Listen to the ocean waves as you move through calming yin yoga poses
“If you spot a dolphin during class your next session is free of charge,” says Sasha Hawley, founder and teacher at Bondi’s Yoga by the Sea on a Sunday morning. Hawley’s offer gets a giggle from the locals and tourists trying to hold their balance in tree pose as they squint into the morning sun and focus on the horizon – but she’s totally serious. “We see so many! We like to keep the students’ eye-line on the ocean. It’s been proven to relax the brain waves and it helps nurture the practice,” says Hawley, who’s been practising yoga for 15 years. “Here you have the added distractions of being splashed by the waves, and there’s a lot of energy moving around the pool but that’s also its charm. The fresh air is incredibly beneficial.”
Hawley’s teaching style is more sports science than Mysore, but her roster of teachers varies from those who use chants to open and close the class to those who describe the medical benefits of each posture. “We get a lot of people with aches and pains, injuries, and pregnant and postnatal ladies. We’ve taught professional sports teams like the Roosters, the NSW cricket team, soccer FC and even Australia’s Next Top Models down here. Everyone comes for a different reason but essentially what they find is a sense of balance, physically and emotionally, and a sense that they’ve re-harmonised with nature.”
The Icebergs crowd tends to include travellers, locals who enjoy being out in the sun and during the winter months (when you’re likely to spot whales out at sea) they see more mums with their kids (under 10s come for free). “It’s a lot of people who don’t mind sharing the space. That’s what Bondi is all about – sharing the waves, the beach, the cafés – thankfully, it’s big enough to fit us all.”
Yoga by the Sea also runs classes at Bronte and Tamarama and their class passes can be used across all three beachside locations. It gets busy and sweatier in summer, so it’s advised to bring sun protection – however, mats are supplied at all venues.