compared to the endless sea and sky!

Regina Radisic teaches a sunrise yoga class overlooking Turks and Caicos’ Grace Bay at The Palms resort. Photo copyright Laurel Kallenbach

The spa at The Palms Turks & Caicos resort holds sunrise yoga classes at the beach. The morning I was there, a shower passed through right at the 6:00 a.m. starting time. We waited under an umbrella by the pool, then did yoga on the boardwalk overlooking the beach rather than putting our mats in the wet sand. We were rewarded partway through the class by a rainbow on the horizon.

2. Jamaica: Revel in Your Senses

Everything seems more alive when you do yoga outdoors: the color of the water and tropical flowers, the scent of flowers and salt in the air, the twitter of exotic birds, the feel of the breeze on my face.

Jacqueline Sheehan leads a class in the garden pavilion at Bromley Estate in Jamaica. Photo copyright Laurel Kallenbach

On Jamaica, at a guest house and retreat center called Bromley, yoga classes were held in a garden pavilion, surrounded by bougainvillea and other flowering trees and shrubs. During Savasana, I couldn’t help but open my eyes when a doctor bird—a hummingbird with long tail feathers—buzzed nearby. The same thing happened when the Bromley dogs, who were fascinated by our Fish Poses, stopped by to lick our faces.

 

3. Antigua: Move in Different Ways

Sunset yoga is held on the dock at Carlisle Bay resort in Antigua. Photo copyright Laurel Kallenbach

When the yoga environment changes, you adapt—which takes you out of your usual box. At Carlisle Bay resort on the Caribbean island of Antigua, I joined the sunset yoga class on the dock right over the water. Boat Pose took on a whole new meaning as I imagined myself buoyed by ocean water. (I think I even held this asana longer because I felt that water was holding me “afloat.”)

Because of the movement of the gently lapping waves around me, balancing poses such as Tree Pose or Dancer’s Pose were more challenging than usual. Even when I closed my eyes, the sound of waves created the sensation of motion.

As the sun dipped closer and closer to the horizon, our small class did gentle Sun Salutes to end the day. The sky turned a hundred shades of pink.

Now that’s the way to do yoga!

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and traveling yogi 

Luxury Beach Resort Has Caribbean Eco-Style

Doing nothing is everything at Carlisle Bay, an eco-minded luxury resort located on a quiet tropical beach on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Carlisle Bay resort on Antigua is a heavenly Caribbean getaway that makes point-worthy green efforts.

If you want to relax in an unspoiled natural setting, be waited on hand and foot, get pampered in a first-rate natural spa, dine in sophisticated restaurants or under a palm tree on the beach, and make no decision harder than whether to order a rum punch or a piña colada—then Carlisle Bay is the place for you.

Part of the exquisite Campbell Gray Hotel collection, Carlisle Bay holds a silver certification by EarthCheck, an organization that validates the carbon claims and sustainability initiatives of tourism operations.

Carlisle Bay's Ocean Suites give you a cool, Zen-like interior for an elegant stay.

Here there’s luxury with a healthy helping of the outdoors: You’ve got beautifully appointed rooms with comfortable air conditioning, but all you need to do is step onto your private balcony or walk 15 yards to the white-sand beach and you’re surrounded by bird song, exotic flowers, coconut palms, and nonstop views of the bay’s turquoise water.

Do Nothing, Do Lots

For a place where you can perfect the art of flopping on a beach chair under an umbrella, Carlisle Bay offers a surprising number of activities.

There are water sports—as well as yoga classes—at Carlisle Bay beach.

There’s morning yoga and Pilates in a gazebo—or sunset yoga over the water on the pier. You can go sailing, snorkeling, paddle a sea kayak, or take out one of the resort’s Hobie cats. You can hike with a local guide through the rainforest to pick mangos. And there are tennis courts and a tennis pro to coach your backhand.

Blue Spa lets you unwind in simple elegance with an assortment of treatments from body wraps to facials, to excellent massages. The spa uses the all-natural Spanish line of Natura Bissé skincare products.

With all these great, active items to put on your agenda, however, don’t skimp on the sheer joy of doing nothing on one of Antigua’s most remarkable beaches.

Carlisle Bay’s beach attendants bring coolers filled with cold water and serve drinks from the bar, afternoon tea (ask for the fresh-baked shortbread!), and an assortment of salads and sandwiches for lunch.

If you just can’t leave the beach, why not have the staff set up a dinner table under a palm or on the pier?

Luxury for Families, Too

Kids have fun at this family-friendly resort.

Carlisle Bay manages to provide a luxurious location that’s perfect for both romantic getaways and family vacations. They’ve accomplished this by locating most of the family suites at one end of the resort and the Ocean Suites on the other.

The Carlisle Bay’s Crew Blue kids’ program keeps kids occupied with fun, educational activities such as banana picking, limbo dancing, and Hobie cat lessons—letting moms and dads have some quiet time together

Carlisle Bay’s Sustainability Efforts

Social responsibility:

  • hires staff from nearby communities
  • local outreach programs, including donations, to the community

Carlisle Bay resort sits unobtrusively within the natural landscape.

Environmental measures:

  • guests encouraged to place a green sash on their bed when they do not wish to have linens changed
  • use of local, seasonal and sustainably-grown food whenever possible
  • low-flow showerheads and sink faucet aerators
  • dual-flush toilets in some rooms
  • energy-saving CFL lighting
  • motion sensors on outdoor lights (and they’re adding them into bathrooms as well)
  • recycling of bottles, plastic and kitchen waste,
  • rainwater catchment
  • reuse of office supplies
  • biodegradable pesticides to control insects
  • treating sewage water for reuse on landscaping
  • energy-efficient air compressors for air conditioning

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

Photos courtesy Campbell Gray Hotels

The pool at Carlisle Bay