My first memories of yoga are from early childhood — watching my mom cautiously explore balancing poses, moving gracefully through Sun Salutations, sitting cross-legged and letting rounds of “OM” reverberate through her body. As a cross-country runner in high school, I attended the public yoga class at Kapa’a Neighborhood Center, hiding in the back and lying in Savasana most of the time. As a young mother in my early twenties, my yoga practice helped me find my way home to my body. In my thirties, I found that yoga is an integral part of managing my lifelong journey with epilepsy. Now in my forties, I marvel at how my yoga practice continues to develop, strengthen, and deepen. Nearing fifty, I am as strong and flexible as I was in my early twenties, if not more. Being a “yoga junkie” has been the healthiest addiction in my life; bringing me a sense of community, a feeling of calm, and a body that is strong and supple.
Yoga Studios on the North Shore of Kauai
Kauai’s North Shore both attracts and fosters a counter-culture worldview. Health food stores, acai bowl food trucks, fresh juice businesses, quirky bookstores and music stores, and of course…yoga. Yoga has become so mainstream, so ubiquitous, it is practiced by young and old, weak and strong; those seeking enlightenment, those seeking physical health, stay-at-home parents, professionals, and all walks of life. There are yoga programs in the senior centers and the elementary schools. While the styles, philosophies and communities differ, what they share is an understanding of the power of practicing yoga for our physical, mental and energetic bodies.
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
As one would imagine, the North Shore of Kauai has a vibrant and varied yoga community. There are several yoga studios, all with different asana practices. My “home studio”, Waves Yoga in Princeville, where I practice and teach, is a heated yoga studio with a rigorous flow. The owner, Lulu Streltzer, is both my yoga mentor and dear friend. Her classes are challenging, soulful, hot, great playlist, and did I say HOT? Lulu weaves into her classes her deep knowledge of Eastern Philosophy, having a Masters Degree in Eastern Studies. Within the studio is a private sauna, and outside is a cold plunge pool. The reason I have been so drawn to Waves is the dynamic community of world-class surfers, yoga nomads and fitness enthusiasts. After one particularly challenging “advanced” class recently, I spoke to the gentleman who had practiced beside me. At least 6’5″, over 250 pounds of muscle, it did not surprise me when he told me he had played college football. He said that this yoga class was more challenging for his core, balance and breath than college-level football. Yogis and Yoginis from all over the world are drawn to Lulu’s edgy, fun and strength-building practice. Waves is in Princeville and is a non-profit. You can sign up for classes at www.wavesyoga.org.
In Kilauea, Metamorphose Yoga offers a variety of yoga classes in one of the historic stone buildings. Many of the classes are taught by the owner, Carol. The studio is not heated, and is a traditional vinyasa flow practice.
In Hanalei, Black Coral Yoga offers both a traditional flow in a heated studio, barre, yin and other healing modalities. Class schedule can be found at www.blackcoralyoga.com.
Other yoga classes are offered at the Makai Club in Princeville, at the Parish Hall in Kilauea, in the Princeville Park and Anaina Hou pavilion in Kilauea.
North Shore Lifestyle
Every region in Hawaii is unique, both in its landscape and its lifestyle. People are drawn to the North Shore of Kauai not only for her white sand beaches, lush sub-tropical forests, waterfalls shaping the verdant cliffs, and rainbows peeking through the clouds as the rain lifts and the sun shines. They are drawn here for the people, the food, the lifestyle and the community. They are drawn here to focus on their health, regain their sense of calm, and find a community of like-minded spirits. Yoga classes have always been a wonderful place for me to find my place, my people, no matter where I am on the planet. The yoga community on Kauai is varied, vibrant and growing. I look forward to seeing you on the mat!