A safari conjures up images of African animals and adventure, but what about Pilates? The two are extremely harmonious, says Mona Melms, a longtime health and fitness instructor who has led two Ujuzi Pilates safaris to Eastern Africa. She also will lead the upcoming trip to Kenya in September 2012.
Both safari and Pilates require core strength. When you’re on safari, “you’re standing in a jeep, holding on for dear life,” said Mona. “Afterward, we’d have a Pilates class and people felt revitalized.”
In fact, the exercises helped people improve their strength during the course of the trip, which raised their endurance for the physical nature of safari travel. Mona said she noticed people using better posture in the jeeps. Not to mention the bliss that comes from such a focused workout. “All the rolling exercises really felt like you’d had a massage at the end of the day, and it helped people sleep well,” Mona said.
Plus there’s an added ambiance of doing Pilates routines in Africa, the birthplace of civilization. “Our peace was greater. Pilates is very spiritual. We felt totally restored, totally elevated and ready to go,” said Mona.
But it’s not all about the Pilates, although Mona felt that the mat classes allowed people to be more centered and to experience a heightened awareness of the wonders they were witnessing.
Anne Marie O’Connor, the Executive Editor for Pilates Style magazine, said the experience was “mind-blowing.” Her favorite part of the recent Pilates safari to Tanzania was seeing the ani-mals interact. “Those elephant moms and their babies – the mom has that baby within trunk’s reach – at all times. We also had awesome guides. They were so informed, you could mention anything and they’d teach you more about it.”
One of the biggest benefits of a Pilates safari is it helps participants avoid the modern conundrum of feeling like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation. Mona explained, “You’re in the middle of this amazing, indulgent vacation, but you come out still being very strong at the end of it.” What could be more perfect? A mind-blowing vacation experience that builds your strength and makes you centered, just in time to resume your regular life.
In all, Ujuzi Travel is offering four different Pilates safaris this year: 3 to Tanzania May 22 – 31 with Julie Fisher, May 30/31 – June 8 with Julie Gustafson, and July 31 – August 10 with Jill Wolf; and Mona’s trip to Kenya, September 18 – 27. Join us!