A small part of me longs to be in a hot yoga class right now, sweating it out at 43C. Scorching heat, any kind of heat in fact, feels appealing when you’re hanging upside down on a frozen ocean in Swedish Lapland.
I sweat in the sauna then plunge into the frozen lake. The contrast is electrifying
Welcome to Ice Yoga, the polar opposite, promising a “more immersive experience in nature”, according to its creator Rebecca Björk, yogi and founder of Active North. And I couldn’t get more immersive than lying on reindeer skin in -17C with only a sliver of fur between me and the icy depths of the Baltic. We are a small semicircle of figures with arms raised, surrounded by tea lights as the sunset turns the ice from grey to lilac. “It’s all about what’s around you,” says Björk. “This is not just about the yoga.”
She has been practising yoga outdoors for years and now includes it in her new wellness programme, along with snow walking, ice sculpting and mindful meditation. I’m less convinced by the health benefits of ice yoga that Björk lists, from boosting blood circulation to making you more alert and energetic. What’s more therapeutic for me is simply lying here in the darkness surrounded by ice, star gazing and listening to the gentle clink of sea ice against the rocks. Physical sensations are more intense out here. Even breathing deeply through each pose is exhilarating, like inhaling crushed ice. Entombed in thick layers, a snow suit and rubber boots, you can forget your fast flow vinyasas. Moving into the simplest pose takes time and effort. Glacial yoga is more like it.
Original Article : Well cool: yoga on ice in Swedish Lapland