Yoga at An Ban Beach & The Full Moon Festival in Hoi An

posted in: Vietnam | 0

Before leaving Australia I was set on finding a bit of a yoga trail on our adventures where the kids & I can learn the practice of yoga together. Most places are in yoga retreats which cost approx. $100 per day per person & I am yet to find one aimed at mixed classes with children. We found a coach who practices at An Ban Beach at 5.00am, a 4 kilometre bike ride from where we live, or a 20 minute ride with kiddies in tow. We had to spend $36 USD on our 4 yoga mats & classes cost $15USD each for 3 sunrise, 1 hour lessons per week. Correct $60 USD for all of us to go to Yoga 3 x per week for 1 month WICKED.

Today we headed off for our first yoga session, the ride was a killer, we borrowed 2 bikes and set off at 4.15am for class. Both kid 2 and I took a child each on the back of our bikes. We were probably 5-10 mins late to our first class, not just because we are unfit, or because for the first time in 20 years Im not wearing a helmet on a bike and imagining what brain matter would look like on the road ahead of me, but because the view was tantalising us to stop and take pictures all the way there.

Kid 4 was singing for me on the way to the beach, we were nearing a crossing and I couldn’t see around the corner, so I said “baby shhhhh I need to look left and right and listen for trucks” ………..she says to me in the most beautiful reassuring little voice “its ok mummy, you just keep riding, Ill be your left and right”. Wow, this kid just melts my heart. Little does this little one realise she has been my left and right for a very long time. She always looks out for me, for my health, well-being and heart – always.

The pinks radiating off the rice paddys, the sunrise over the mountain, then again over the fishing village was  hypnotising! It really wasn’t too bad either when we arrived on the beach to speakers playing ‘All  I have to do is dream’ by the Everly Brothers. The scene at the beach in the mornings is my favourite by far, over and above any other time of the day.

The walk from where you drop your bike to the beach parking area is really busy with street vendors, fish mongers and half naked folk rushing to the beach, there are also young people on scooters taking their grandparents for their morning swim. Families are having showers after their swim, people are enjoying their breakfast, just a massive cross section of humans, quietly and peacefully going about their business. You’ve never seen so many people over 50 exercising, with strange but effective routines, with no particular pattern. just having a go. People are doing laps on land with their arms, squats, neck rolls, hip rolls, fast jogging on the spot, leg lifts and making sand angels lying down with their arms and legs…..everyones moving, and anyone who isn’t, is lying in the sand, no towels, just in the sand, with sand pillows and just watching the sunrise or the floating in the ocean. The only offensive sounds are the frequent sounds of people clearing their throats of flem into the sand and ocean, that’s a bit distracting from our rosy bubble.

Our first yoga first class wasn’t too bad, I had to keep reminding myself to focus instead of watching what everyones up to or the paddle boarders paddling into the sunrise towards Cham Island. Just stunning.

Or friend Nguyet showed us to the nearest café on the way out from the beach. Here we landed in a familys café who has about 20 birds, some prize winning song birds, including babies who they fed fish with chop sticks. They also happened to have a young dog and puppy to play with. We enjoyed a spread of fresh squeezed juices including watermelon, mango and orange, chicken sandwiches, fried vegetarian noodles garlic, fried morning glory with chunky garlic & fresh prawn spring rolls. Animal fix & take away Vietnamese iced coffees and we were on our way for $15USD with full bellies and happy hearts. The hot ride home was quenched with sightings of water buffalos with babes in the rice fields frolicking after their morning shift. We had a big rest for the duration of the day, I felt 20 years younger when I went for a walk to grab water in the afternoon, woo hoo!!

In the evening we went out for dinner in old town to experience the full moon festivities, all lights out, including ATM’s, lantern lights allowed only.  People have offerings set up on the roadside and are burning various good luck icons, there are traditional performances happening throughout town, Buddhist temples are packed with people burning incense and praying. The Ancient Town river is brimming with floating paper lanterns and the street vendors are dressed in their traditional clothing and collectively bringing the town to life for all of us to enjoy.

We had to take this opportunity to accept our friends offer to have a closer look at the floating lotus lights by canoe…it was magic, the festival is over 2 days, I have included images over both nights.

Day 2 of the Full Moon Festival  Kid 3 made friends with some local hip hop dancers and they invited him to join them for free training with them every night for 2 hours, one happy camper on board. Snuggles with baby puppies in the back alleyways on the way home made for a couple of more amazing days in Hoi An. Please follow this link to see more images https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.473304882835654.1073741908.441531179346358&type=3&uploaded=72