Yoga on Board

25 October 2011 By Rubi McGrory

Chief Stewardess Sandi, a certified yoga teacher, wanted desperately to incorporate yoga into her daily life on board, but her co-workers were too busy having a good time. “My mistake was thinking I could have some peace and quiet on the foredeck while at the dock. Everybody had something to say about it. My crew used the loudspeaker system to fake chant and anyone walking by had a snarky comment.”

Captain-and-chef team Robin and James are avid kayakers, runners, cyclists and yoga devotees. They have determined that among the options, yoga is the best exercise to try to squeeze in on board.  Robin explains, “Kayaking would be great, but let’s be realistic, with the boss on board, that will never happen. Sometimes I only get twenty or thirty minutes out of the galley. I can barely launch the kayak in that time, let alone paddle, and then shower.”

Believe it or not, yoga and yachting can be the perfect fit.

Stewardess Michelle says her goal is to see her yoga mat every day. “The floor in my cabin is just big enough to roll it out. I would rather squeeze yoga time in during a guest day than just about anything else.” Michelle loaded her iPod and computer with as many yoga podcasts as she could fit. "Yoga DVDs are okay," she notes, "But they get old quickly and take up valuable cabin space." She points out that just going into iTunes and typing in the word “yoga” will give you days worth of exercises and classes. “You have to wade through a heap of stuff, but there are podcasts there for every level, I use them to keep me on my toes when I can’t get to a regular class.”

Her fellow crewmember, Deckhand Johnno, chimes in “I’ll admit, I really thought yoga was some girly hippie thing, then Michelle and another stew dragged me to a class in the marina. I thought I was pretty fit, but it kicked my butt. Those exercises and poses are pretty hard.”

Robin and James find a hidden space on deck so no one can see them. Michelle and afellow stew were granted permission from their captain for to use open guest space (when there are no guests on board). “We approached him with a plan explaining it is our responsibility to keep that cabin clean anyway and that it wouldn’t cut into our workday. The boat isn’t always someplace where we can either get to a dock or find a yoga class. [It's] really a lifesaver.”

Sandi stresses the importance of taking yoga classes whenever you can. She agrees with Michelle in that videos are necessary to keep up your practice, but aren’t the best way to push yourself. “If you want to become better, you need to go to a [yoga] studio and take direction from someone who can see you and correct your poses, if necessary. Something about being in a class with other people is more inspiring and makes people work harder. You don’t have to think, you just follow directions and sweat.”

When asked about the hardest part of doing yoga on board, everyone agreed unanimously that the only yoga pose you can do on a bumpy crossing is Savasana, the corpse, or laying down pose.