Rosie Underwood, Fashion Director of OK! Magazine tells us her inspirational Yoga Journey, and shares her favourite destinations around the world.
They call your yoga story a ‘journey,’ not because yogis want to make you feel like you’re part of some modern day bohemian revolution, but because it’ll start to take you on a path of its own, one you might never have considered being on had you stuck to doing cardio in the basement of a depressing gym somewhere. My practice began in a studio in east London, at that point I couldn’t even touch my toes, it ended up leading me to these spots around the world, and I’ve never looked back!
Sri Lanka Ahangama
I visited Soul and Surf, a retreat based up a river delta in Ahangama. The practice was a mix of Vinyasa and Yin to help us stretch out our aching bodies post surfing. Heaving with lush vegetation and wildlife, practice in the jungle is noisy. I’m talking loud, unapologetic amazing jungle sounds in humidity I’d never experienced before. Incorporating the sound into your practice actually helps keep you present, with no need for any restorative music, we’d just let nature do its thing. A little pocket of tranquility I keep re-living in savasana until this day.
The 36 square mile Caribbean island, home to more monkeys than humans is as idyllic as it is remote. I found Paradise Beach villas opposite neighbouring island St Kitts the perfect place for my practice. The calm, glassy waters were so still in the early hours of the morning, I could SUP, then complete an hour of jetlag busting Vinyasa with the local yoga instructor Dave as the fisherman returned to shore with our breakfast!
Varkala - Kerala India
Varkala is Varkala is home to some stunning, tourist free beaches and after early morning surf sessions, tuk tuk rides, and back waters adventures, I’d always finish my day with some roof top yoga at sunset. The heat’s intense, but your body responds to it well in your practice so long as you keep hydrated. Again Soul and Surf have a home on the cliff, and I couldn’t recommend their Yoga sessions enough, from Yin, to Pranayama, to power Vinyasa and calming guided meditation, you name it, they’ve got all bases covered.
When it comes to Bali, Ubud’s the obvious choice for Yogi’s, but after an exhausting journey followed by an unfortunate collision with a surfer, I got hooked on Canggu’s natural charm, ideal for Yogi’s and surfers alike. I practiced at Samadi Bali most mornings, specializing in Ashtanga they also offered Hatha Yoga, Yoga therapy, Yoga for surfing and Yin yoga.
I completed a week on the idyllic isle, home to the cleanest beaches in Europe with Jacqueline Hayden, working on the scientific and neuro muscular benefits of daily yoga practice. We practiced morning and evening with the yoga shala being a stone throw from the beach. It was great for re-calibrating body and mind with 7km of coastline to explore on foot in-between.
Causing a bit of a buzz in the world of Yoga, pro surfer Alan Stokes and his fiancé expert Yoga teacher Philly Lewis have set up Wild and Free retreats, with their 2nd stop being a little haven they’ve found near Costa Rica’s Playa Carmen beach. With an unapologetic, laid back and happy ethos, the pair offer a refreshing approach to Yoga, surfing and wellness that’ll leave you feeling refreshed, detoxified and above all happy. This one’s not to be missed and places are booking up fast