Best of the Maldives: Water Polo – Angsana Velavaru

Angsana Velavaru - water polo

Water Polo Day today. The birthday of William Wilson’s who created the sport. Another sport invented by the British and then they stopped being good at (like football, badminton, rugby, and we’ll see about the upcoming cricket). I’ve always a bit surprised there is not more of this sport in the Maldives. In Italy, lots of seaside harbours have water polo nets and boundaries set up for playing. Angsana Velavaru is the only resort I have found offering it. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:00 – 7:00 pm free of charge. So get your fill of egg-beater kicks and chocolate whistles.

Best of the Maldives: Table Shuffleboard – Sun Siyam Irufushi

Sun Siyam Irufushi - shuffle table

If there is one activity that evokes indolent leisure time it is the cruise classic – shuffleboard. Of course, in the Maldives everything is just that little bit more relaxed. So why push a big disk with a big pole when you can use a little on a shuffled board table at Sun Siyam Irufushi. It’s located at the resort bar so you can even order a cocktail and even pull up a chair if that sound like too much exertion for you.

Best of the Maldives: Glow SUP – Kandolhu

Kandolhu - SUP glow

Flying above the house reef with its own night time navigational lights is Kandolhu’s inspired night boarding…

We attach LED lights to the bottom which can change colour (or guests can select a colour) allowing you to see into the water without getting wet.”

There is something surreal about the ocean at night. And as with many habitats, a whole new host of creatures come alive and active. Not to mention a captivating way to surround yourself with a canopy of stars.

Offered Monday through Friday 6:30 to 7:30 for 1 to 2 guests per tour at $45 pp

Best of the Maldives: Yoga – Taj Exotica

Taj Exotica - yoga pavillion

My first ever outdoor yoga session in my life was in the Maldives. I had been introduced to the discipline back during my West Africa travels with one lesson in Togo, but then it was 25 years later when Lori and I did the sunrise yoga at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. I’m not quite an avid practitioner though Lori and I have a weekly lesson. Lori is well into it, has done some special yoga retreats and did several yoga sessions during our last Maldives tour. I always check out the resort spa and scan the treatments and classes on offer in every visit. And I have never come across the range of yoga sessions offered by Taj Exotica.

Taj features and over water yoga and meditation pavilion (see photo above) as well as two breath-taking over-water couple spa suites and the Heat, Hydro and Relaxation Pavilion, with its welcoming sauna, generous relaxation deck and waterbeds.

We have been studying yoga for over a year now and no two sessions are the same. I’m regularly surprised by the entirely new collection of poses that our teacher Vivian Campbell introduces to us each week. Yoga seems to have no end to the variety of not just poses, but also different styles and technique variations. Taj reflects the diversity of this ancient art with its own equally diverse menu of sessions…

  • Asana, Prananyama, Mudara, Banda
    • Balanced – 90 minutes
    • Advanced – 90 minutes
    • Abhilaya – 60 minutes
    • Advanced Surya Namaskar – 60 minute
    • Gentle – 60 minutes
    • Dynamic – 60 minutes
    • Pranayama – 60 minutes
  • ·Shatkarma
    • Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana – 90 minutes
    • Kunjal Kriya – 55 minutes
    • Jala Neti – 45 minutes
  • Meditation
    • Yoga Nidra – 25 minutes
    • Yoga Nidra Advanced – 50 minutes
    • Hirdayakasha Dharana – 50 minutes
    • Ajapa Japa – 50 minutes
    • Antar Mouna – 40 minutes

Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.” – Sting

Best of the Maldives: Beach Gym – Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli boot camp 1

If you want the buff beach bod, then you might want to head to Jumeirah Vittaveli for some beach bootcamp on the beach gym they have set up there. Here is another “finally seen” as I had first seen such apparatus during a holiday in Spain a few years ago where they were quite popular for working out in the sun and counteracting the effects of too many sangrias the night before.

