One of the best things about yoga is that it can be practised anywhere: at the gym, in the living room, in the park. It’s almost a case of ‘have mat will travel’. But there’s no denying that your surroundings can affect your session, and stretching next to a building site isn’t going to help your search for inner peace.
I’ve practised yoga for twenty years, and for the last seven have been lucky enough to live in Merzouga, on the edge of the Sahara desert. I can guarantee that there is nowhere like it in the world for an amazing yoga experience.
- Sight – This is a landscape unlike any other. As you perform your desert yoga, rich blue skies stretch over soft golden sands as far as the eye can see. Wind-formed dunes rise up to astonishing heights, and there’s no sign of man’s intrusion on nature anywhere. When the sun sets, look upwards to a sky filled with more stars than you’ll have ever seen in your life.
- Sound – This far from towns, cities and roads there is a wonderful silence that lies across the desert, broken only by the sounds of nature: the wind, the occasional bird and, if you’re really lucky, the sound of the desert itself. This mysterious noise can take the form of a deep roaring, a whistling sound, squeaking or humming. It’s a noise that I’ve only heard three times, but each time it’s been absolutely magical.
- Sand – Doing desert yoga on sand is a whole new experience to practising on a hard wooden floor or grass. The sand shifts underneath you, forcing you to work harder to hold your poses. At the same time it acts as a cushion, making kneeling poses and headstands a lot less painful!
- Time – You escape the tyranny of the clock when you enter the desert. There are no appointments, no alarms, no rushing. Simply start when you’re ready and stop when you like. You have no idea how good it is to practise yoga without having to keep one eye on the time.