Take a deep breath, dig your toes in the sand, and welcome a fresh start to your day with yoga on the beach. This is no ordinary practice, but is an ocean deep routine to replicate the majestic wonders of the beach culture. So whether you’ve dreamed of becoming a dolphin or a heron, celebrate life and aquatic style with some of the best beach yoga poses.
Ujjayi breathingThere’s no better way to set a yoga practice than with Ujjayi breathing. Also known as “ocean’s breath,” this deep breathing truly replicates the sound of the ocean. Sit comfortably on your mat, or on a rock, and allow the spine to come to a neutral position. Inhale, (aim for five counts) inflate the diaphragm and ribs and then exhale (aim for five counts) draw the ribs and diaphragm back to center. The exhalation should be deep and felt in the “back” of the throat, thus creating and hearing the oceans breath. Continue for five minutes.
Extended Heron PosePurpose: Lengthens the back side of the body – glutes, hamstrings and calves
Sit in staff position, with legs extended and spine neutral. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees and interlock the fingers over the ball of the foot. Exhale, extend at the knee and push the foot upward and slightly extend the spine. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the alternate leg.
Turtle PosePurpose: Lengthens the back of the legs, upper back and arms.
Sit with legs in a V, straddle position. Inhale, lift the spine and exhale fold forward and hold for several breaths. When ready, slowly bend the knees and place hands or forearms underneath the knee caps while maintaining the forward position. This is dependent upon flexibility but hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Sun Goddess PosePurpose: Strengthens lower body while expanding the chest region.
Stand upright with feet wider than shoulders. Turn toes out and bend elbows at 90 degrees. Slowly lower the hips, to what looks like plié squat. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Dolphin PosePurpose: Strengthens upper body and lengthens the back side of the legs.
Start on all fours and place forearms on the ground with elbows in level with the knees. Curl the toes underneath and let the crown of the head face the ground. Lift the hips in the air and relax the heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Boat PosePurpose: Strengthen the core and promote better balance.
Sit with hips and feet on the mat. Lift arms to shoulder height and slightly lean the torso back. Lift the feet off the ground and begin to balance on the pelvis while contracting the abdominals. If possible, slowly extend the legs while maintaining a neutral spine. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Fish PosePurpose: Opens the chest and expands the heart center.
Lie on your back with legs together. Prop up on the forearms and lift the heart center toward the sky. Slightly, bring the shoulder blades together and rest the crown of the head on the mat. To come out of the pose, place forearms on the ground and lift chest and head off the ground and slowly release to center. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Photos courtesy Elizabeth Kovar