Aloha! Today I had the pleasure of practicing yoga on the beach! It was a great way to hit my "reset" button, so to speak. There is something about breathing in the fresh sea air, feeling the sea breeze against your skin, and wiping sand off of your body that just brings you back down to Earth. We all get in a routine in some form or another in life, whether it is with your yoga practice, eating habits or daily exercise. Isn't it nice to change things up once in a while? If you haven't tried yoga on the beach, it is actually quite fun and challenging! I feel like MOST physical exercises like yoga, volleyball, running, riding a bicycle, gymnastics, and even walking can be more of a challenge on the beach!
So, I decided to write this blog post about yoga on the beach and offer a few helpful tips for the varying elements you might experience on the beach. Personally, I have only practiced yoga on the beach about 6 or 7 times, which doesn't seem like a lot, but during those adventures at the beach I was able to pick up on a few helpful tips.
▪ Know Your Routine. You don't have to have an entire sequence memorized, but I do recommend having your sun salutations down pat. Once you have a Sun Salutation A or B down, you can play around with some of your favorite postures afterwards. Please be mindful of your body and practice at a level you are comfortable with. Also, remember to give both sides of your body the attention it needs and to help even yourself out. Just have fun with it!
▪ Pack Lightly and Leave the Yoga Mat at Home. So you're probably thinking "how do I do yoga without my trusty mat?"... or you have already tried yoga on the beach and you understand why I am suggesting this. I recommend using a large bed sheet or medium weight large blanket. If it's a thicker blanket, then you don't need extra items to place on the corners to keep it from blowing away. Also be sure to pack a bottle of water, because re-hydration is important with outdoor activities.
▪ Treat it Like a Day at the Beach. In addition to bringing an ample supply of water, pack things like sunscreen, a beach towel, flip flops, and I also like to wear my swimsuit underneath my workout clothes. I pack everything in a lightweight backpack for convenience and just carry my blanket, partly because my backpack is tiny.
▪ Be Aware of the Tide. Remember to keep your distance between the water and your blanket. Otherwise, if it is high tide, the waves can move in quickly in the middle of your routine and possibly soak all of your belongings.
▪ Try to Setup on the Compact Sand. A firm platform is usually best for yoga, especially when it comes to balancing. Feel free to setup your blanket on the softer sand if you like, but just be aware of the fact that softer the sand makes you sink and move around more. If compact sand is not an option, then just try to smooth out area with your feet before placing down the blanket.
▪ Enjoy the Waves. If you are lucky enough to practice on a more secluded beach, then allow yourself to enjoy the sound of the waves during your practice. If you are practicing on a very loud public beach, then you might consider bringing your mp3 playing device and headphones just to help zone out all the distractions. Either way be sure to check out those waves periodically throughout your practice and really be present in the moment.
▪ Embrace Your Practice. Sometimes it can be a distraction to do yoga on the beach because of all the different elements involved. People will stare at you, walk behind or in front of you, possibly kick sand on you as they pass, or the wind can be strong and throw off your balance. Embrace these new and exciting environment changes with an open mind, and use these distractions to fuel your focus. Focusing on your breath can help center a busy mind, so remember to INHALE and EXHALE with purpose.
▪ Finish with a Lengthy Meditation. Meditation and the beach go hand-in-hand. The grounding energy from sitting on the sand, the therapeutic sea salt in the air works wonders for your sinuses, and the calming sounds of the waves prepare your body, mind, and spirit for a beautiful meditative experience. Take a moment to soak it all in, and try to meditate a little bit longer than normal. You can even place a shell or some sand in your hands to help focus on the more grounding aspect of your meditation.
▪ Reward Yourself with Water. After you finish your yoga practice, please remember to drink your water. Once you feel refreshed, gear up and jump into the water! The cool ocean water is so rewarding after a nice warm summer practice!! Take notice of how the water feels against your skin, how it cools the skin, and warms your spirit. This is my favorite part of doing beach yoga!! I don't know what it is about jumping into an ocean full of life and energy after a calm moment of meditation, but somehow it makes me feel very alive.
So are you ready to go to the beach or what?? I hope this tutorial helps you on your next adventure to the beach. Namaste. -Lorel Lee