Yoga in Playa del Carmen: A Reunion

I’ve been recently reunited with yoga in Playa del Carmen and I’m reminded of what a tumultuous relationship we’ve had over the last ten years or so. After taking up yoga as a dancer in my early twenties in order to improve my flexibility and strength, I’ve since meandered back and forth from the relationship, either obsessing over it like a lover, or abandoning it like a forgotten dusty book.

But somehow, it has always been a part of my life, from Perth to London, Southeast Asia to India and now, Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Yoga in India

Taking a yoga class in Varanasi, India, 2010

Yoga Cambodia

Koh Tonsay, Cambodia, 2012. The dogs teach yoga there as well as doing the dishes

Yoga mat

Forgotten yoga mat gathering dust, Udaipur, India 2013

I’ve dabbled in Iyenga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Bikram with varying degrees of intensity at different stages of my life. I remember one class about two years ago when it finally ‘clicked’ and I was like, “aah, so that’s what they’ve been talking about all these years.” For the first time, I was able to focus on my breath and become present in the moment (which is no mean feat for a jabbering mind like mine).

It only took eight years…

Our travels over the last year have been almost devoid of yoga, save for a short, two-day meditation retreat I attended in Thailand, and a few self-practice sessions here and there. In Goa I thought I would be getting my yoga on, but was a bit put off by the ‘scene’ there. It’s one of those things where the longer you’re away, the harder it is to get back into. I became a little jaded and picky about the teachers, so avoided classes in favour of developing my own yoga/mediation practice.

The reality was, however, that I lacked the discipline to make that happen more than a couple of times during my stay.

So when we returned to Mexico this time, it was high on my priority list to re-acquaint myself with my neglected friend, Yoga. I researched some schools, read about the teachers, compared prices, and prepared a short-list. Whilst there is a wide range of yoga in Playa del Carmen, there is also great variation between ‘local’ and ‘tourist’ prices, and since I sit somewhere in the middle, I was mindful of not spending too much.

I didn’t want anything cliquey or wanky either. I had attended one class of yoga in Playa del Carmen at a gym last time we were here, but had been so put off by the egotistic male teacher that I vowed never to return. He spoke mostly in Spanish (which was fine), but singled me out for taking half a second longer than everyone else to reach a pose (since he didn’t actually do any of them himself, I had to look to the other students to figure out what was next).

“Left foot Sarah! Is that your left? Is my English no good?!” he’d say to me in a mocking tone, which infuriated me and made me want to throttle him.

Then during the relaxation time at the end of the class, he gave me a long neck massage which was slightly creepier than it was good.

When I accompanied Tyrhone to join the gym this time, I was adamant that I wasn’t joining, because a) I disliked the yoga teacher, and b) the classes were in the evening and I prefer to do yoga in the morning. We picked up a timetable and asked about membership prices, then went to check out another gym we had seen just in case they happened to be cheaper, though I was doubtful considering it’s location within a luxury resort.

Luckily we did, because it was $100 less for an annual membership and had a range of classes that completely blew me away.

“Is that included? Is that included? Surely that’s not included?” I asked the girl behind the desk, whilst I looked over the timetable, unable to conceive that they had over sixteen yoga classes per week at times that suited me, plus an impressive array of others, including Pilates, Aquatone (conducted in a nearby luxury resort’s pool), Kickboxing, Cuban Salsa (eek!) and more.

They were all included in the price of membership (about $10 per week), as well as Yoga on the beach on Saturdays and Tai Chi on the beach on Sundays.

Yoga in Playa del Carmen

A fitting setting for yoga on the beach

Yoga in Playa del Carmen

Triangle pose!

I took a risk by joining up without trying out any of the classes, but thankfully it paid off. Monday will mark two weeks since we joined, and although I have struggled a little with finding the motivation to get up at 7 am every morning for the 8 am class, I have been rewarded with some of the most amazing, varied yoga classes taught by fantastic teachers. I also get to improve my Spanish skills, since most of the classes are en Espanol.

My muscles definitely felt it during the first week, but now feel much more energized and positive, especially immediately after each class. I’m noticing my strength increasing, as well as my ability stay present and focused on my breath (the idea being that this will extend through to all parts of my life and make me generally more present and content!).

El Taj Resort Pool Playa del Carmen

Cooling off at the Aquatone class at the El Taj resort (which is included!), just to mix things up.

It feels really good to be re-united with my old friend Yoga – which actually means union; of the body, mind and spirit. I hope it’s the beginning of a long and happy life together.

