The New Way to See Africa - A Yoga Safari!

The New Way to See Africa - A Yoga Safari!

» Featured Columnists | By Steve Winston | January 11, 2013 8:30 AM ET

The wilds of Tanzania will never be the same again.
As the rays of the rising sun tinge the savannah with a golden glow, all types of four-legged creatures are emerging from their nighttime lairs into the sunlight. And all types of two-legged creatures are stretching themselves into yoga positions at a luxurious safari camp.
If you know anything at all about yoga, you may recognize the person who's leading them in these stretches - renowned instructor Shannon Paige. And if you're a devotee of yoga, you'll recognize, too, that there's no place to do it quite like the vast African plain stretching out before you as the day begins.
The concepts of yoga and safari probably haven't been combined much before. But, now, a New York company called Extraordinary Journeys, which puts together unusual experiences all over Africa, is offering a "yoga safari," where the surroundings are pure wilderness and the accommodations are anything but.
This six-night safari, offered in March, June, and December, includes game drives through the Serengeti National Park in the northern Serengeti, and exclusive sessions with Shannon Paige. Five nights are spent at the luxurious tent lodgings of the Sayari Camp, one of a number of carbon-friendly camps in East Africa owned by a company called Asilia. The other night is spent at Onsea, a picturesque country inn and guest cottage.
Designed to blend unnoticed into the savannah, the 15-tent Sayari Camp is close to the majestic Mara River. It was recognized as the best tented camp in Tanzania at the 2012 World Travel Awards.
In this place of splendid isolation, guests will awaken each morning to a sunrise game-drive across the plains of 3.6-million acre Serengeti National Park, the jewel in the crown of Tanzania'a protected areas. To the Maasai, it is Siringitu - "the land that stretches on forever." It's home to over three million large mammals, among them lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, and large herds of antelope. The camp itself is located close to the Mara River, and there's a good chance you'll get to see hippos and crocodiles.
Upon returning from the early-morning drive, visitors are served a healthy breakfast of local fruits and fresh juices. Then it's time for the morning yoga session. An afternoon game drive or bush-walk with the Sayari guides is followed by the day's second yoga practice, at sunset.
Shannon Paige emphasizes deep calm and connection with the land through her own brand of Anjali Restorative Yoga, in which meditation and synchronized breathing exercises are guided by the imagery of the natural surroundings. Yoga practices are open to all levels of practitioners - including novices. And sundown over the Serengeti is the perfect setting.
After their trips out into the plains, guests can immerse themselves in an infinity pool, relax on their private veranda or in front of a warm fireplace, thumb through a book in the library, or have a tall drink in the lounge while watching wildlife frolicking in the distance.
When you bed down for the night, and hear the calls of Africa outside your luxury tent, you'll realize that this is the plushest "wild" experience you'll ever have.
And you'll come to really know "the land that stretches on forever."

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