According to UK Government statistics, in 2014 11.3 million working days were lost to stress or stress related conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Of course, the causes of such absences are manifold, but one of the primary reasons is believed to be people working for long periods without taking regular breaks or having proper holidays to get away from it all to relax and unwind.

Well-being and holistic holidays are something that more holidaymakers are looking into as a way to truly get away from it all, and amongst the many ideas there are for this type of break, the Yoga Cruise is one that is worth considering.

 

 

Why take a yoga cruise?


A Yoga cruise is a cruise experience that is quite different to any other and will perfectly combine the opposite notions of indulgence and discipline. The discipline from the routines and structure practising Yoga brings you. The indulgence from the relaxation and sense of well-being it will give you as you become more adept.

Some cruise lines like Star Clippers will offer specific Yoga themed cruise holidays in which the whole emphasis of the break will be centred on the pursuit. A cruise itinerary for a Yoga holiday with them will involve:

  • Dawn Yoga session. The favoured practise for them is Ashtanga Yoga. Sessions are undertaken on deck in the open air.
  • Daytime Yoga philosophy lectures. This is to aid practice and give advice on how to continue when you return home.
  • Sunset Yoga session on deck before bed time.

    As you see you’ll not only get to learn new techniques, flows and brush up your skills, but you’ll also learn about the philosophy behind the practice as well. Other lines, such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival will offer you the opportunity to try out Yoga as part of a more inclusive holiday that takes in other aspects of fitness too. We’ll explore this in a little more depth as we go on.


    The 4 Main Different Types of Yoga


    How do we define yoga, and what are the different types that you might learn about or experience on a cruise?


    Ashtanga



    Ashtanga yoga can be practised in groups, but also can be done one-to-one with practitioner and pupil. It is the safest style, and the most traditional as it opens the way for discussion and learning about different styles and poses. You can also go at your own pace and in your own time. Ashtanga yoga is a skill that ensures that you reach a calm frame of mind but also helps you to develop and tone your core strength and your body shape. Ashtanga yoga is often used by people who want to effectively manage their weight. This is also a style of yoga that is ideal for beginners, those who are trying it for the first time or unsure as to whether they will take to it or not.

    Hatha



    Hatha yoga is a practice that is probably the most gentle of all the yoga approaches, so again, perfect for beginners, in the same way Ashtanga yoga would be. This is more a simple way of finding your feet in learning the practise, it offers guided meditation combined with breathing techniques and basic yoga moves. It is believed to be one of the best forms of Yoga for all round stress reduction.


    Vinyasa



    A style of yoga best undertaken only by those with at least a rudimentary knowledge of other types of yoga, or those who have practised for a while. This is a style of yoga in which poses flow into each other and there is no time to pause and reflect between each one. It is a very physically active form of the practice. It takes its original influence from Ashtanga yoga and you might also see it called flow-yoga or dynamic yoga.

    Bikram



    This form of yoga was invented by Bikram Choudry in the 1970s. It is a simple sequence of 26 different yoga poses which are designed to flow into each other. It was designed to help core muscle strength and to cleanse body organs. Most Bikram classes are held indoors, or at least under cover, to facilitate the body’s sweating process which the founder of this movement believed would aid detoxification. In fact, there is a strict rule that classes should be run at a temperature of between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Every Bikram class runs the same 26 poses in the same sequence making it perfect for those who prefer a more structured yoga and a fierce workout.


    The Health Benefits



    Yoga is a strict discipline and requires thought and practise. The benefits to mind and body are manifold, and when learned and practised as part of an all-round holistic holiday you’ll continue to reap the rewards for a long time after you return home.

  • Improved core strength and flexibility, particularly when practising Bikram Yoga
  • Better concentration and mental well-being. Yoga encourages you to focus on what you’re doing and “be” in the moment.
  • Improved sleep and relaxation
  • Encouraging the body to detoxify itself naturally without dieting


    Which cruise lines offer Yoga as Part of their Package?



    Many of the most popular cruise lines offer Yoga on board. Taking a holiday on a Princess Cruise ship will afford you the opportunity to visit their Lotus Fitness venue. This place offers a special programme for Yoga lovers called ‘Balance’, which marries Yoga poses and deep breathing techniques to encourage a stronger connection between body and mind, which will ultimately enhance core strength.

    Azamara Cruises give their passengers a taste of what it is like to practise Yoga at sunset with their special evening classes, which take place on deck, giving you the perfect opportunity to practise in the open air, amongst the cooling sea breeze. Their Yoga classes are complimentary for anyone wishing to take them.

    Royal Caribbean has two ways in which cruise passengers can facilitate Yoga as they holiday. Firstly, they offer a Pathway to Yoga programme on board their ships. These classes are usually around 45 minutes long and have two different levels depending on the experience of the passengers. They also offer space in their fitness centres for those people who wish to practise yoga on their own.

    Finally, Carnival Cruises offer their holidaymakers perhaps the most rigorous workouts on board and the widest choice of Yoga techniques. You can simply try a little light meditative stretching, or opt for a more intense workout that will incorporate many of the elements of the most popular forms of yoga outlined earlier on. They publish their yoga schedule on their Fun Times calendar.