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Riding the TerraWave

Text and Images by Debbie Kunder

Carolien started the class with a simple reminder: “Try not to focus on how you look in the pose, but rather how your body feels in the pose.”

About five minutes into the class, I’m doing the exact opposite—I’m zeroing in on someone who looks like she knows exactly what she’s doing, and I’m silently berating myself for not moving as fluidly and beautifully as she. Remembering what Carolien said, I take a deep breath, clear my head, and promise myself to just focus on how my body feels…focus on ME.

TerraWave yoga Aruba

I’ve done plenty of yoga in the last 20 years of my life, but TerraWave Yoga is different from any yoga I’ve ever done. TerraWave, a brand of yoga coined by Carolien Gaarthuis of Dushi Yoga, is practiced on an Indo Board, an apparatus originally developed for professional surfers to train on land. The Indo Boards that Carolien is using have been modified specifically for yoga and challenge practitioners to work on their balance and strengthen their core. Sounds a lot like Standup Paddleboard Yoga but on land, right? Right. “SUP Yoga is great. It’s so beautiful out on the water, but it’s expensive, so it’s not accessible to everyone. TerraWave provides a similar experience as SUP, but it’s affordable for everyone, which is important to me,” explains Carolien.

yoga Aruba

Mind you, the venue for TerraWave is not too shabby itself. The class takes place on the covered wooden yoga deck at Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, overlooking gorgeous Eagle Beach, which has been singled out as one of the best beaches in the world. Carolien feels there’s no better place on the island to practice yoga than right on the beach, and I agree wholeheartedly.

wellness Aruba, Eagle Beach

Doing yoga on a wobbly board obviously adds an extra challenge, which I certainly didn’t underestimate. When Carolien gave us all the option of placing inflatable cushions under our boards for extra wobble, I passed. Cushions or no cushions, the instability of the board is what makes TerraWave so good for strengthening the core and improving balance.

TerraWave Yoga Aruba

But TerraWave is much more than that. I lean more towards Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga myself, the former placing a lot of importance on proper alignment and the latter on the specific order of poses. I’m used to hearing “make sure your right heel is in line with the middle of your left foot” and “square your hips to the front of the mat.” Plus, there are always a lot of anatomical terms being thrown around. Not so with TerraWave. You’ll recognize some of the postures (like Warrior), but the class is more like one big playful flow—like a wave, in fact. Carolien encourages you to let go of whatever is holding you back and be free.

There’s also that element of mind-body awareness, that focus on how each pose feels instead of how it looks—the part I wasn’t so good at! But I made a bit of progress by the end of the class, and I’m happy with that. Overall, the class was a good reminder to not take myself too seriously, which is something we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

TerraWave Yoga Aruba on Indo Boards

TerraWave is held at Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa every Sunday morning, from 9 am to 10 am, at the resort’s dedicated yoga deck. The cost is $15 per class. Reserve a spot via WhatsApp (+297-742-0988) or by sending a message on Facebook (@DushiYoga).

PS: After class, treat yourself to a healthy smoothie at Ike’s Bistro. You won’t be disappointed!