From deserted lakeside shores to bustling boardwalks with joyful children and flying frisbees, practicing yoga at the beach can be a wonderful experience.
If you’re lucky enough to have a shoreline to yourself, the beach can be a meditative space that evokes a mindful practice with the sounds of lapping waves and gentle, salty breezes. But even on overrun beaches, rolling out your mat and taking some alone time surrounded by people can be a beautiful, invigorating experience. Draw energy from the laughter and play, and connect not just with the earth below you but the people around you.
Here are five of our favorite poses to try during your beach yoga practice.
What could be more appropriate for the beach? This pose opens the hips and the chest while forming your body into an elegant arch. After settling into your practice, one of the best ways to move into mermaid pose is to start in warrior one, then move into a low lunge, then into one-legged pigeon pose, and finally into mermaid pose. Going through this progression will help ensure that your body is properly aligned and supported, protecting your knees and your hips. Here’s an additional tip that’s very important, be sure to keep your ribs and shoulders rotating forward.
If you’re new to inversions, they make for wonderful beach yoga poses because the natural slope of the shore can give you the extra support you need to kick up into position, and soft sand can ease any fears of falling over. Forearm stands are wonderful for strengthening the entire upper body and improving circulation.
To get into this pose safely, begin in a forearm plank, making sure that your elbows and palms are shoulder-width apart. Then slowly begin to walk your feet forward as much as you can, drawing your shoulder blades together, and extend one leg up into the air, keeping your gaze forward. In a controlled manner, come up onto the ball of your planted foot, and if you’re able, bring it up to meet your other leg.
Another great pose to try for the first time at the beach is crow pose. If you’re worried about tumbling forward, pick a nice soft spot in the sand. Make sure that your hands are evenly supported, and don’t try this pose if you have weak or injured wrists or if you’re pregnant.
Standing Balance Poses
Practicing a flow of standing balance poses can make you feel elegant and powerful, just like the water. If you find balance poses tricky, the sand will provide reassuring cushion. If you have no trouble with balance, these poses will help you enjoy a great practice without getting covered in sand.
Going back to fundamental yoga flows can help you reconnect to your practice and to the world around you. Practicing sun salutations at the beach is a great way to remember what brought you to yoga in the first place.
However you choose to practice, remember to put on beach yoga wear that will make you comfortable and support your practice. Always pack layers, as even hot days can feel a lot cooler when the ocean breeze picks up, and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.