Surf versus yoga…in Nicaragua at the camp!

So surfing has been relegated during the 200 hrs Yoga Teacher Training Course here at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua…there just aren’t enough hours in the day to teach the 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training Course, single handed, and get an all-important Primary Series in also.  Yoga wins hands down every time.

But today, on a well-deserved day off, I was surfing in the white wash of Nahualapa Bay by 6.30am.  Admittedly, I am still well and truly on the front line.  The back line is simply distant entertainment for whenever I need to take a break from the foam.  But that is cool…do your practice, all is coming.  I managed an hour and a half, after which I returned back to the camp as the waves were too small to take.  I’d had enough.  I took some breakfast and realised that I was ‘bloody knackered.’  I tell you, it isn’t easy sometimes out here in Nicaragua.

I like to conserve as much of my energy as I can for yoga.  It’s my job, my chosen profession.  But I am determined to surf while I am here in Nicaragua…I work on a surf camp after all.  Later in the day, I was scheduled to teach a one hour yoga class at midday, a style of my choosing.  My usual approach is to poke the exhausted surfers from their hammocks and cajole them into a Vinyasa Flow.  My aim is to have all guests at the daily yoga session and love it as much as I do.  It will surely energise them for the afternoon session, be that horse riding, wake boarding or surf.  Today, however, the surf session certainly had an impact on me.  For the first time, I understood that they too were ‘bloody knackered.’

And so, out came the tennis balls.  My collection of balls that are having the greatest success in cajoling the surfers to do yoga.  ‘We are gonna release the shoulders, wait until you experience the increase in mobility at the all-important shoulder joint, you will surf so well tomorrow.’  And out of their hammocks, they crawled.  Grabbing mats and balls, they made their way to the yoga space.  We released, we restored, we got ready for more surf.

Next Yoga Teacher Training Course
starts January 13th, here at Los Clavos Surf Camp
Spaces are limited so reserve your place soon.

Surf and yoga at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua

Meet Kate!  Kate was a solo traveler and stayed with us at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua for a week.  I asked her to write about what she learned during her stay in terms of yoga and surf.  I am sure you will agree….she had a productive week.

  1. A surf and yoga combo is an active spiritual practice – as a beginner surfer, I can tell you that surfing is not as easy as it looks. I found a lot of similarities between surf and yoga as both activities require persistence, focus and presence because you have to observe, feel and act quickly. Luckily, I have been doing yoga for a couple of years now and I get the concept of persistency and building strength. The more strength you build with practice, the more you start to believe in your own potential. Having fought the waves and white wash hard for hours every day in Nicaragua, I managed to stand up. SUCCESS! I am definitely going to surf again!
  2. Find the right teacher – time and time again I come to realise that your practice (yoga or surf, Nicaragua or UK) can be heavily influenced by your teacher. I personally found it important to connect and understand my teachers’ approach to life in general because that helps me understand better their teaching technique. When you find a common language with your teacher, you also build trust.  This is so important.
  3. Life is all about balance – every act has a counteract, just like every posture has a counter posture. I miss the post surfing Restorative Yoga Session to the sound of the  Pacific Ocean. Surf is a challenging sport and very tiring. The daily yoga sessions helped me a lot in recovering and preparing my mind and body for the next day. Back in the UK, after leaving Nicaragua, I am trying to incorporate that into my daily life.  Often now, I find myself doing a Yin Yoga Session after work in order to consciously slow down, stretch the body and maintain a healthy spine.
  4. Breathing can get you through anything – accidents are inevitable on a surfing holiday and one day I hurt myself! I was in pain but I kept breathing through the pain. I survived and lived to tell the tale without going to hospital! What a hero!  It’s all about the breath, even in Nicaragua.
  5. Believe in backbends and their benefits – I always thought I had a weak spine and weak lower back until one day Julia guided me into Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose). After 15 minutes, she was guiding me to do a full drop back. I have since learned about the benefits of backbends and what they do can do to the mind and body. If you want to improve your posture, boost your mood, open your heart and mind, you have to add a back bend to your morning practice, whether you are in Nicaragua or somewhere else!

Thanks for your words of wisdom Kate!!  Come back soon so we can do yoga and surf every damn day in sunny Nicaragua.

Join me for 200 hr YTTC in Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga,
13th January 2018.  Book soon, spaces limited.


10 reason to do your Yoga Teacher Training at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua

Los Clavos Surf Camp right on the beach and the resort has amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.  This means you can have some serious beach time in between yoga classes!  The resort sits on a 7km stretch of untouched beaches with barely a soul in site.

You can learn how to surf.  It’s possibly been on your bucket list – it was definitely on mine.  The nearest surf beach is just a 10-minute walk away and it is an ideal location for beginners.  You will be scheduled 2 sessions a week over the 4 weeks.  Surely with the core strength from all the yoga, you’ll be able to give it a good shot.

