For me, beaches are there to be enjoyed through some form of beach-related activity, never to simply lie on, and absolutely never for sunbathing and reading the latest thriller. Why would you want to do that……?
The frequently quoted holiday dream of the burned out 9-5 salary earner is to fill the suitcase with the latest bestsellers, fly several hours to a sun-drenched location, spending a few thousand £s in the process, only to lie on a beach sipping piña coladas and reading the latest Dan Brown…… The power of this illusionary dream is only reinforced by the frequency with which people ‘Facebrag’ with photos of themselves holding a (usually very) large glass of Pinot Grigio, gazing across a white tropical beach to an unrealistically blue seascape. The ultimate dream of the aspirational laid bare so as to make friends back in misty drizzly old Blighty envious of their good fortune. The social media equivalent of the “wish you were here” postcard…..but now we can geo-locate ourselves with pin point accuracy, and zoom in on Google maps to the very point we are sitting on the beach.
Our daughter, Rachael, is in the business of personal training, yoga teaching and Thai yoga massage, and sells a very different type of dream, but powerful nevertheless. Her classroom is frequently the beach on the Costa del Sol and, instead of the piña colada and Dan Brown, she can use the power of the environment to encourage stretching and relaxation, meditation and controlled breathing, all the while harnessing the power of the sun and the sound of the waves lapping gently against the shore.
I joined her classes immediately. No stranger to yoga, I have been practising (on and off) for nearly 30 years, but largely untutored since taking classes in the late 80s. Now I was being ‘held to account’ for some of my wayward practices, with the scrutinizing eye of my daughter to correct my posture, and adjust my movements from one Asana to another.
Although I am entirely biassed, I would say that ‘asanas on the beach’ would be an infinitely more realistic dream to promote amongst the overworked and hassled. As the sun rose over the horizon at 7.50am, I would go down to the beach and do my ‘salutation to the sun’ as it began it’s climb to its zenith….. then went off in search of a panadería (bakery) to buy my breakfast fartons……. I know what you are thinking…… but it’s the Valencian Catalan word for a pastry that comes from the small village of Alboraya…….but I loved giving the shop assistant an emphatically pronounced ¿me pones cinco fartons, por favor?