Amanda here from Namaste. I recently spent ten days in Kauai as a break from Vancouver's beautiful (but a little dreary, cold, and rainy!) winter. It was an unconventional vacation in the sense that I went with no plan and had the intention of letting things unfold organically. I hope that it inspires you to leave space for spontaneity in your own travels and that it makes you want to visit this magical island in the Hawaiin archipelago!
I stayed on the East side of the island, just outside of the historic beachside town of Kapaa which Hawaii magazine deemed "the most charming town" on Kauai. I'm sure it's a debatable title, but I feel lucky for ending up where I did; I literally just booked the only available Airbnb room on the island at the time I wanted to go! When we don't plan things, we leave space for synchronicities to emerge. And that was just my intention with this trip. With no plan, and only the intentions to:
- Practice self-care and restore my energy after a challenging fall.
- Connect with local yoga teachers and get a sense of the community on the island.
- Take photos amidst the beautiful ocean and forest backdrop that the island offered.
As it turns out, I couldn't have planned a better trip if I had tried. For curiosity's sake, when I returned home I Googled things like, "Top 5 things to do on Kauai" and realized I had done none of them. I came back with no suntan, went on no hikes, and didn't surf. It was easy to feel guilty for not doing "what one is supposed to do" when one goes to Hawaii. But when we let what we feel we should do dictate what we do, instead of following our intuition as to what will serve us most or what we truly want to do, I believe we defeat the purpose of travel.
Several experiences stand out for me and I would highly recommend them to anyone traveling to Kauai.
Visit the Kauai Hindu Monastery
Kauai Aadheenam, also known as Kauai's Hindu Monastery, is a traditional South-Indian style monastery-temple complex on the tropical Garden Island of Kauai in the Hawaiian chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This powerful spiritual sanctuary was founded in 1970 by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (aka Gurudeva) (1927-2001). It is the home of Bodhinatha and his order of swamis, yogis and sadhakas from different nations. The monastery is the headquarters and theological seminary of Saiva Siddhanta Church. It is also home to Himalayan Academy, Hinduism Today magazine and Hindu Heritage Endowment.
My experience: this place is powerful! I went several times for the morning meditation and puja ceremony and each time was blown away by the energy. It's hard to describe so you'll just have to go and experience it. There is also a huge banyan tree on the grounds before you get to the temple, definitely go off the path to stand under its beautiful aerial roots.
Yoga on the Beach
Well, this one is a bit obvious, but worth mentioning! Check out this Google map for the spots that I scouted for photoshoots.
Brian Carew at Wailua Beach Park
Tulasi Adeva at the Stone Dam Garden in Kilauea
Moni El Patrick and Patrick Moulden at Poipu Beach
Enough said, right? Checking out the local farmer's markets is always at the top of my list of favourite things to do while traveling, especially in a tropical fruit paradise like Hawaii. Find out all the information on Kauai's farmer's markets here. And check out the Google map for the two that I went to while I was there. I can't recommend them enough! Definitely be sure to buy a few fresh, young coconuts. Delicious and nutritious!
This is where I stayed on the island, so I had the most opportunity to check out this area. I highly recommend going to the following spots (all on the Google map!)
- Papaya's Natural Foods. The best place for natural and organic foods! They also have prepared foods, coconuts, and a seating area outside. I frequently came here to eat many, many papayas. It's an appropriately named spot!
- Kauai Juice Co. This place is straight up amazing. Read their incredible story here. The quality of their juice and kombucha shines through.
- Shipwrecked & Java Kai. This joint clothing/coffee shop is adorable and full of good island vibes. A great place to buy non-touristy gifts to bring home for friends (or yourself!)
- The Local. Local food, friendly faces, and creatively crafted cocktails with local ingredients (I had a delicious one with kombucha from Kauai Juice Co!) -- what more could you want in a bar? Definitely have a seat at the bar and make some new friends.
Check out our Google Map for all of these spots and a few others that we made it to while we were there. If you've been to Kauai and have something you'd like to add to the map, let us know!
Instagram Accounts from Kauai
I got inspired before my trip by following some of Kauai's coolest yogis, shops, and other Instagram accounts. Check them out if you are headed there, or just need a dose of sunshine and good vibes.
The Travel Mindset
"Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." - Terry Pratchett
A trip like this can be a refreshing reset. It is so easy to get caught up in our daily routine and lose our ability to be curious, adventurous beings. Taking the time to just wander and explore with no agenda or checklist is something that we can bring back into our daily lives; you don't have to wait to go on vacation to do it. I try to remind myself of all the beauty that exists around me whether I'm on a beach in Kauai or at my local grocery store.
I hope this article inspires a trip to the beautiful island of Kauai. And I hope that we can also be travelers together in everyday life.
Learning new movement skills - bringing the travel mindset to my practice
Feeling the magic of Island Vibes wherever I land
And, finally, if you are travelling there and need to know the right Instagram hashtags to use on your posts, here you go:
Kauai Hashtags to use:
#kauai #hawaii #travel #adventure #beach #kauaiyoga #travelkauai #beachyogakauai #yogaonthebeach #DiscoverKauai
#kauailife #kauaidream #kauaiadventures #hawaiian #kauaivacation
#visitkauai #kauaistyle #kauaihawaii #hilife808 #aloha
#hawaiilife #hawaiivacation #aloha #hawaiiadventures #hawaiiphotos
#paradise #visitkauai #islandlife #hawaiitravel #hawaiibeach