Accommodation

at eXtreme Hotel

Your accommodation during a Yoga Retreat with the Yoga Loft is at eXtreme Hotel, this is where the Yoga Loft is located. eXtreme Hotel is one of the leading ecologically sustainable hotels in the Caribbean and is directly located at Kitebeach, Cabarete. It is an adventure sports and fitness hotel which encompasses the following facilities: Kiteboarding school, Fitness center, Yoga Loft, Circus arts center, beach side restaurant and a swimming pool. The facilities at the hotel are designed to be as eco friendly, sustainable and self sufficient as possible to reduce the ecological footprint. With ventilation systems that use the wind to naturally cool the hotel, tiled floors that keep the heat down and low energy fans, energy consumption is kept at a minimum. Green vegetation throughout the hotel help to naturally cool the air during the summer months. The hotel also facilitates a small scale Aquaponics system, where wastes produced by farmed fish are used as nutrients to grow edible plants which in turn purify the water, thus conserving water.

As an eco-friendly hotel, we offer environmentally conscious, comfortable rooms you can relax in, without unnecessary amenities such as televisions and air-conditioning systems, minimising both your and the hotels carbon footprint. The rooms that you will be staying in all come with balconies that allow in natural light and 52” ceiling fans provide sufficient ventilation.

The rooms also come with a mini fridge, screens against mosquitos, private bathroom and a 5-gallon jug of drinking water. All rooms are solar powered, so do remember to conserve when possible. They are functional rooms for active people. So do remember to bring all your own toiletries!

Two free Wi-Fi access points throughout the hotel allow you to get work done and stay in touch with people if necessary. Think of your stay with us as an opportunity to digitally detox yourself, spend time time soaking up the sun and participating in energy infused nature/ health and fitness orientated activities. All guests at the hotel have the opportunity to become part of the community we have built over here. With a majority of Dominican staff at the hotel, you will get to interact with the locals and also practice a bit of Spanish! Extreme Hotel is the perfect place to meet amazing people and have an incredible holiday in a tropical paradise.

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Common Injuries In Yoga

While the common perception is that yoga is gentle and good for your mind body and spirit, and it can be, it’s certainly not the meditation portion of the yoga path where people are dislocating a shoulder or throwing out their backs. It’s the “asana” or physical practice area where people get in trouble. Even though it as attached to the word “yoga”, asana practice is still a physical activity just like any other. Whether you take your practice to a local studio, a Caribbean yoga retreat, or a DVD or app in your living room, prevention is key and clearing any new activity with your doctor is step one.

The most common areas at risk for injuries in Yoga are:

  • Hamstrings;
  • Shoulders;
  • Neck;
  • Low back; and
  • Knees

Whoa! That seems like a lot of potential areas. It’s not any more than any other physical activity and, without getting specific, if you look up how your shoulder joint is put together, it becomes clear that, while the human body is beautifully designed, a rotator cuff can be quite vulnerable. So we are back to prevention being the best place to start.

A yogi needs to take a stand for their own physical health and safety, beginning with a good foundation of basics to avoid injuries in yoga. With so many people jumping into “open” or “all” levels classes, a solid foundation is lacking in many a practice. Studios do need to get people in, so not alienating potential yogis is a good business move, hence these “everyone is welcome” classes. But after jumping in and spending some time in these free for all practices, people think they can’t “go back to basics” and they are practicing yoga because they have been making it through class. Chances are, you’re just making shapes with your body.

This is where it becomes important to check your ego, for your safety and so your practice can truly flourish. I’ve been teaching for well over a decade and practicing for much longer. I teach basics AND I attend a foundational class at least once a week. I see how these foundations make a difference in my practice and the practices of the people who show up on their mats.

Videos are also a place people turn to start a practice. Some might think they don’t have time to get to a studio or are somehow getting ready to make their big studio debut. Make the time. You are ready now. Why? Because nothing can replace a well-trained, experienced teacher. How do you know a teacher is experienced? Do your research. While an instructor who wants every student leaving their class feeling like a caterpillar transformed into an extraterrestrial dew drop is great, and we do want that. A good teacher will not only include the vibe of their class, they will reveal the substantial stuff too. The kale smoothie induced happy thoughts of a teacher’s online bio should also include things like their practice and training backgrounds, some indication of years of experience with each, continuing education, and so on. If you still have questions, email the studio. The studio should not hesitate to answer. If they seem sketchy about it just say “Namaste” and move on to another studio. There are plenty out there.

