Kite soaring high during a sunset on kite beach.

Oceanside Livin’

There is something to be said about life next to the ocean. You don’t even have to be doing water activities or be explicitly dependent upon it in some way for it to have a profound effect. At the Extreme Hotel, everything you do is next to the ocean. You eat next to the ocean, sleep next to the ocean, trapeze next to the ocean, work out next to the ocean, read next to the ocean, talk on the phone next to the ocean. I could keep going – and those aren’t even the activities that you actually do in the ocean (i.e. kiteboard, surf, scuba, snorkel, stand up paddleboard, swim).

Kite soaring high during a sunset on kite beach.

Kite Beach.

 

A lot of the time when I am doing something next to the ocean, I am highly aware of it. It is hard to ignore a beauty so strong, the scent of salt in the air and the feeling of the ocean breeze on your skin. However, even after just being here for over a week as an intern, it is easy to slip into routine and forget that the ordinary was once extraordinary not so long ago. That being said, the amazing thing about living next to the ocean is that it constantly provides perspective – whether or not the rhythm of its crashing waves has become background noise. Something so great, so loud and so vibrant as the ocean is constantly telling you that you are merely a single, tiny human in a much greater universe.

#1Samana view

Don’t worry, it is not insulting. If anything, it’s humbling and inspiring. The ocean makes me feel small and unimportant. And once I feel small and unimportant, I start to take things less seriously. I think that I can try anything, do anything (maybe learn to kitesurf!) because in the end, I am just one small creature in this massive world.

Cabarete – A Runner’s Dream

Running in Cabarete is magical. The trick is to wake up before the heat sets in – which is not that early, only 6:15 or so. I don’t think there exists a more ideal temperature to run in. Warm enough that you don’t have to start with a long sleeve on but also hot and humid enough that when you sweat, you feel like you are working. At 6:15, Cabarete is still waking up–motorcycles and cars aren’t yet flying down the road. That wouldn’t matter anyway though because the eXtreme hotel, where I am living on Kite Beach, is located next to a somewhat hidden running path – a runner’s dream!

The path is a dirt road that is located 10-20 meters past the bus station where people wait to go to work west towards Sosua. The path rarely has any traffic–I have only seen a moto a couple of the many times I have run it. As someone coming from the northeast of America, it almost feels cliché how perfectly tropical it is. The path runs parallel to the ocean shore so as you run, the entire time you  see flashes of the picturesque crashing turquoise waves. At this time of day, around 6:30am or so, the sunrise makes silhouettes of the palm trees. Even if you are not a runner, it is worth waking up, just to walk it once.

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You can chose to end the run at Encuentro beach. It is roughly 2.5 miles. A quick turn around and return to eXtreme Hotel makes it a solid 5-mile run. However, if you’re feeling up for it, you can take off your running sneakers and go for a refreshing morning swim or early surf. It is ideal for surfing because the wind speed is typically the lowest it will be all day and the crowds haven’t yet arrived. The ocean is your oyster! After a surf, swim, body surf, SUP, or whatever ocean activity you decide upon, you can wash your feet off at one of the various surf sheds along Encuentro and run back! Alternatively, if your surfing left you too tired to finish, you can always take a motoconcho (motorcycle taxi) back for 100 pesos.

caribbean fitness camps

Cyr Wheel Balance at Rogue Fitness Cabarete

With great joy I would like to dedicate this blog to someone I recently met at Rogue Fitness Cabarete. At first glance she is a petite girl but it is soon clear that she has great strength and her gymnastic abilities can drive a chilling sensation throughout the body. Why? We all carry the potential for greatness, and if we truly desire something, incredible things can be achieved. Lea Toran Jenner is an excellent example of how with perseverance, effort and hard work incredible things can happen. Without hesitation, she stepped into a different world, not for money, but for a sense of inner contentment, fulfillment, and achievement. Testing our borders and waking up every day with a zest for life is what keeps us improving and finally enables us to inspire others and teach what we have learned.

Léa

Lea’s artistic life began in childhood, as a hyperactive 5 year old. She started with gymnastics, switched to aerobic gymnastics and eventually ended up on the German national team. At 18 years old, she represented her country at the World Championships and became part of the National Circus School of Montreal.There, she began to fulfill her lifetime dream of specializing in Cyr Wheel.

Léa balance

Here, in Cabarete, Lea is on holiday but even so she has her wheel with her. She has been training almost every day at Rogue, where she continues to practice and put us in awe. We are lucky to be getting a taste of her performance and if you would like to see what we are talking about, check out the video we took of her on youtube.

 

Not only is the Cyr Wheel incredibly fun for her, but it is also extremely strenuous and requires a lot of hard work. It is a functional training of weight shifting to keep the wheel in motion. It also combines core strength and deep stabilizing of the spinal muscles which are not seen but hold our bodies together. If you like what Lea does, don’t hesitate to visit us and we can arrange lessons for you. She is here for fourteen more days to be an inspiration for everyone. Lea teaches us to never give up and do what we love. See you guys at Rogue!

 

 

First Things First: Building a Foundation in the Yoga Loft

What is that saying…first things first? Well of course they are – it seems silly and redundant. But in a new place it can be surprisingly easy to get jumbled up and not put the right things first. I have a few weeks of adjusting to internship life under my belt and am trying to gain some traction on completing the “life” tasks (ya know…run errands, cook, do laundry, find the good coffee). Sometimes completing the smallest task in the Caribbean feels like camping, in a sauna, with one arm tied behind my back. Seemingly simple tasks take allllll day.

I know in my head that adjusting to life in a new country will take time but feeling ineffective is frustrating regardless of the situation. Heeding the many well meaning warnings from my Extreme family to “take it slow”, “don’t burn out”, and the pointed “get your butt to yoga”, I escaped to the Yoga Loft for a class with Claire. This class was exactly what I needed! Her meditative vinyasa flow class allowed me to clear my head and get back to basics. Claire’s style is perfect for beginners and infuses tidbits of yoga philosophy throughout to create a well rounded experience.

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The beautiful view of Kite Beach from the Yoga Loft at Extreme Hotel

This class made me realize how quickly I had forgotten the importance of having a self care practice. First things first, foundation first, put on your own oxygen mask … FIRST. Self care first. For me, yoga is an integral part of my self care routine and it can serve as the cornerstone for building a healthy and vibrant lifestyle in Cabarete. I decided to jump back into this practice with both feet.

Molly’s class was next, and traditional Ashtanga is my jam. I left with a big smile while feeling the “yoga high”. Her style is warm and inviting; she has many regular students that she connects with closely. This is a great class to deepen your asana practice, try some new tricks, and be social!

Molly's class

Molly’s class

 

A few days later I got to try Bronya’s class. Her style is a slow flow that focuses on technique and alignment. She blends in elements from many holistic healthcare practices including tai chi and chi gong. Bronya’s calming and meditative voice combined with nadi shodhan (alternate nostril breathing) and the sound of crashing waves allowed this class to take on a deep restorative vibe. It’s the yin to the yang of the Cabarete athletic lifestyle.

Bronya practicing yoga on the beach

Bronya practicing yoga by the ocean

Practicing in the Yoga Loft reminds me that all of the essential “things” I need are right at my fingertips. First things first, and finding the good coffee can wait-  at least until after class!