I’ve just discovered peak bliss. It’s here, mid-way through my second chaturanga, overlooking the waves as the sun rises over Belongil Beach.
Lucy Bode (Women’s Health)
I’ve been practicing yoga and Pilates on-and-off for a few years now, but it’s only recently that I feel like I’ve finally found my flow. You see, just over 12 months ago, my partner and I traded in the bustling Bondi bubble for a slower-paced life in beautiful Byron Bay. On paper, it was an easy transition (less traffic, more turmeric lattes) but my enthusiasm quickly turned to overwhelm with one *tiny* realisation: I would need to start everything from scratch – make friends, find work, adjust to an entirely new city.
Practising yoga and Pilates in Byron Bay
In an effort to establish a routine and meet like-minded people, I forced myself to roll out my mat or hit up the reformer bed daily. Sometimes this was a simple but sweaty vinyasa or soul-soothing yin class before bed. The benefits of regularly practicing yoga in Byron Bay were obvious (Flexibility! More energy! General human interaction!) but there have been other unexpected perks too…
I’m more productive
Working from home full-time definitely has its challenges (there’s always washing to be done or the entire contents of the pantry to be eaten.) But I’ve found that on the days that I prioritise moving my body – even if it’s just a quick desk-side sun salutation – I am so much more efficient at ticking things off the to-do list. Plus, I find it easier to concentrate and tap into my creativity. The reason? Dynamic yoga poses get the heart pumping and increase blood circulation, which helps to improve the functioning of the brain.
I feel more capable
Nothing boosts the confidence-levels like adding an extra spring to the reformer bed. That’s an indisputable fact. Not only has reformer Pilates given me a new appreciation for where my body’s limits lie (cheers, side planks!) my posture, balance, core strength, tone and endurance has improved because of Pilates practice. This can be credited to the resistance the reformer adds to each movement, which leads to longer, leaner muscles (minus any bulk.)
My mental clutter has cleared
As a self-confessed worrywart, this one’s a biggie for me: both yoga and Pilates are centred upon awareness of the breath. This can be hugely helpful in managing stress and anxiety, as it lowers the heart rate, blood pressure and triggers the relaxation response in the body. This means I’m able to stay in the moment, rather than focus my energy on my overflowing inbox. Win.
I’ve found my community
The Byron yoga scene is huge. Whether you’re a newbie to yin or a vinyasa flow pro, you’re bound to find a class or workshop to suit your interests and abilities. I arrived in Byron not knowing a single soul (aside from my SO.) But I’ve since made many meaningful connections with fellow students and instructors through our common bond: yoga.
I’m spending more time in nature
Google ‘beach yoga Byron Bay’ and you’ll find tons of epic places to get your ‘om’ on outdoors – be it Clarke’s Beach, The Pass or even the steps of the lighthouse. Beautiful scenery aside, mixing up your location can actually enhance your yoga practice: unstable ground (e.g. sand and grass) makes the muscles work harder to balance. What’s more, being outside stimulates the senses (scent, sight and touch) which, in turn, activates the part of the brain that makes us more present.
Written by Lucy Bode, digital editor at Women’s Health. BodyMindLife Byron Bay is opening March 2020. Sign up to stay in the loop!