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Angelica Kushi leads a morning yoga class.

Remember to pack a yoga mat and water bottle—it’s almost time for the 2018 Holistic Holiday at Sea Voyage to Well-being, which runs February 15–25, 2018! Our mission is that every guest on Holistic Holiday at Sea leaves feeling even healthier and happier than when they arrived. To ensure that this happens, we plan a comprehensive health and wellness program with leading experts in the plant-based movement. The schedule includes lectures, fitness and mindfulness classes, cooking demonstrations, and gourmet food prepared by award-winning chefs. We balance sit-down presentations with plenty of opportunities for attendees to get up and participate in movement sessions.

Each year, we bring back favorite classes and introduce new ones into the mix. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more active classes on our upcoming cruise.

Building Muscle

Robert Cheeke leads his Functional Fitness class.

There are many simple exercises and nutrition tips that help vegan athletes achieve their fitness goals. HHAS presenter Robert Cheeke has more than 20 years of experience as a plant-based athlete. He specializes in areas of burning fat and building muscle, while increasing energy and staying fit and active year round.

In his lecture, “Exercise and Nutrition for Energy: Simple Exercises and Nutrition Tips to Keep Your Body Toned and Give You More Energy Year Round,” Robert examines the lack of energy that keeps many people from having the active lifestyle they want and provides solutions in the form of food and exercise. In “Functional Fitness,” Robert teaches attendees how to complete total body exercises for a full body workout without any special equipment. “Functional fitness classes are led in a follow-the-leader style,” says Robert. “I will perform the exercises with you, and you follow my movements. When I jog in place, you jog in place, and when I move to jumping jacks, you move to jumping jacks. You can go at your own pace, as each movement is typically performed for time (30 seconds of this, or one minute of that).”

On the panel Q&A titled “Powered by Plants,” Robert will be joined by fellow vegan athletes Matt Frazier, Angelica Kushi, Dani Taylor, Giacomo Marchese, and “Fitness over Fifty” trainer Larry Krug. Have burning questions about how athletes fuel their bodies on a plant-based diet? Learn from this selection of amazing plant-based athletes who have achieved success in their respective pursuits. Each participant is leading at least one other lecture or class. Click on their presenter pages for more information.

Husband-and-wife duo (or ‘swolemates’ as they call themselves) Giacomo Marchese and Dani Taylor will lead boot camps using resistance bands (buy one on the ship or bring your own), which offer a great portable way to get your muscles pumping. Dani is looking forward to leading a Women’s Boot Camp on her first-ever cruise: “I have taught many fitness classes in my life, but never on a vegan cruise! So I am very excited for this brand new opportunity to connect with other vegan women about becoming strong and fit all while on a beautiful vacation.” Because there are classes for every level, participants need not feel intimidated. Giacomo says, “I like that there are challenges for everyone, no matter how new or practiced they are to each style of training offered on the cruise.”

Pilates, Self Massage & Yoga—Oh My!

A yoga teacher, health and wellness coach, aerial performer, and stunt woman, Angelica Kushi takes a relaxed and integrative approach to health. In addition to multiple vinyasa flow yoga and heart-opening meditation classes, Angelica will also lead a Yoga Dance Party with music by DJ Josh Vincent. Once bodies are stretched, yoga poses will transition into dance moves.

Another return Holistic Holiday at Sea presenter, Alese Jones’ teaching is grounded in more than 25 years of experience in asana practice and ten years in meditation. She will lead an intermediate vinyasa flow yoga and yin/restorative yoga class (all levels), and meditation class (all levels). When asked why it’s important to have offerings for people of all levels, Alese replied, “It is important to include everyone with whatever fitness level they are currently at. What is also important is for the participant to learn to modify poses if needed, no matter what level yoga class they are attending. Yoga requires a deep quality of listening, so learning to modify to one’s needs allows that person to have a level of comfort no matter what class they are attending.”

Attending an all levels class, Alese adds, also cultivates body awareness. “Yoga is not looked at as a ‘fitness’ class. It is a practice encompassing far more than the physical body, and what I love about it is that it’s just you and your mat! If you approach it with honesty and openness, and with consistency, coupled with meditation, then the transformation and true gifts of yoga will happen on their own timing. When it happens is not our business. That’s grace.”

Chandrakant Hiester has sailed with Holistic Holiday at Sea for 14 years, coming aboard with Yogi Desai to lead morning yoga classes and Integrative Relaxation sessions. In 2018, he will lead lectures and classes on yoga and Integration Relaxation (a series of simple techniques that can be done lying on the floor or sitting in a chair).