Yoga Playa del Carmen Buddha

Some links you may find useful if looking for Yoga in Playa del Carmen:

The Gym (where we are members)

Dharma Yoga

Yoga by the Way

Posada Suuk

Yoga By The Sea

While I’ve been at yoga, Tyrhone’s been hitting the gym. I’ve really enjoyed his From Fat to Fit  posts, and thought you might enjoy them too!

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Yoga in Playa del Carmen: A Reunion — 24 Comments

  1. Great to hear that you have reunited with yoga Sarah! And what a great way to start the day with morning yoga on the beach! I’m fairly new to it myself. Tried it out for the first time about 1,5 year ago and for the first 15 times I felt as nothing but a giant elephant. I still do sometimes…but now I’ve also really started to appreciate it, but it will probably take me a few years to get the whole breathing thing down…
    Pernilla recently posted..3 iconic things to do on a lazy summer day in MelbourneMy Profile

    • Hi Pernilla! Lovely to hear from you, it’s such an amazing practice but like everything, people attach a lot of stuff to it like image etc. It’s only taken me ten years to let go of all that, but hey, it’s all part of the process hey? :)

  2. I am generally crap at keeping to any kind of fitness routine, whether that be physical or mental. When we left on our trip, I said I wanted to do my daily mindfulness meditation each morning to start the day off right… I’ve probably only managed it 10 times or less despite being on the road for 6+ months now!

    But now is always the right time to start fresh and try again! I’m really glad you’ve been able to get back into this aspect of your life that you find so centering and rewarding. I’ve never tried yoga before, but after pulling a muscle in my ab last week that left me in pain for days (I kept saying to Tony, “My guts are falling out!”), I vowed that once it healed, I would give it a try to see if I could start building my strength. This post is just the kick in the pants I needed to give it a try! 😀
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..You’ve Gotta Know When to Fold ‘EmMy Profile

    • Hi Steph, I really wanted to get into a meditation routine too, but wasn’t having much luck. I’m finding the physical practice of yoga extremely conducive to meditation and mindfulness, like a daily re-boot. All yoga teachers are not made equal but I hope you find a good one some where on your travels :)

  3. I’m actually just returning to yoga myself. I practice vinyasa at a little studio about a mile from my house. They offer $5 hour-long classes 3 times a week and my goal for March is to go 3 times a week. I absolutely love it there because I walk away feeling like I worked hard in body and soul. So why do I take such huge breaks from it when it makes me feel so good? I have no idea.

    • Wow, $5 is really good value, my classes are also an hour long, short by most standards but I really like it. I don’t know what it is, I didn’t want to go this morning, but I did and of course, feel great for it… :) It’s just so worthwhile, and such a gift to give ourselves (all tied to that self-love stuff), so let’s do it!!!

  4. Wow, you have sold it to me! I have been thinking about Yoga for a while now but did not where to begin.

    Although I don’t want a perv giving me neck massages!

    Now yoga on the beach ticks my box even at 08:00!

    Take care,


  5. I am so bad at keeping to any kind of fitness regime-having said that I have been to the gym twice a week for the past three months as part of an Everest Basecamp training regime. But only because I am married to a sports freak who forces me to go. 😉 I tried yoga about 5 years ago in London, but found it very frustrating as everything was so slow, I am ridiculously inflexible and impatient. Would love to try it again though now that I am wiser and older and increasingly more inflexible, but classes here in Cambodia are incredibly expensive at $5-10 per session. Darn those expact yoga instructors.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Koh Kong in picturesMy Profile

    • Hey Tammy, firstly, Everest Base Camp!! That’s awesome, Tyrhone and I did it in 2008, and it was amazing. My advice, keep at it at the gym, you won’t regret it, and when you are climbing up to Namche Bazaar on about day 2, think of me!! Also yoga will be great as it will help with your breathing. I’m excited for you!!

  6. That’s fab news that you’ve got back on the yoga train Sarah! I’ve been missing yoga dearly since being on my travels. I had all the intentions in the world of getting up a couple of mornings each week to do it, but in reality has been more a case of all talk and no action!

    I’ll be in Playa del Carmen in a couple of weeks so might have to pop in and do a class at the gym you recommended! Cheers for the post!
    Brigid recently posted..Joining the 1000-1000 Blog ChallengeMy Profile

    • It is hard to commit, to one place, to yoga, to a dream, especially if you have a short attention span like me :) But I think the results are worthwhile… all the best Jill :)

  7. Enjoyed your March blog and good for you for doing yoga on the beach! Always good to read you…lol!
    Love and hugs, Michele