It was early Thursday evening and it had been another busy day, leaving me feeling exhausted and drained. As I took my place on the yoga mat at Don Pedro’s Brisa Mar Palapain Sayulita, I could feel the day’s stress already start to melt away. A gentle, cool breeze, the scent of incense, and the sound of waves hitting the shore further enhanced my relaxation as I prepared for my first private yin yoga class with Eva Estlander Yoga, in which she is in high demand.
Eva explained that yin yoga is about relaxing the body, not activating the muscles. It’s about working with the body’s connective tissue, which is a thick, white layer of tissue that holds the parts of the body together. It’s about finding your edge, how deep you can go in a pose (most focusing on the hips, glutes, and inner thighs), without feeling any pain or tingling. It’s about using your breath to move deeper into each pose, which is held between two and eight minutes. Relaxation in yin yoga is the ultimate goal, offering a nice balance from the active lifestyle in which most of live.
For the first pose, Eva had me lie on my back, a yoga bolster placed under my knees, my arms spread out on each side. Her soft, gentle voice acted as a meditative guide as she had me visualize a bright orange wheel of light filling my body and spinning as I inhaled, tension leaving my body as I exhaled. She explained that the body has seven main chakras (energy centers), and that two of them are the main focus in yin yoga: The root chakra at the base of the spine (represents feeling supported and grounded) and the sacral chakra just beneath the naval (represents creativity and sexuality).
Throughout my private class with Eva Estlander Yoga, I felt extremely relaxed as Eva guided me through the poses, which included pigeon, cow, half moon, and more. Eva was very attentive, offering gentle adjustments as needed, which further enhanced the experience. For the straddle pose, she encouraged me do three levels of stretching, which was made possible by utilizing a yoga bolster, yoga block, and a blanket. Each pose offered a nice stretch as I found stillness and enjoyed the solitude of the practice.
During the final pose, savasana, Eva incorporated two natural oils, which are made for the elements of the chakras in which we focused during the class. The scent of orange, as well as a nutmeg mix filled the air, as the sound of a singing bowl and hand drums created beautiful, inviting tones. Eva gently pushed on my shoulders and arms and massaged my temples and between my eyes as I lay on the mat completely relaxed and feeling rejuvenated. The sun had set, the night was silent, and I couldn’t have felt better.