Chandrakant says his aspirations for this cruise are to offer guests experiences that underscore the importance of what they eat. He adds, “(That is,) how to live in an attunement with the wisdom of the vital life force that not only digests food, but transforms it into a harmonious appropriateness in the experience we call life.”

Movement of all varieties helps reduce stress. Laughter is no exception. Nutritionist and macrobiotic counselor Lino Stanchich, who has been a presenter since year one of the cruise, will lead, “Laugh for the Health of It,” a lecture on the benefits of laughter. During this time, he will teach others how to consciously practice healing laughter throughout the day. He says, “Laughter is not only one of the most fun experiences in life, but also one of the most healthful for heart, circulation, and immunity… Laughter Therapy shows that it is important to laugh daily, whether we find anything “humorous” or not!” In another lecture, Lino will illustrate the benefits of self massage based on powerful healing techniques.

There’s Nothing Like a Good Stretch!

Bianka Steinfeldt (in yellow) leads class.

No matter what you choose to do, starting each day with a solid stretch is key. Bianka Steinfeldt will lead Pilates, Stretch, Natural Movement, Breath, and Reiki Meditation classes. When asked why stretching is important, Bianka replies that it’s in our nature as humans to stretch. After sitting or standing for some time, our bodies crave a good stretch. Additionally, it’s important to stretch to avoid pain in our muscles. When it comes to fitness, most people think of strength and cardiovascular exercises. “But,” says Bianka, “if you want to stay fit, don’t forget to stretch!… Some of us shorten our biceps by just sitting all day in front of a computer. So the function of your arms will be shortened and other muscles have to take over. You may start getting pain in your elbows, shoulders, and so on. Imagine your bicep is a sponge and if it doesn’t get any water, the sponge will dry out and it is easy to break.”

As a preview to her class, “Stretch One by One,” here are some of Bianka’s tips to proper stretching. In order to get the benefits of stretching, it’s important to stretch properly:

  • Warm up. Never stretch a cold muscle; it can result in injury. Instead, warm up with some cardiovascular activity prior to stretching. This will help make your muscles more pliable and conducive to stretching.
  • Breathe. Sometimes we’re inclined to hold our breath when stretching, but this is counterproductive because it results in tightness and resistance. Instead, breathe into a stretch. Breathe slowly and deeply. As you exhale, you may feel yourself naturally sink a little deeper into the stretch.
  • Be gentle. Never force a stretch. Instead, gently ease your way into a stretch and let your body dictate how far you can go. Flexibility will naturally increase over time—forcing a stretch will only result in injury, not increased flexibility.
  • Be consistent. The best way to build flexibility is with a consistent stretching routine. Aim for 3 to 5 days per week. If you commit to a stretching program, you will see results.

Don’t underestimate the value of stretching. It can keep you fit and healthy for years!

Marcus Gary & Maria Johnson leading Qi Gong class.

Marcus Gary and his partners/co-instructors Maria Johnson and Jamila Makini will lead the class, “Looking and Feeling Great at Any Age with 5 Organ Qi Gong.” The Taoists developed a system for cultivating and promoting the free flow of energy in the body through the exercise called Qi Gong. In this class, you’ll learn postures and sounds that purge toxic energies out of the major organ energy stems. Want to go deeper? Check out their private consultations.

“For those that really want to get into this practice, we introduce a Qi Gong lifestyle. It’s more than just an exercise program, but a way of life that incorporates diet, movement, acupressure massage, and meditation to balance our Qi (energy). Why would one want to have balanced Qi? To have a good life.

This will be our third year offering consultations. The process is called Digital Meridian Imaging, which is a short (but accurate) diagnosis of one’s Qi body, pinpointing where imbalances may be causing emotional and physical issues. The client walks away with a customized Qi Gong routine to address the results of their exam.”

A Healthy Body, A Healthy World

Personal trainer and compassionate animal advocate James Aspey went vegetarian a few years ago. He began to understand more about the cruelty of the dairy industries and soon committed to veganism. In addition to protecting animals, James has found it so much easier to maintain a healthy physical appearance than when he ate meat, dairy, and eggs. James will be making his Holistic Holiday at Sea debut, presenting on vegan activism and why he took a 365-day vow of silence for the animals in 2014.

James told us, “Once I learned that we are likely to be healthier and live a longer life without eating animals, I could no longer justify participating in the violence.”

Whether you’re attending the cruise because of your passion for animal advocacy, culinary talents, background in medicine, or interest in the mind-body connection, Holistic Holiday at Sea has something special in store for you. Plant-based living is the way to a healthier, more peaceful world. We look forward to sailing with you!