The course is interactive with surf camp life and all guests will join us for Restorative Yoga at the end of the day.  There may also be possibilities for you to practice your yoga teaching on the guests, acknowledging different body types for both girls and boys, surf dudes and yogis.

Enjoy sunset in the natural swimming pool that has been carved into the rocks some time ago.  This pool makes an appearance when the tide is out and is an amazing feature of the beach.  We can even do yoga here.

The camp hosts just 12 guests so it promises to be an intimate group with heaps of personalised learning of yoga.  We will share the camp with surfer guests as well as yogis but numbers will be small.

The food is amazing and prepared from local produce.  Nicaragua boasts an amazing range of fresh fruit and vegetables that the kitchen team use in abundance.  Fresh juices are made every day with fresh coconut in many of the favourite dishes.

Have some serious hammock time with hammocks located in all the best places throughout the camp.  Be social in the rancho or take some quite time in your own hammock on your terrace, either way, there are enough to go round.  With the activity of the day, it’s a great way to recharge.

On Thursdays, we go to salsa night at a local bar, Pasta La Vista!  Learn to salsa with the locals, let your hair down, if you have the energy after a whole lot of yoga.

We are really close to a fishing village which means there is an abundance of fresh fish and seafood.  Fish and lobster from the grill are served regularly for dinner…we love it!!

Last but by no means least, French friends Romain and Claire are super hosts and great fun.  They left their Parisian lives to follow their dream of opening a surf camp in Nicaragua.  The camp only opened last Christmas and so is brand new.  They are already looking forward to hosting us for a heap of yoga!!


200 hrs Yoga Teacher Training Course starts 4th November
Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga

Book now.


Teaching yoga on a surf camp in Nicaragua……whatever next?

My mum says I live in a bubble.  I have debated this with her at length on several occasions but for now, let’s say she’s right.  That means that the current bubble is Los Clavos Surf Camp, in the north of Nicaragua.

I came to Nicaragua in search of a place to set up my own yoga school and establish myself as an Ashtanga Yoga Teacher.  Having spent 4 years in India, it was time to venture west.  Nicaragua boasts both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, volcanic lakes, mountain and forest retreats, volcanic vistas.  I didn’t have anything specific in mind.  I just knew that Nicaragua was not saturated with yoga, yoga teachers and yoga teacher training.  I might add that I was totally unaware of the whole surf camp concept.

A few days before leaving for Nicaragua, I saw that Los Clavos Surf Camp were looking for a yoga teacher.   A phone call later, I had committed to 4 weeks.  Before I knew it, I was immersed in life on a surf camp in Nicaragua, who would have thought!!!

Guests from all corners of the globe come to this part of Nicaragua to surf.  Surf is the ultimate activity here.  The tide times dictate the daily schedules and yoga is scheduled when surf is not.  As the resident yoga teacher, my job is to encourage everyone to join me for yoga.  Many guests have never practiced yoga before.  Some guests attend classes at yoga studios back home, others have completed yoga teacher training.  Every week, I have a different group dynamic to work with, some more challenging than others.  Every day, the energy is different.  In some classes, I need to re-energize the students.  In others, they are in need of something more restorative.  Some weeks, I have guests who are here just to for Ashtanga Yoga: a strong morning practice and daily alignment/release workshops, 4 to 5 hours of practice a day.  As a yoga teacher, it is an incredible opportunity to think on your feet and adapt your classes on a daily/hourly basis.

In the past weeks, I have taught Backbending Workshops, Myofascial Release Sessions, Slow Flow, Restorative Yoga, Side Line for Lotus, Vinyasa Flow….not to mention Ashtanga Led!!  I even managed to schedule a Self-Practice Ashtanga Yoga Session.  I take guests to the beach for meditation at sunrise and sunset…I have even led chanting at dawn.    The possibilities for a yoga teacher are endless.

Surf camp life means that I have heaps of time for my practice and I am meditating a lot.  I am learning to surf.  I am building my business as Julia Gavin Yoga.  I’m studying.  I’m eating well and sleeping as and when I need to.  But the best thing about being here is that I am devising and delivering yoga classes every day.  I am working on new material and have people around who are keen to listen and learn from me.  I am truly connected to teaching and sharing both my practice and passion for yoga.

So for now…I am happy with life on a surf camp and plan to be here at Los Clavos Surf Camp for the foreseeable future.  I have made plans to return here next season and I am already looking forward to hosting trainings here.  While the days are action packed and energy levels are often high, I have found a place of great tranquility.  This surf camp is a place where I can be truly connected to my spirit and sustain my focus in this next chapter of my story.

Until 3rd June:
Yoga Intensive Week
Ashtanga and Myofascia Release Week

Join me in the bubble soon!!