Saturday, December 29, 2007

In the Yucatan: All Yoga, All the Time


A great article in today's New York Times about Maya Tulum! Check it out:


ON this stretch of beach at the ruffled edge of the Caribbean Sea, 80 miles south of Cancún, visitors speak a language all their own, the lingo of Iyengar, ashtanga and anusara yoga. They are comfortable with entreaties to ''leave your conditioned mind at the door'' or ''melt your boundaries.'' They can balance on one leg in the warrior three pose and do a headstand, and they aspire to a full lotus. When the bell rings for meditation, they sit upright for 20 minutes, intent on the sound of their breathing.

Always a counterculture haven, this six miles of rutted road, on the Yucatán Peninsula between the Maya ruins of Tulum and the 1.3 million-acre Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, has lately become Yoga Central for tourists eager to limber their bodies and quiet their minds -- and maybe also surf the waves, sunbathe topless and sample tropical concoctions like tequila and tamarind juice.


The epicenter of this yoga zone is a 25-acre beachfront resort called Maya Tulum, which has made itself the destination of choice for high-profile yoga teachers and their students by building state-of-the-art studios, auditioning massage therapists from around the world and organizing ecotourist excursions.


And in the last 18 months, almost every hotel in the area -- there are about 20 -- has taken note of Maya Tulum's success by building yoga halls, putting massage tables under coconut palms, hiring a Maya shaman to preside at a weekly sweat lodge or offering treatments with names like Mayan Clay Body Mask With Ocean Lagoon Watsu. At any one time, there are probably more than 300 people in the yoga zone, with scores of them doing things like trying to lift themselves cross-legged from the floor with just their hands in the scale pose.


At Maya Tulum and its imitators, visiting yoga students sleep in thatched-roof cabanas, without telephones or electricity and with plumbing so delicate it can't even handle toilet paper. There is no CNN or Weather Channel. The news on any given day is whether the mangoes are sweet and the fish running. The forecast comes from the color of the sky, the crest of the waves and the wind in the palm fronds.
Now reading about this little piece of paradise warms my heart on a chilly day like today. These cold winter months will be over before we know it and myself and some lucky yogi's will be doing yoga on the beach of sunny Mexico at a magical place called Maya Tulum. Care to join?

1 comment:

Irene said...

Great article, read the entire thing. Seems that area of the world is becoming very popular, hopefully not too much so.
Can't wait to hear about your trip!
See you next week!
Irene