Set in the remote Shiviyani Atoll, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is one of the world’s best destinations to practice yoga. Guests can perfect their sun salutations against a stunning Indian Ocean backdrop with resident expert, Lamirse da Motta Pacheco, a former gymnast, swimmer and professional in the healing discipline of yoga.
Along with the celebration of International Yoga Day yesterday and the demand for wellbeing and wellness travels increasing, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi shared the story of Lamirse da Motta Pacheco with us.
1. When did you first start practising yoga, and why?
Lamirse da Motta Pacheco: I started practising yoga, almost by chance, when I was at university. Back then my daily routine was quite intense, keeping up with classes, two jobs and sports; this busy lifestyle caused me to burn out and I was diagnosed with gastritis and a rare skin condition, called Fox-Fordyce disease. I used to lift weights, run and swim.
It was after one of my swimming sessions that a friend of mine introduced me to yoga, as we were stretching after the training. Being a gymnast for almost a decade, stretching wasn’t new to me and my body was capable to perform the basic yoga postures. But it was when I first combined it with meditation that my perspective changed: I was completely amazed by the power of this discipline that it quickly became a habit.
The more I practised the more I felt the benefits: within five months my gastritis attacks became sporadic and my skin condition healed. I wanted to share the powers of yoga with others, so this is why I decided to become a yoga instructor, actually the first registered Yoga Teacher of my region, Manaus (Amazons) in Brazil.
2. What are the key benefits of yoga that might surprise people?
Lamirse da Motta Pacheco: Yoga is the perfect discipline to align and balance mind and body. The practice can help with an array of stress-induced conditions that manifest as diseases or disorders – like the Fox-Fordyce disease, as it happened with me. It’s effective against migraine, gastritis, depression and anxiety.
3. How much yoga should we incorporate into our lives to feel the benefits?
Lamirse da Motta Pacheco: We’re in desperate need of self-connection and holistic integration after over a year spent in lockdown. If there is a silver lining is that we’re now more aware than ever of the importance of wellness to keep us strong, healthy and centred when navigating uncertainty. I think everyone should dedicate some time every day to self-care and wellness.
I do this in the form of yoga and I would recommend practising daily, this is the quickest way to see consistent results and improve vitality and energy levels. Of course, beginners can start with a 15-min daily practice, so it’ll be easier for them to genuinely integrate yoga in their routine.
4. After months of working from home, people are suffering from poor posture – what are the best yoga poses to combat this?
Lamirse da Motta Pacheco: Before I even get into how you can improve your posture with yoga, I’d recommend people to get active again and don’t let this new sedentary routine became a normality as it’s damaging for physical and mental health alike.
If you happened to lose mobility and you’re struggling with posture as a result of indoor life, I would recommend you try yoga’s restorative and grounding postures, such as spinal twist or pranayama, aka breath awareness.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start practising yoga?
Practising Yoga is an act of self-love. It might feel intimidating to start, especially when you join a class with people that have been practising for a while, but I’ve been there before, and I can assure you that once you start practising you’ll stop thinking about what others do and just get in the groove.
- Look for online classes (there are so many these days), get inspired with themed books, blogs or podcasts and of course, try to find a local studio where you can attend in-person lessons and meet likeminded people
- Remember that yoga is a journey, a mind-body practise that is never the same. Like with fitness, listen to your body and understand when it’s appropriate to stop and rest or when you can push your limits
- Don’t get disheartened if you don’t see results immediately, it doesn’t mean the practice isn’t working. It takes time to see results and part of the challenge of yoga is that it forces you to cultivate patience, listen to your body and be compassioned towards yourself
6. What appeals to you about the Maldives as a destination? Does it inspire mindfulness?
Lamirse da Motta Pacheco: Wellness by the shores of the Indian Ocean. Settling in the Maldives to teach yoga is a dream come true for me.
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is the most tranquil destination for those seeking a complete energetic reset while taking care of their wellbeing and improving a healthy lifestyle. In the Maldives, you can disconnect from the intense and stressful routine and connect with all the elements of nature: sun, sea, wind, sand.
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is home to the longest infinity pool in the Maldives that leads you to the Coralarium, the Maldives’ first and only coral regeneration project in the form of an underwater art installation by Jason deCaires Taylor.
Located on the Shaviyani Atoll, which boasts one of the country’s largest resort lagoon, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi is more than just your hideaway. Known as the “secret water island,” by the locals.
The 120 Luxury Villas are a seamless blend of chic, understated Maldivian rustic chic with champagne woods, coral-inspired rugs, and bamboo glass chandeliers. Choose from hideaway Beach Villas set in the magpies, the stunning Water Villas perched over the Indian Ocean, or castaway Tented Jungle Villas.