My husband and I are among the lucky ones who were able to travel by small boat around the world. We spent 14 years completing our circumnavigation, working as we traveled to keep our dream alive. It was the adventure of a lifetime and we still pinch ourselves that we got to do it. After ten years of working and stressing back in Seattle we decided to give it one last shot and head offshore again; this time to Mexico.
As I was mentally preparing to go I was sad that I'd leave my yoga classes behind. I loved my instructor, Christina Ellis, and wondered how I could continue my practice on the boat. As I thought about it I began to realize that there were probably plenty of poses that could be done in the cramped quarters of our 33 foot boat. Then I had a thought; why not put together a book that would help me and others incorporate yoga into our boating lives? And so this project was born. Our goal is simply to help boaters enhance their time on the water through improved strength, flexibility, balance and awareness of themselves through yoga.
Most boaters have only a relatively short time to get away: jobs, kids, the normal trappings of everyday life keep us on land far too many weeks of the year. By the time we do manage to go boating we find ourselves in a hurry to relax! I have found that starting or ending each day with a half hour of yoga helps me get into a better frame of mind to enjoy my time on the water.
If you are fortunate enough to go cruising for extended periods of time, then yoga can play a larger role in your life aboard. The benefits are both physical and spiritual. Yoga is a great muscle toner, it improves flexibility and balance; all extremely important on a boat. Many cruisers develop back problems due to all the lifting, bending and contorting they do. Yoga strengthens the core, which will help eliminate many back problems.
On the spiritual side, yoga is about breath and meditation. In our normal lives it's difficult to find time to think. Boating can and should give us time to unwind and perhaps explore our inner selves; otherwise we may as well be on an airplane. My goal is to help boaters more deeply appreciate the journey by giving themselves the gift of time for themselves. Yoga can provide the base for a more rewarding experience.
If you practice yoga as part of your normal routine, these poses will be familiar to you. If so I hope this book provides a nudge that you can take yoga with you. If yoga is not a part of your life, perhaps being aboard will give you the chance to explore yoga for the first time.
Christina Ellis lives in Seattle with her two cats and most of her band, The Hoot Hoots. She fell deeply in love with yoga while in graduate school for Physics and became a yoga teacher in order to pass on her love of yoga to others. Read more about her practice at letlooseyoga.com
Benjamin Wyatt is a photographer, musician, business owner, and multi-media specialist who lives in Seattle with his golden retriever. He spends his free time composing, traveling, and sweeping up dog hair. Contact him at wyattseattle.com