Once you have located a studio and are finally ready to unroll your mat and get all blissed out, you should reveal any pre-existing issues to the instructor. DO NOT wait to be asked. Exacerbating back pain is decidedly not blissful. Also speak up if something beyond acceptable discomfort arises during practice.  A good teacher, who is looking at the class in front of them, will offer variations/ modifications throughout class to avoid injuries in Yoga. If you have a specific issue in a specific pose, and you say something, the teacher should not just throw out a blanket modification. They should ask to see the pose in your body to get to the best variation of the pose for you. If they offer too little for you to feel comfortable, find another teacher. If they offer too much, find another teacher as well.  We are not medical professionals (this statement is not directed at the few colleagues I have whose day jobs are in the medical arena), we do not treat or diagnose. If you are getting what feels like medical advice from a yoga teacher who is not a doctor, PA, NP, PT, etc. by day, you may be putting yourself in a situation with a teacher who is a bit reckless. If you feel unsafe, move on to a new teacher.

In general, you should find a practice in a space with teachers who support you in building a safe and structurally sound asana practice. ALL egos should be checked at the door. Listen to your body with patience and compassion. Find the yin to the yang of your practice. Balance your practice with other activities. All practices should not just be about pretty poses. There should, for example, be basics, conditioning and mobility practices, too. A yoga practice is a big undertaking but it’s a journey that is worth the effort. Those days where you feel like you are becoming a little more dewdrop and a little less caterpillar are pretty great.

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Things To Do Around Cabarete: Kah Kow

El Sendero De Cacao, Cacao Plantation At San Francisco de Macorís
By Melanie Kiss

Cabarete is a town that offers so many wonderful activities, from Yoga to Kite surf, Crossfit style classes to trapeze, aerial silks to language lessons and the list goes on and on. Travelers have quite a lot of different activities to choose from in Cabarete. But for the days when one wishes to step out of this magical town, one must know of some wonderful things that can be done around Cabarete.

I will tell you about one of my favourite excursions. I had recently gone to a Cacao plantation, called El Sendero De Cacao to get the ultimate Kah Kow experience. The drive was a couple of hours, going through windy roads up to the mountains, getting views one can only dream of. Then passing through small local towns absorbing the culture of this beautiful island. Not to mention the lovely fruit stands where you can stop off for a healthy snack.

cacao fruit

The entrance to El Sendero De Cacao is simply beautiful. It opens up to a long driving where cacao trees are a dime a dozen. The main house is covered in beautiful vibrant colours and there is a cacao bar where they await you with delicious warm chocolate milk or chocolate water that is bursting with flavour.

The tour begins at the start of the plantation, where a lovely guide explains to you the plantation of the cacao trees. There are two methods that are used and both with pros and cons. Then you continue on into the plantation where they explain to you the different cacao pods and how they are harvested. During the process one can never ask to many questions, or try to many cacao fruit. I was on a high from the delicious floral flavour of the cacao fruit and simply could not get enough. As this time of year is low season and they only harvest about 20 % of their crops, January to June is their high season where they harvest the remaining 80%.

Throughout the tour of the plantation they also explain the different problems that can arise with the crops, such as certain animals and insects having a little too much fun eating the fruit. For this reason, they have scarecrows in place for the birds and boa Hispaniola snake for the mice.

Upon harvesting the cacao fruit, the seeds are placed into wooden boxes to begin the fermentation process. After several days, they get transferred from box to another box. As El Sendero De Cacao is an organic plantation, no chemicals are used for this process. Then comes the dehydration in the sun, where 97% of the seeds are dried out. At this point, the seeds can be eaten, which remains in a raw state to enjoy all the wonderful benefits cacao has to offer. The shells of the seeds are mainly used for tea and the cacao pods are used for organic fermentation.

Once the cacao is dried, the remaining 3% is then dried in a large oven style machine. Then the chocolate processing begins. The cacao nibs are then ground to a paste and then the ingredients are added as it is heated for several days. Depending on the type of chocolate, the higher the cacao percentage, the less ingredients get added. What is super great about Kah Kow is that they do not use dairy in their white chocolate. They use almond, coconut milk and of course cacao butter.

After this lovely tour you get to make your own chocolate. I chose a fun elephant design and needless to say ate it before we got home. The taste of pure organic chocolate is one of a kind. The strong flavour of cacao really places a tune on your taste buds. Mother nature really knows how to provide the ingredients to an immaculate invention.

This tour is a wonderful mixture of experience and education. Getting the behind the scenes look at one of our favourite delicacies is a very interesting experience. Especially seeing the healthy way of chocolate making.

I would recommend this tour and experience to journey out of Cabarete for those interested in learning a little bit about the cacao fruit and the art of making organic gourmet chocolate!

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