Underwater yoga classes are now a thing at this Saint Lucia resort

The breathwork is designed to instill a sense a calm (Picture: AP)

A hotel in Saint Lucia has added underwater yoga to its unusual wellness programme, designed to help guests relax.

Designed for new and experienced divers, the Underwater Breathwork Programme, run by Windjammer Landing on the north west coast of Saint Lucia, is said to be ‘therapeutic’.

The hotel resort’s wellness and diving teams came up with the idea to boost the feeling of tranquility amid the pandemic – almost 20 feet under the Caribbean sea.

Eastern Caribbean Diving’s Dive Master, Abigail Brown, takes participants through visualisation and breathing exercises on the boat.

She says: ‘The intent of the programme is to allow new divers to be able to relax under the water, because diving requires a lot of relaxing and getting comfortable in order to fine tune your buoyancy and basically just be comfortable under there.

‘For experienced divers it’s a way of just giving them another way to relax under the water, a more conscious way where they’re actually thinking of their breath, because we’re going to say “we’re doing yoga under water” so we want to be thinking of that, breathing in and out and relaxing.’

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Once in the water, participants are encouraged to continue to practice the deep breathing they learned on the boat, then going into yoga poses.

Benefits of the exercises include slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure, as well as inducing a feeling of calm.

‘The programme is also intended to allow folks to just unwind from the whole Covid situation and everything that’s going on,’ Brown says.

You start with breathing exercises on the boat (Picture:AP)

‘Also it’s an introduction to yoga. So normally if we just say we have a yoga class people might not turn up.

‘But if we have, say we have a yoga and diving, divers might say “ok I’m diving already let me just try it out” and that can be an introduction to yoga.’

An experience like no other, participants can even dive to a shipwreck on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea and practise their exercises inside it.

But if the idea of mixing water and yoga is too much, yoga also happens at the resort in a hilltop garden overlooking the sea.

To make it more unique, participants get to interact with nature, including hummingbirds, which staff attract by placing special feeders around the site.

‘We’re on a tropical island, birds are part of the environment and we just felt it added to wellness, it added to the soothing sounds, relaxation, being in tune with nature,’ says Denise Benoit, the hotel’s reservations sales supervisor.

‘We believe being outdoors, being more in tune with nature, from what we eat, the organic locally grown fruits and vegetables, the spices, the herbs, all of that ties into the whole wellness, the whole feeling of wellbeing, of being better.’

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