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Rise With the Moon

Text by Debbie Kunder / Photography by Steve Keith

Prana Yoga & Meditation Center became Aruba’s first yoga center when it opened in 2005. Since then, the center has primarily served the local community with a wide range of yoga classes, treatments, health counseling programs, and community events.

I recently had the pleasure of participating in one of Prana’s community events—Moonrise Yoga. The experience took place at Boca Keto, a secluded north-coast beach located a stone’s throw away from the Natural Pool. Boca Keto is especially remarkable for the impressive limestone outcrop standing in the center of the cove, parting the waves as they rush in. The beach exudes a magic that made it the perfect setting for Moonrise Yoga.

Our group of about 30—comprised of both locals and island visitors—met at Rancho Daimari to make the 20-minute coastal trek by foot to Boca Keto. We arrived at Boca Keto just as twilight was transitioning to night and settled into the sand, facing the breathtaking beauty of this gem of a beach. Singer and jewelry artist Amany kicked off the experience by singing a mantra. Local Qi Gong teacher Sofie Slegers then led the group through a series of gentle, rhythmic exercises next to the water, inviting us to play with energy through movement. And that’s when it happened—the orange ball of the full moon rose, ever so slowly, over Boca Keto, with the wind blowing fiercely, the spray from the ocean tickling our skin, all of us sharing this moment together.

According to Shanti Augusta, owner of Prana, “The goal of the Moonrise Yoga experience is to come together to share passion for life, nature, beauty, and communion. I love the idea of having community events where people can connect with nature and each other while doing something healthy together. The experience always includes the elements—the wind, the earth, the moon, the water. It’s really yoga in nature. It’s really therapeutic.”

It was with this intention of connecting with nature that Shanti then led the group in a yoga flow inspired by the moon cycle. It was a gentle flow—suitable for any age and any yoga level. It wasn’t even so much about the physical postures, but rather the connection to that beautiful moon rising before us. She then asked us all to join hands to create a raindance circle. “I love community circles,” she later explained. “Peace circles, dance circles, chanting circles…I love the connection.”

Fittingly, the experience closed with a drum circle around the fire. As some made music, others shared tea in the sand while chatting and laughing with one another, enveloped by the rhythm of the waves and drums, the moon and fire providing all the light we needed—here was that connection, and it was pretty special.