Yoga with a view
There’s something about Bornholm – a unique atmosphere, an extraordinary sensation. Besides the insistent forces of nature and the island’s granite bedrock, there’s something else that gets under your skin and washes over your consciousness. An unusual calm and connectedness that is difficult to put into words. Over the past five to ten years, more and more people from all over the world have become aware of the pervasive calm and the unique interpersonal dynamic emanating from Bornholm’s scenic countryside. This might explain why a world of yoga can be experienced on Bornholm, where yoga merges with nature. The island has a number of centres offering yoga and meditative retreats, and guided yoga classes in a natural setting are always close by. Campsites, many boutique hotels and cosy B&Bs have also joined forces with local and international yoga instructors to offer outdoor yoga classes and even yoga retreat concepts. A wide variety of yoga types, styles and methods are available across the island – all year round. Bornholm is truly an island of yoga.
Imagine taking deep breaths by the azure waters of Opal Lake surrounded by sheer cliffs, or on Dueodde’s pearly white sandy beach with views of the Baltic surf, or deep in the woods surrounded by towering trees with rays of sunshine shimmering through the swaying treetops. This is a deeply intense experience of presence and well-being for body and soul. Yoga is about getting in touch with your breathing, letting go of your thoughts, being present in the moment and focusing on movement. It derives from a 5,000-year-old Indian system of training breathing techniques, body positions and ethical and moral guidelines. This explains why yoga’s descriptions are written in Sanskrit, the ancient Indo-Aryan language of India. The purpose of yoga is to achieve samādhi, a state of meditative consciousness or redemption for yoga practitioners. Yoga postures are called ‘asanas’ and are usually named after animals and how they move. The word ‘yoga’itself means ‘to join’in the sense of uniting body and mind, and the individual and the universal. In other words, yoga is both a philosophy of life and an exercise method focused on creating inner calm, balance, self-insight and health. Needless to say, Bornholm has its very own asanas, such as Herring asana, Hammershus asanaandRocking Boulder asana.
As practised on Bornholm, yoga is not just for slim young women in fashionable yoga outfits who love taking gorgeous selfies. Yoga on the rocky island is truly for everyone, regardless of gender, age, size or experience. And you don’t have to be especially supple, beautiful or strong to join in. Yoga’s ancient wisdom is for everyone, and many people on the island practise it. All it takes is the desire for presence and focused movement. If you have this, you are ready for alignment yoga on Allinge beach, Taoist yin yoga at the remarkable wooden circles near Madseløkke or meditative yoga on Balka Beach. Or what about yoga and mindfulness on Dueodde beach, or a ‘moving into silence’ retreat with panoramic views of the Baltic from the top of Gudhjem?
If you are fond of getting up early while on holiday, you can experience yoga on the beach at the beach bar in Sandkås as the sun rises to stirring sounds of a trumpet on the beach, or vinyasa yoga on Sandvig beach to the sound of live flamenco jazz over the rocks with views of the Hammer peninsula. If you prefer a more action-packed, challenging encounter with nature, you can choose an acroyoga and rock-climbing retreat at Ørnebjergkysten along the Hammer peninsula coast or at a rift valley in the Paradisbakkerne woodlands. Or why not combine yoga with a quiet ramble from Ypnahøj through the Bornholm countryside, where you will be awestruck by the tranquillity of Døndalen valley and the foamy surf at the rocky coast. If you are fond of rural luxury, why not take part in a ‘Summer Gourmet Retreat’ with yoga on a lush lawn, surrounded by woods and wildlife in the centre of the island between Rønne and Gudhjem.
The distinctive feature of yoga Bornholm-style is precisely exploiting the amenities of nature. On Bornholm, you are invited to sense your body’s grounding in an entirely different manner than a crowded yoga studio can provide. Needless to say, there are a few precautions you need to be aware of. Despite Bornholm’s sunny reputation, it can rain occasionally. And on a warm summer’s day, you should obviously be careful not to nestle down in a swarm of insects – and make sure you close your mouth in true yoga style and breathe in through your nose.
If outdoor yoga is not your style, there are a host of other alternatives. Nexø affords a different yoga experience: aerial yoga. This uses a yoga sling suspended from the ceiling from which you can do special yoga exercises while seemingly weightless. In fickle weather and cold temperatures, it is also possible to stimulate your blood circulation with a 40°C Shiva yoga experience in an authentic ashram in a natural setting near Nylars or in Allinge’s spectacular seaside Dome. Your imagination is the only limit to where and how you can practise yoga in the Bornholm countryside. Bornholm yoga is deeply embedded in nature, absolute tranquillity and a free, unpretentious approach to the discipline. Namaste.
Aerial yoga i Nexø: friogfroyoga.dk
Bornholm yoga, Herring asana, Hammershus asana, and more: dortelisbjergyoga
The Allinge Dome, Overlooking Gudhjem: bornholmyoga.dk
Opal Lake, MediYoga and gong baths: kathrinekrake.dk
Stranden i Allinge, Alignment yoga: chrizstinna.com
Sandkås beach at sunrise to stirring trumpet reverie: steinlein-senseofspace.dk
Wooden circles, Madseløkke: yinyogabornholm.dk
Yoga with live flamenco jazz, Sandvig beach: YOGAwithSandja
Yoga and rambling, Ypnahøj: anandayoga.dk
40°C Shiva yoga in an authentic ashram in a natural setting near Nylars: damarislau.dk