How to be Zen in Byron Bay
Surfers sporting Herculean bronzed bods rub elbows with patchouli-drenched hippies, retired yuppies set about stocking up on organic kale and yoginis salute the sun against the crashing of east coast waves. Welcome to Byron Bay: Northern New South Wales’ Mecca for bohemian living, continually attracting artists of every ilk who find inspiration in the sand, surf and sunshine that embellish this glorious pocket of paradise.
So, you’ve made the pilgrimage to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, caught some sweet waves, heard a gentle giant singing its whale song and bought some “incense”. But have you found pure, blissful, nirvana-esque inner peace? No? Fear not, lovechild! While Byron has suffered a slight commercial intrusion over recent years, it’s still one of the best spots to let your freak flag fly, so grab that hacky sack, yoga mat and load up the Kombi for a weekend of serious chillaxation.
Mind: Downward dog at dawn
Yoga gurus from across the globe flock to Byron to bend, stretch, twist and hold with the sand between their toes or against a live soundtrack of rainforest ambience in the hinterlands. Whether you’re a novice practitioner who wouldn’t know Bikram Choudhury from the Dalai Lama or can do sun salutations in your sleep, there are yogariffic classes and retreats of all levels to keep you calm and collected before you can say “Namaste”. Byron’s yoga schools take their craft seriously, often teaching the teachers themselves in the styles of hatha, vinyasa, ananta and so on. Ease your frazzled mind from its weekday worries with a simple bend and snap or full-flush detox at the Byron Yoga Centre, Red Tent Yoga, Solomon’s Yogalates or Shiva Shakti Yoga.
Body: Eat clean, lean and green
Vegetarians, vegans, sugarless/gluten-free/raw-only eaters rejoice! Byron Bay is one place where you can order your evening meal sans animal products (tasty, tasty animal products) and not incur a scoff or an eyebrow raise. In fact, staff will probably high-five you and throw in some free LSD. That’s a Soy Dandelion Latte, just to be clear. Treat your body like a temple by spoiling your insides with lentil goodness served up by Heart & Halo, gluten free waffles from Manna Haven, One One One’s spiced chai or a chilli chocolate affogato a la Bayleaf. Add a Byron health kick to your pantry by raiding Fundies Food Store or Santos Wholelife on Johnson Street, or the Byron Farmer’s Markets –Thursdays at Butler Street Reserve and Saturdays behind the Bangalow Hotel.
Soul: Free-flowing creative juices
Eclectically cultured Byron continues to lure musicians, healers, painters, jewellery makers, writers, naturopaths and assorted creative folk with her hippy-hippy shake and free-spirited charisma. Visual delights abound at a melange of galleries (including Byron Bay Art Studio where you can create your very own masterpiece), while dozens of boutiques dotting the Bay and beyond boast alternative couture and “Made In Byron” mementos. Wind up your Zen-venture by popping into the Byron Medicine Wheel for a tarot psychic reading, chiromancy (that’s palm reading) or a Turkish coffee with a side serve of insight into what your leftover grinds reveal. I can see it now, it’s coming to me very clearly... you’re going to go on a trip soon... to Byron Bay... after reading a very inspiring travel blog...
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