Wa Yo Yogi

Leanne Kitteridge's adventures in Yoga

How to Breathe on Maui June 3, 2009

Local fishing at Baby beach....

Local fishing at Baby beach....

Yes- I am alive. I have been extremely busy lately and I have been putting my blog last on my to do list. I was supposed to be practicing this morning but I have a weird virus of some type that has left me weak and achy and so rather than sit on the couch I decided to sit at my computer. Lucky you.

Part of my crazy schedule was flying back to back crazy so I could manage a week off work and secretly take my two kids to Maui. They thought their father had left to vacation without them- which he did on my insistence- to Haiku , Maui.  Haiku is located on the north side of the island on the road to Hana and it is a slice of heaven to our family. My husband practices Ashtanga with Nancy Gilgoff when he is there and I usually hang at the Studio Maui if I am practicing Anusara. Yes- we only take yoga vacations….

Because of my flying, we couldn’t take a two week holiday all together so I sent my husband without us. He thought he was going to be alone for two weeks but I spilled the beans to him- and swore him to secrecy- that I was going to surprise the kids and take them to join him during week number two. He was extremely pleased as he misses the kids when they even go for a sleepover! I secretly packed bags for weeks and surreptitiously snatched various vacation items from my unsuspecting children’s rooms. On D-Day ( departure day) I told them we had to drive their Grandma to the airport- which was true- and then we were going out for lunch after I stopped at my airport office. As I parked in the employee lot and got out I asked them if they still wanted to go for lunch. To which they responded with resounding choruses of “YES!!!” I said ” Well we can go for lunch,” I then dramatically pulled a blanket off the suitcases in the back of the truck, “ Or we could go to Maui?”.

I think my son literally stopped breathing. My daughter lit up like a little sun and they both starred at the suitcases. “Mom!!! We are going on the plane? I think I am going to explode!” Words of joy out of a nine year old boy. My daughter couldn’t believe I had everything- she kept asking me if I had her bathing suits. She is five and is going through a stage where she changes every five minutes and gives us a fashion show- her latest one being her swimsuits. In order to keep the secret I had to go out and buy two new ones for the suitcase!

Over to the airport we went and I was so glad as I checked in that my husband carried a cell phone and that I did not keep the trip a surprise from him. Apparently you can’t take your kids on a plane out of the country if you are one parent…you need a letter from the other parent giving permission! Yipes! I made a call my husband who happened to be not far from a fax machine and voila- 30 minutes later we were at the boarding gate. After a lovely flight to Maui- my kids were so good on the plane- we arrived to a very happy husband and father.

I was dissapointed to find out that I would not be doing much yoga with a teacher as Skeeter Tichnor was out of town teaching an immersion, but I made the most of self practice which consisted of many handstands in the playground with my kids. I don’t know if I will ever be able to kick up without a wall or a spot but I have to say I feel much more comfortable on my hands than I used to . There is a familiarity to handstand now that has come over the last few years and I can hold away from the wall now for a while. It really is such a playful and joyous thing to do! Chris managed a daily practice with Nancy which was great. There is lots of yoga on Maui no matter what your style and no matter where you are on the island: the other islands have lots to offer as well.

Practicing on Maui always seems so effortless to me. There is something in the air there that is just conducive to practice. I feel like I can breathe more deeply there. I remember when I was in Maui for an Anusara Immersion with John Friend, he talked about how you could feel the island breathe: the island itself was alive with pulsation. One of the local teachers commented saying ,  “Polynesians call non-Hawaiians  “Haole” -which actually means one who can’t breathe.”   Yup- us white folk really don’t know how to breathe. We rarely breathe deep into our bellys and are breath is short and fast. When the breath slows, we slow, and therefore we get to enjoy the present moment that much more. That’s how I feel on the North side of Maui.

Haiku Heaven- Max and Tracey's

Haiku Heaven- Max and Tracey's

I wanted to tell you about some of our favorite places on the North side if you ever give Maui a visit. First of all is Max and Tracy’s place. Our little studio cottage that is home on Maui is one of two studios you can rent year round. The property is beautiful with 180 degree view of the water. There is an abundance of fruit trees on the property and they always have a basket of what’s in season waiting for you when you arrive. Lychee was just about in season when we left but my son managed to find a few ripe ones to try. The avacados, apple bananas, mangos and oranges are some of my families favorites. You might have to compete with Buttercup, the golden lab, for ripe bananas. My kids call her a banana retriver and she is our rent a dog on Maui. If you really want to get a feel for what it’s like to be a local check it out: ludwig@maui.net.

We do most of our shopping in Paia town which is down the road a few miles. Mana Foods is a local legend and all your organic, health, specialty foods can be found there. I recommend buying the cotton shopping bag which doubles as a great beach bag/purse. Most of the saleable fruit from the property we stay at goes to Manna so they really help support the local farmers. Support them during your stay.DSCN2073

We always pick up a few shorts and T’s and sandals when we are in Maui and our favorite place by far to buy these things is the Hana Highway Surf . They carry all your basic beach needs and they have really great t-shirts with their logos on them. My husband and son love their hoodies.  Jud and Kelly Lau, the husband and wife that own it are really welcoming and Uncle Squidy- the owners uncle and local surf legend- has wave reports for Maui at (808) 871-NALU ( 6258).His absolutely hilarious advertisment on local radio is what sent us searching for them many years ago.

We tend to make our own dinner but there is nothing better than breakfast after primary series in the morning so check out Colleen’s in the Haiku Cannery Market near the Studio Maui. The french toast and fresh squeezed OJ is to die for…

Colleen's in Haiku french toast

Colleen's in Haiku french toast

Swimming and beaches on the North side are limited. The far west side of Baldwin Beach is located close to the residential area of Spreklesville and contains a small lagoon- perfect for family swimming without the shore breaking waves. The locals call it baby beach.  Of course famous Ho’okipa Beach is located on the North side just past Paia near the equally famous- and expensive- Mama’s Fish House. Hanging out at Ho’okipa during a good wind is a real North shore experience- some of the best windsurfers, kite surfers, and just plain old surfers are there all day for free entertainment. It really is amazing to see the talent and althleticism out in the water.

My son investigating the reef at Baby Beach

My son investigating the reef at Baby Beach

 If the weather is wet on the North side- which it often is- we suggest driving down into Makena area and checking out the beach  in front of the Maui Prince Hotel. It is a public beach with washrooms and a shower and the waves are great for boogie boarding. We do not recommend swimming at Big Beach in Makena with children. The wave break is very high and very close to shore and in water no higher than your knees you could be picked up and dashed into the sand. People with broken bones are taken off the beach daily. The locals call Big Beach “ Killer Beach” for a reason.

Having a yoga vacation on Maui dosen’t have to cost you a lot and it really is a fabulous place to practice.

I am looking forward to going back to Maui in September to study with John Friend andRam Dass. Let’s hope I get accepted and if I do I promise to blog during the training!!

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One Response to “How to Breathe on Maui”

  1. michelle Says:

    Nice to catch up with your family vacation – love you!


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