Fairmont Maldives: Sun, sand, salutations on Intl Yoga Day

Set in the remote Shiviyani Atoll, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is one of the world’s best destinations to practice yoga.

Guests can perfect their sun salutations against a stunning Indian Ocean backdrop with resident expert, Lamy, a former gymnast, swimmer and professional in the healing discipline of yoga.

In honour of International Day of Yoga, June 21, we spoke with Lamy to learn the secrets of this fascinating, healing practice.

When did you first start practicing yoga, and why?

I started practicing yoga, almost by chance, when I was at university. Back then my daily routine was quite intense, keeping up with classes, two jobs and sports; this busy lifestyle caused me to burn out and I was diagnosed with gastritis and a rare skin condition, called Fox-Fordyce disease. I used to lift weights, run and swim. It was after one of my swimming sessions that a friend of mine introduced me to yoga, as we were stretching after the training. Being a gymnast for almost a decade, stretching wasn’t new to me and my body was capable to perform the basic yoga postures. But it was when I first combined it with meditation that my perspective changed: I was completely amazed by the power of this discipline that it quickly became a habit.

The more I practiced the more I felt the benefits: within five months my gastritis attacks became sporadic and my skin condition healed. I wanted to share the powers of yoga with others, so this is why I decided to become a yoga instructor, actually the first registered Yoga Teacher of my region, Manaus (Amazons) in Brazil.

What are the key benefits of yoga that might surprise people?

Yoga is the perfect discipline to align and balance mind and body. The practice can help with an array of stress-induced conditions that manifest as diseases or disorders – like the Fox-Fordyce disease, as it happened with me. It’s effective against migraine, gastritis, depression and anxiety.

How much yoga should we incorporate into our lives to feel the benefits?

We’re in desperate need of self-connection and holistic integration after over a year spent in lockdown. If there is a silver lining is that we’re now more aware than ever of the importance of wellness to keep us strong, healthy and centred when navigating uncertainty. I think everyone should dedicate some time every day to self-care and wellness. I do this in the form of yoga and I would recommend practicing daily, this is the quickest way to see consistent results and improve vitality and energy levels. Of course, beginners can start with a 15-min daily practice, so it’ll be easier for them to genuinely integrate yoga in their routine.

After months of working from home, people are suffering from poor posture – what are the best yoga poses to combat this?

Before I even get into how you can improve your posture with yoga, I’d recommend people to get active again and don’t let this new sedentary routine became a normality as it’s damaging for physical and mental health alike. If you happened to lose mobility and you’re struggling with posture as a result of the indoor life, I would recommend you try yoga’s restorative and grounding postures, such as spinal twist or pranayama, aka breath awareness.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start practicing yoga?

Practicing Yoga is an act of self-love. It might feel intimidating to start, especially when you join a class with people that have been practicing for a while, but I’ve been there before, and I can assure you that once you start practicing you’ll stop thinking about what others do and just get in the groove.

Look for online classes (there are so many these days), get inspired with themed books, blogs or podcasts and of course, try to find a local studio where you can attend in person lessons and meet likeminded people

Remember that yoga is a journey, a mind-body practice that is never the same. Like with fitness, listen to your body and understand when it’s appropriate to stop and rest or when you can push your limits

Don’t get disheartened if you don’t see results immediately, it doesn’t mean the practice isn’t working. It takes time to see results and part of the challenge of yoga is that it forces you to cultivate patience, listen to your body and be compassionate towards yourself

What appeals to you about the Maldives as a destination? Does it inspire mindfulness?

Settling in Maldives to teach yoga is a dream come true for me. Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is the most tranquil destination for those seeking a complete energetic reset, while taking care of their wellbeing and improving a healthy lifestyle. In the Maldives you can disconnect from the intense and stressful routine and connect with all the elements of nature: sun, sea, wind, sand.

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