Jumeirah Vittaveli boot camp 2

Best of the Maldives: Free Diving Certification – Dusit Thani

Dusit Thani - free diving

If you yourself want a deep dive of learning with your own diploma, then Dusit Thani was the first of the Maldives resorts to offer an official free diving certification. With their $36,000 investment in specialised support and safety equipment

“Dusit Thani Maldives takes pride in launching the first official and internationally approved free-diving centre in the Maldives, an incredible addition to the selection of water sports available at the resort. Free-diving is a form of underwater diving that relies on the diver’s ability to hold his or her breath until resurfacing without the use of scuba gear. Besides experiencing the tranquillity of underwater kingdom, there are various health and fitness benefits attributed to this unique diving activity. Dusit Thani Maldives’s free-dive centre has joined forces with Apnea Total, a globally renowned free-diving organisation. The Apnea Total Free-diving Education System and Standards are followed at the centre and guests will be provided Apnea Total certifications that are recognized worldwide. Resort guests will train under the supervision of highly experienced free-dive instructors who have themselves worked and trained under record-holding free-divers. Additionally, the centre boasts world-class CRESSI equipment and the rental cost of these is included in the course price. The center offers all levels ofApnea Total courses:Free-Diver Basic, Advanced Free-Diver, and Free-Diving Master, each lasting 2 days, 3 days and up to 5 weeks respectively. The Basic course will equip guests to dive safely and comfortably down to 20 meters on a single breath and the Advanced course equips guests to dive down to 40 metres below sea level.”

Best of the Maldives: Coconut Oil Making Class – Soneva Fushi

Extracting the very essence of the magic coconut fruit is so easy a child could do it. In fact. at Soneva Fushi, children do do it at the resort’s exquisite summer camp programme

“We head to the spa, where the spa therapist will help the children make fresh coconut oil using coconuts of the island, the children are given the opportunity to take part in all aspects of making the oil.”

Sounds a bit better than the “bug juice” and frigid lake swims when I went to Camp Belknap as a child. If you want to give it a go at home, I’ve found a pretty handy video guide above.

Best of the Maldives: Stott Pilates – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah pilates machine

Versatile athletes need weight training for strength, cardio for endurance and  technique. Pilates is tainted with a bit of a “aging bored housewife” stereotype, but it is great for the flexibility and core fitness needed for top technique in most sports. I have also started practicing Pilates every week with a group of guys in the neighbourhood. And if you want to see a real manly pro then check in with Lindley (photo) at One & Only Reethi Rah who offers “Stott Pilates” instruction. The “Stott” variant focuses on the “natural curvature of the spine” rather than a more straight alignment of conventional Pilates.  Our sessions at home use maybe a ball or a band, but Reethi is kitted out with a number of high-tech specialist Pilates machines for the most advanced workout I’ve come across.

Best of the Maldives: Walking / Running Path – Kurumba

Kurumba - running pathway

Olympic Day today. And a particularly timely one with Rio 2016 just around the corner. Elite athletes around world (well, the clean ones at least) will be in the final stages of preparing for their lifetime’s pursuit. A few of my friends in the rowing world will be making the trip to Brazil with Team GB.

If you fancy a bit of chill before the thrill (or you are consoling yourself for missing out on selection), then you can still carry on your roadwork training in the Maldives…at Kurumba. The resort features a handy little running track effectives. A paved pathway circumnavigating the island.

Running on the beach can provide a more exhausting workout, but the unsteady surface can result in a losing your footing and maybe even twisting your ankle (not something you want to either right before your Olympic event or even just on holiday). Many paths in the Maldives crisscross the islands, but Kurumba’s is a handy loop which allows for a convenient circuit just over a kilometre (see above). Some parts pass under nicely shading palms trees and other parts run fairly close to the ocean’s edge for an inspiring seaside vista.

Every time we have visited the resort, we have seen a guest jogging on it. In fact, GM Jason Kruse shared his own run (see above).

Gold medal to Kurumba.