My second home in Australia was at one of the beaches a few miles north of Cairns. The closest and most convenient yoga class was with Hartig Yoga at Palm Cove, the nearest little tourist centre (with shops and cafes) a mile or so up the beach.

It is pretty stunning to turn up to a yoga class to be met with this setting:

The owner of the class was actually away for a few weeks so the first 2 classes I attended were with her cover, a newly qualified teacher called Kirsty. She did a gentle and fairly slow class, with all very basic and standard postures. This is in no way a criticism as it is good for beginner teachers to get to grips with the basic postures first but also it is good for more advanced students to reign themselves in and go back to basics.

It was actually remarkably surprising how difficult it is to maintain focus in an outside class on the beach with people wandering past, the waves crashing on the beach, cars driving nearby, and wind pummeling the trees.

When you are trying to do a tree balance, and the fixed point of focus keeps moving around in the breeze, it takes a whole different zone of focus to stay standing.

The ground was bumpy under my mat, and actually, the mat was really slippery which also added to the difficulty!

What an amazing lesson in letting those things go. I needed a lot of discipline to keep my mind on the class. But then by the end I felt much better for it.

My third class was actually with Beth, the owner of the class, and a fellow Brit. It was surprisingly nice to have a British voice to guide the class, and her class was a different pace again. We had some good sun salutations with variations for a gentle flowing start, and then finished up with a yin posture.

Being a sunset class, meant that the Yin posture made much more sense, but against the wind was ridiculously strong. My hair was blowing all over my face. My clothes were rucking up. My mat was lumpy, I couldn’t see through my hair. But this time I was armed with steelier resolve and I just let my hair hang in my eyes, and I just worked through. I went inward. I spent quite a lot of the class with my eyes closed.

And I really came out of it feeling a deep sense of calm.

Post-yoga coffee in Palm Cove.