Imagine yourself on your own island...Island Guide

Written by  Kat Mackintosh

In soothing tones Ms. Yoga Instructor croons “I-magine your-self on an island…”

But what kind of island? Is it a wading, knee deep in tropical waters, fish nibbling at your toes island, a walking down a narrow, whitewashed street with a view over an azure bay in the Mediterranean island or are you in a yellow cab being whisked along Manhattan Island's grid? No man is an island, but for each man and his tastes there is a perfect island paradise.

In my yoga class at least there is a general penchant for that island paradise to be tropical. White sand, palm trees and the soft sound of lapping waves all feature heavily, they’re thinking mmmm the islands of Fiji, Vanuatu, Prasiln Island, the Maldives… depending on exactly what shade of bright blue they like their ocean. Another popular theme is peace and remoteness, many people like to make the first footprints on the island's sand, like on the beaches of Madagascar’s Nosy Be Archipelago, Fiji’s Yasawa Islands group, Belize’s Caye Caulker or even better the alien dark sand of the Galapagos Islands. A third popular theme is having privacy, yet barefoot luxury, here images of Cousine Island, the Whitsunday Islands and Bora Bora – so perfect an island paradise that after being stationed there in the war American soldiers had to be forcibly removed – are invoked.

Ms. Yoga Instructor was brought up in the Mediterranean and if it’s one of those exercises where she describes a peaceful island paradise on our behalf, she talks of the bright whites and all shades of blue of Santorini, Mykonos or Amorgos. She describes walking from the top of a rocky island cliff overlooking a steep bay, down thorough winding streets and passages, catching glimpses of a sparkling ocean through blue roofs.

One of the men in the class, in an attempt to reassert his masculinity in a room of many women, said the paradise island he retreats to is Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, where he imagines himself part of a team dragging the famous stone idols into place. Ms. Yoga Instructor said that doesn’t sound very relaxing, but if he sees calm in physical labour then it’s not up to her which island his mind ventures towards. Put on the spot the other man in the class then said his paradise island is made of reeds and floating in Lake Titicaca, but I got the impression he came up with that on the spot and really floats off to a tropical island paradise with a lot of the girls… The class clown said that when it comes to islands she’s all about the Isle of Skye which everyone though was a joke until she started describing the rocky island shores and shades of emerald with such intensity.

I didn’t share with the class, but when Ms. Yoga Instructor says to go off to an island, mine rises tall like a granite knife out of shallow turquoise water, with a shock of green vegetation on top like hair and I’m lying below it in a canoe. If I had to compare it to a real island I know about I’d say it looks like Ko Phi Phi in Thailand’s Andaman Sea. But I’ll bet you thought I was going to say Heart Island in the Great Barrier Reef. It would have been a fittingly zen yoga resolution but I’ve been there, and though its coral is beautiful, there isn’t really anywhere to sit.

Island Paradises

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