Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature didn’t name its eco-tourism division Wild Jordan for no reason; there is plenty of adventure to be had in the country’s great outdoors. But now yoga has merged onto the scene, offering a softer and more meditative alternative to the action-packed fun.
The Yoga in Jordan project was started in 2010 by a Russian exchange student and a Japanese physiotherapist soon after they met one another in Jordan. The immediate multiculturalism here is a nice reflection of yoga’s applicability to the world at large.
Together deciding to amp up the yoga culture in Jordan, Ivan and Toshi brought in an expert instructor hailing all the way from the source, India, for the group’s first retreat in Wadi Rum in April 2011. Almost two dozen people were there with their yoga mats on elevated mountain stages, although I bet the deep red sands below could have provided comfort, too.
Jayakumar Swamysree led the group through the project’s curriculum: Asanas, postures and poses; Pranayama, breathing techniques; Vinyasa, for flow and fitness; and Savasana, relaxation.
If Savasana wasn’t enough to get some of the yogis relaxed, the sweeping desert scenery and stunning silence of Wadi Rum were sure to do the trick.
Yoga in Jordan has since added slacklining – like tightroping except with a looser rope…and minus the circusy atmosphere – as well as hiking, kiting, and even sandsurfing to its programs in order to take full advantage of the giving environment.
For the typical yogi, class is held inside. For the person who joins an excursion with Yoga in Jordan, class is held amidst some of the most magnificent landscapes the Middle East has to offer. One can do the epic “warrior pose” in the place where Lawrence of Arabic arrived after his capture of Aqaba, or the “cobra pose” with the threat or the thrill, depending, of a snake slithering by.
Saying Namaste to nature opens up a world of benefits; Yoga in Jordan has caught onto that idea.