Muscat: It was love at first sight and she immediately fell for Masirah Island’s serene beauty. Amelia German, who hails from the UK’s Berkshire, first visited the Sultanate’s largest island in July 2018. It was her interest in nature that brought her to Masirah Island, having studied biology and ecology and worked in wildlife conservation mainly in Wales and Scotland.
When the pandemic hit the island she decided to stayed back instead of going home. Once settled in Masirah she set about teaching yoga to residents and expatriates first face-to-face classes to online during lockdown.
Before COVID-19 hit the island, she taught yoga as well as English to the kids on the island. According to her, practicing yoga can help fight coronavirus as it boosts the immune system.
“Practising yoga helps calm our minds because it triggers a parasympathetic nervous system through various postures (asanas) and pranayama (breath control exercises) that helps to reduce tension in muscles and joints,” says Amelia.
Students from the UK, Spain, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and Sudan too joined her online classes.
“The beauty of it was everyone suddenly had a lot of time available and could attend classes every day and some even for twice a day. This was great towards their improvement so they could start seeing the health benefits quickly. It was lovely to connect to my family and friends, past students, and people who I knew through social media,” she explains.
In between her classes, she had time to enjoy the sparsely populated 165-km long island as social distancing was never an issue.
She misses out on the kite surfers and windsurfers, who normally visit this time of the year to make the most of the excellent weather. The strong winds and shallow waters make it ideal for them to travel from all over the world.
Another surprise was Masirah’s hidden cave, foam eddies, mudflats, wadis and offshore islets, which are home to huge species of turtles and birds.
It took her two days of searching the mountains to locate them again. The route to the cave, which is at the top of the mountain, takes past some strange rock formations that look like animals and rival Duqm’s famous Rock Garden.
Turtle breeding season is a treat to watch on the island as the island hosts all four of Oman’s nesting species of turtle. During the night one can see many huge turtles, some over 100 years old, making their way up to the beach to lay their eggs.
“I am always fascinated by places that are relatively untouched by development and there is an abundant nature. These prehistoric animals have been using the beaches here a lot longer than people have and I really hope that they continue to do so,” she explains.
Amelia hopes that there would be much better protection of the turtles themselves, as well as their nesting sites and the environment in which they live, to ensure that they continue to thrive.
Before landing in Oman, she served as a volunteer in Ecuador assisting scientists with their research on rainforest bird species, trained in Aberdeen in wildlife conservation, taught English in South Korea and Bahrain and worked on a turtle conservation project in Sri Lanka.
Amelia wants to carry on her work in both yoga and wildlife conservation. She also plans to start doing yoga and wildlife ecotourism tours and explore India in the coming months.
(Follow Amelia in Instagram @ameliayoga.om)
Pictures by Amelia German and Nika Sekarak