The Yoga of Surrender
Sayulita is a small, laid-back fishing village about 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It’s the perfect place for a honeymoon if you just want to be on a tropical beach and do as little as possible.
In our vast, open schedule, I imagined we would find time for lots of yoga classes, but that was not to be. First, there was the food poisoning—from the airport in Salt Lake City, which struck before we even landed. Then, I got the kind of cold that hits when you can finally let down your guard after a stressful event (like a wedding). My sweet husband tried to help by fixing us each one of those emergency vitamin drinks, but he used water from the tap. There’s a reason you don’t want to do that in Mexico.
It seemed the universe was reinforcing my “do as little as possible” mantra, just not in the way I had envisioned. Luckily, we met a local yoga instructor, Tanis Hofmann, who came to our room for a private restorative class on our balcony. She brought along mats, blocks and straps, and led us in cleansing twists and long-held poses. I love hearing how different teachers cue poses. For Vrksasana, we turned toward a thicket of palm trees with graceful fronds. Tanis invited us to notice the way they moved in the gentle wind, flowing sideways. We became fluid trees, rooted, yet not rigid. That Savasana to the sound of the waves as the sun set was the best rest I’d had since well before the wedding.
Tanis drew us a map and shared some insider tips on places to explore. On one of our better (less sick) days, we took a walk. Just past our hotel, a dirt road forked uphill through a shady cemetery. We passed moss-covered tombs on our way to Playa De Los Muertos, a beautiful cove with clear water.
We wanted to check out Haramara, an off-the-grid retreat center (imagine oceanside thatched huts with no electricity), and maybe take a yoga class. With the map as a guide, we trudged along a winding cobblestone road, past land crabs, iguanas, and noisy chachalacas. Haramara’s expansive grounds were surrounded by walls. While probably great for a private, exotic retreat, it didn’t appear very inviting for a drop in, so we kept walking.
Just when it seemed we might be lost in the jungle, we saw the ocean through the trees, and there it was—a pristine, secluded beach. Across the sand, a couple sat at a table encircled by rose petals. Just then, a man walked up and asked if he could help us. “Where in the world are we?” I asked, incredulously. “Playa Escondida,” he said. Luckily, we were able to have dinner as the sun was setting before taking a cab home through the now-dark jungle. Playa Escondida has yoga classes almost every morning, if you’re lucky enough to find your way there.
Yoga seemed to be everywhere in Sayulita. Even our hotel, Villa Amor, sometimes hosts retreats for Via Yoga and others. Summer is the off season, so although it’s hotter and even more humid in Sayulita then, it’s much less expensive and less crowded. I’d love to go back and swim in the 85-degree water, catch a glimpse of dolphins and whales, and eat fish tacos. This time, I won’t drink the tap water.