Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in India. At least it is according to Wikipedia. To me it just looked like a bunch of weird uncomfortable poses. Until one September day when I was invited to try it out by Melinda of Joga SXM, the newest yoga studio on the island.
I immediately jumped at the opportunity to try out this phenomenon called yoga. I’ve heard so much about how it’s suppose to enlighten you and how it is both physical and emotional. Why not, I thought. Especially now that I am “searching” for myself.
I arrived at the studio located in Cole Bay at 11:45 am ready for my first ever yoga class. I dressed in what I thought would be the appropriate outfit. I was a bit apprehensive though about the time my class would start. Yoga classes at midday in a non air-conditioned room in the middle of the hottest month of the year did not sound comfortable at all. But I was ready for combat. Cold water bottle in hand, I was ready to do this. I was ready to tame the beast.
The studio is located on the second floor of a building next door to a day spa overlooking the Simpson bay lagoon. Down on the first floor is a dinghy dock which makes the studio accessible by boat. A nice breeze fills the outdoor deck and gently wafts through the studio. It is actually incredibly pleasant and not the least bit hot.
Joga Studio SXM opened its doors in April of this year by good friends Melinda and Jolanda. Both ladies have been calling St. Maarten their home for over 20 years. The idea of the yoga studio started when these two island girls realized that there was no central place where all yoga teachers on the island could come together to learn from one another and give classes. Before the studio opened its doors classes used to be given all over the place, on the beach, in someone’s backyard or at a gym. Joga SXM makes it possible to take classes in different levels of yoga like hot yoga, power yoga as well as pilates but also features a healthy kitchen ran by Leigh Elmes, which offers delicious gluten free, paleo specials, vegan or vegetarian dishes as well as nut milks, scrumptious heathy deserts and the ever so popular cold pressed juices. The studio will start with meditation classes in November and will follow with yoga for kids. But going back to my first yoga experience…..
There I was dressed for yoga and in walked Deanna, teacher for that day’s beginners class. I remember thinking that If yoga can make me look like that, sign me up for the rest of my life. Deanna from Toronto, Canada started doing yoga at age 17 and by the time she was 20 she was teaching this practice to beginners and experienced yoga enthusiasts. A dancer from a very early age Deanna fell hard for Power Yoga because it reminded her of dance.
In class she started us with some relaxation poses and gradually moved to some more intense positions with strange names like the Down Dog Pose. The poses were easy enough to follow and I was amazed that I was able to keep up. Especially since I haven’t exercised in donkey years and was as agile as a cow. Getting up from my bed in the morning was exercise enough and my joints screamed in protest every time I did so.
Deanna explained about the poses as she showed us what to do. Her voice was soothing and calming. Like a mother putting her baby to sleep. She explained how it was easy to get caught up in everyday life and pulled out of your center. We are always in action, she explained, but yoga makes us unravel and undo and makes it possible for us to move forward. It makes us take a minute to let the body be still and it quiets the mind. You start to feel the body and you pay attention to your breathing. It pulls you into your present moment. When you’re more present and less distracted you can be the best version of yourself.
As I’m listening to her talk about yoga and what it does to our body and soul the most unexpected thing happened. Tears were trailing down my cheeks. For a moment I thought the roof was leaking. Where the hell did this water come from? It took me a second to realize I was actually crying. I was so immersed in her words and I was so relaxed and focused on my body and my breathing that I didn’t feel my silent tears. I embarrassingly wiped them away and continued my attempt at balancing on one hand.
Needless to say I left Joga SXM that day feeling like a new person. I felt rejuvenated. Like my re-start button was just activated. It was an amazing experience by a young but very capable teacher. I immediately paid for 5 classes in advance and cannot wait to return to Joga SXM.
For more information visit Joga SXM.
This review is based on my own personal experience at Joga Studio SXM.