A sense of stillness filled the air as the deep, dark sky swept down to meet the equally dark, but tranquil sea. Looking up, light from galaxies far away mixed with a soft glow of light shining over the quiet, sleeping town of Dunedin. As I stepped out of my car, I was greeted by the soft-spoken, friendly face of Crystal Carnahan, of Zenfully Aware.
She greeted me and other early-risers under the covered outdoor terrace of Bon Appétit Restaurant. A few more people gathered, and familiar faces introduced themselves to the newer ones. Together we made our way out over the water, onto Sunset Pier.
Early morning view of the Dunedin Pier from the Sunset Pier
Each person found the perfect spot to unfold their yoga mats. I recall being slightly distracted and simply in awe of my surroundings. Dunedin is a lovely town when it’s awake and bustling with life, but there is a special beauty it holds for those who are willing to get up and visit her in the quiet hours of the early morning.
Our instructor, Crystal, took center stage at the front of the pier, so we, her students, could enjoy the changing view of St. Joseph Sound through her instruction. Easing into our warm up stretches, I took note of the subtle waves moving between the beams of the pier, creating a hypnotizing serenity.
Yoga instructor Crystal guiding class
As a group, we glided gracefully from downward dog into child’s pose and rested for a moment. Releasing my breath, a sense of freedom rushed over me as I found myself in a meditative state.
Before I knew it, slowly, quietly, the earth began to wake as I, and the group, followed each of Crystal’s guided moves. A single chirp from a little bird encouraged other birds to join in song as the dark sky began to shift into a lighter blue shade with hints of pastel pinks and purples.
Class in mid-stretch
It was time for us to move into our final pose; I glanced around taking in the magnificent natural beauty surrounding me. My body was relaxed, my mind was clear and as I closed my hands and repeated the word, ‘Namaste,’ I felt complete inner peace and accomplishment.
The sun rising towards the end of class
Yoga on Sunset Pier, isn’t just another yoga class, it’s an experience. The physical benefits of stretch and strength are present, but the mental and spiritual journey is on another level. The world can be a boisterous place; give yourself a little break from it all and check out Crystal’s classes for yourself. I attended one of her 6 AM classes (on Tuesday and Thursday), but she also offers 8:30 AM classes on Wednesdays and Sundays.