"WOW what an unforgettable experience!

Trikonasana long shadow at dawn copyright www.woodburnphoto.co.zaFunky dolphin copyright www.woodburnphoto.co.za

Not only was I blessed to be in one of the most unspoilt places I have seen in a long time, but I got to share its natural beauty with great friends, a pod or two of inquisitive wild dolphins and a group of majestic hump-back whales.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience , from sleeping with the roar of the ocean just meters away, the delicious meals laid on by the wonderful people at Ponta Mamoli, Mozambique, the cocktails on the beach, the invigorating yoga classes on the deck and the surreal interaction between human and dolphin.

We set out early in the mornings in search of dolphins, not always with great success, but we always saw something.  Paul almost fell out the boat on the first day - sitting staring at the horizon at sunrise the stillness was broken by his shrieks of delight.  A full grown hump-back whale had just breeched, right in his view. We all missed it - so with great anticipation we watched for the next move. Then as if performing for us, a huge whale pushed her entire body out of the water. She was close enough for us to be able to see the barnacles on her nose.

The next morning the dolphins appeared, like magic, darting around the boat as if they were welcoming us to their home. We slipped in as quietly as we could and headed off in their general direction. Suddenly a dolphin came swimming straight towards me. It stopped, gave me the once over and with one flick of its tail moved on and did exactly the same thing to Paul. One of the things that really struck me was that even after they had moved off we could still hear their voices carrying through the water. It was an experience I will never forget.

I can't tell you how long I have been trying to get Paul to come to yoga with me.  It took a journey to such a special place for him and two of my friends to open their minds and their bodies to the beauty of yoga.  Thank you Clara for everything that you put into it.

My weekend at Ponta Mamoli truly made me feel alive again."

Karen Ter Morshuizen, 
( L U N A R                        Yoga Warrior Dolphin Retreat Attendee 2006

Yoga Warriors in flow on the pool deck, Ponta Mamoli copyright www.woodburnphoto.co.za

What can I say?  For Andrew and I Yoga Warrior's Dolphin Retreat 2006 really was a special weekend full of magical moments on the ocean and the yoga mat.  As on all Yoga Warrior's retreats, the group's chemistry was what made all the activities fun whether it was yoga in the rain, swimming with dolphins or whales breaching in the Indian Ocean.

After the trek from Jozi to Ponta Mamoli, Mozambique, it's such a blessing to feel the sea air on your skin and fill your lungs with this fresher pure air.  Surprisingly the light rain soon after arriving, during our first restorative yoga class added to that intoxicatication, cleansing the body and mind of the grime of the city.  We all had an early night after a long day, full of anticipation for the dawn dolphin encounter launches.

I've been out on dolphin encounter launches several times now with my ocean guru husband, Andrew.  I understand that the ocean is like the bush, WILD.  When you have a good sighting of lionesses with their cubs, you're one of the fortunate ones.  It's just the same on the ocean, I scuba dive and have been very fortunate to see some incredible species under the surface but it's luck and has to fill the memory banks because it's never guaranteed that you'll see anything.  There must have been something in the energy of this nature-loving group of people as on this weekend the sea was alive with LIFE.

Clara swimming with the dolphins copyright www.woodburnphoto.co.za

On the first morning we went out on the ocean even though the sea was a bit moody that day.  We turned the corner from Ponta Mamoli and there playing in the surf must have been about 15 wild bottlenose dolphins.  It was obvious the sea had not perturbed the dolphins from their fun, during our dolphin encounter , swimming with dolphins, they were engaging with us, twirling around and locking eye contact.  For a first date it was an intimate and was the beautiful experience I had wished for all my Yoga Warriors.  I couldn't believe our luck on the very first launch.  But this magic continued and the second launch had a dolphin encounter also through the waves.  Over the next few days we exclaimed in unison when humpback whales breached on the sunny horizon, saw Mother whales harbouring their calves and one time they even came close enough to the boat for me to slide in and watch the splendour of these powerful mammals move gracefully by.  Turtles, a particular favourite of mine (due to a nickname I assumed at university), came up to the surface to gulp the sweet air and then duck dived on their flippers to the ocean floor.

Watching the crescent of a dolphin breaking the surface of water is a thrilling sight enough, but everyone on this yoga retreat had an enchanting dolphin encounter snorkelling and watching the dolphins swimming in their playground.  This included even those who began the weekend too fearful to enter the ocean to swim with dolphins.

Yogini freediving to dolphin party copyright www.woodburnphoto.co.za

This isn't your typical yoga retreat, with the intensity of hours of yoga, so the days were spent chilling.  Don't get me wrong though we all love yoga, but what could be better than spending the day in paradise WITH your yoga teacher in residence to put the silver lining on your day towards sunset.  In the late afternoon as the sun was setting, we gathered in our Warrior Circle to practice a juicy yoga flow, our muscles loose from the calm day and the warmth of the sun, so we could step forward on the yoga path over the weekend, and take our yoga practice deeper.  Thanks to Carey who took us under the trees, one evening, on an interesting but peaceful meditation journey.

Romantic horse riding in the surf, Ponta Mamoli copyright www.woodburnphoto.co.za

The rest of the yoga dolphin weekend was spent resting, eating light tasty meals together and having a margerita or two ;-)  Some of the group were scuba divers so after breakfast they would go out on the ocean again to explore coral gardens and swim throughs.  On their return they shared their adventures as well as their imagery of the trip, taking advantage of their resident critic and underwater photography expert, Andrew.   While others took a romantic saunter on horseback along the shore with the resident horse whisperer, who didn't disappoint with his Robert Redford quality looks!

The weekend ended with new friendships formed and memories to last a lifetime.  Thank you to my Yoga Warriors for making the pursuit of my yoga passion so profoundly rewarding.


PS To see more of my husband's stunning imagery from the trip, please click here

Fresh Footprints at dawn, Ponta Mamoli copyright www.woodburnphoto.co.za