Most of us in the Western world imagine yoga as something to be done in a studio with polished wooden floors with foam mats spread out and maybe even a wall-length mirror.
But of course yoga got along fine for the last 7000 years or so without any of that.
But these days when people go on yoga retreats in Morocco or anywhere else they generally expect to be pampered (pampering is even a word they use to market the yoga holidays) and generally kept far from the noise, dirt and chaos that is Morocco. Give them mint tea, a carpet and a smiling man in a fes and they’re happy.
And that’s fine.
On our yoga retreat, however, we have slightly more challenging conditions to deal with as we wake up early enough to make asanas before the sun climbs too high in the sky. The sand gets everywhere, the ground literally moves beneath your feet and there’s no such thing as a perfectly flat surface.
And it’s great.
Not just because each moment you’re making yoga in the Sahara you’re thinking hey, I’m in the Sahara – check out the dunes! but also because you don’t leave the yoga studio to then jump on the metro back home, answering your messages as the carriage sways from side to side. When we finish the morning yoga sessions on the retreat we remain in a conscious, calm state, aware of our bodies and changing thoughts, and we keep that focus through the day until the afternoon dance sessions, and through to the meditation at sunset up on the high dunes.
And there’s no one wearing a fes in sight.