As a surfer and yoga instructor, India Rineartz is passionate about health and wellness. She’s going to be joining us on Ola Niña to share her tips on how we can live, eat and surf better.
I met India in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua where she lives and works as a yoga instructor. As we discuss her home, she smiles:
“Playa Gigante is a gorgeous little fishing village, surrounded by jungle and close to lots of waves. It’s a third world country and there are always issues that come with that, but I love it here.”
It is here, in this beautiful setting, that India and her friend Carly started their wellness center, Papaya Wellness, 2 years ago. As well as running regular yoga classes and yoga/surf retreats, the girls spend time working with the local community.
“We educate the local women on health and exercise. We run fitness and yoga classes weekly, which are free of cost. We run health workshops a few times a year to educate the village women about balanced diets using healthy local produce”.
India believes that education is the best way for local women and their children to maintain good health in years to come.
“What we learn mentally and physically manifests in our lives and our health. We use this to help improve their lives and the lives of their families.”
After living in Nicaragua for 5 years, India has seen a lot of change.
“We’re living here. It’s a mutual thing, we are friends with the locals, we give to each other it’s the only way to make growth sustainable here and give local women more opportunities.”
When she isn’t teaching yoga or motivating the local ladies in a cross fit class, India is surfing.
“My favorite break here is Colorado’s (a chunky beach break) because it’s constantly challenging me. It’s always pitching me over the falls no matter how confident I am. It’s very humbling”.
Despite being known as one of Playa Gigante’s best female surfers, India didn’t grow up surfing. She was born in Jamaica and later moved with her parents to Canada, where she grew up and went to school. She caught her first wave at the age of 15.
“It was at Chesterman’s beach out in Tofino, on the West Coast of British Colombia. I was wearing a 5ml wetsuit. My uncle lent me his old school 10ft bomby board (it was 80’s splash retro colored). It was built for Waikiki outer surf breaks. I would haul that board around with me on local buses, in taxis, anywhere I could get them to let me.”
“The first time I paddled out it felt natural, it was exciting and challenging and I was hooked straight away. I stood up and I was hooked.”
“At first I surfed by myself, my parents would take me down and wait on the beach for me. Then I was taught by this total babe, who was 10 years older than me, his name was Adam and I had a crazy crush on him.”
“After that, I would surf the south island, close to Victoria every weekend, with some for my best girl friends. We had little surfer girl posse, we called ourselves the Blue Crushing It Team. [Laughs]”.
Part of the reason India now teaches yoga is because she feels that surfing and yoga create a similar peace of mind.
“I got into yoga, not necessarily to teach, but to get away and learn about myself, my body and my journey. I found it helps me reflect, it’s a different experience to surfing but ultimately it’s same energy. It’s really positive and after I finish my practice I feel strong, focused and grounded. “
It’s also the reason she now runs her own wellness center.
“Because I love what I do, I put my energy into teaching people. The focus yoga and surfing give me, helps me move forward with my goal of bringing people a transformative experience at Papaya Wellness.”
When it comes to how she feels right now, India is a bundle of positivity. Her love of surfing, yoga and health have given her focus to keep creating positive change in rural Nicaragua through the things she loves.
“I feel charged, able, empowered and motivated as a single woman creating a sustainable business here. I want local women to be a part of the process. It feels right and it feels real. I feel alive because I know I’m creating change for the better.”
Apart from being a ripping surfer and a yoga goddess, India is just generally an enjoyable person to be around. We hope you enjoy her input into Ola Niña and that you can one day make it to Nicaragua to surf with her and the other women at Playa Gigante!