Why practice yoga? A regular yoga routine can increase strength, flexibility, and balance, and may also help to clear your head, improve focus, and relieve stress. These are just a few of the many benefits that just keep increasing the more you keep it up.
Another great thing about yoga is that you can completely adjust your routine based on your skill level, mood, physical requirements, and location. Why not reconnect with nature by practicing your next sun salutations at the beach? Draw the strength and tranquil flow of the ocean into your body and mind, and relax in the warmth of the sun. All youÕll need are a yoga mat or beach towel, comfortable clothes, and some good sunscreen. Here are a few yoga exercises you can do at the beach.
1. Downward-facing Dog
One of the most restorative yoga poses, downward-facing dog is great for your shoulders, arms and hamstrings. There are several variations to this pose to increase or lessen the challenge, but hereÕs the most basic: Start on all fours, then push off of your knees and lift until only your palms and your feet are pressing into your mat. Draw the heart toward the thighs and the hips toward the sky. You can walk your feet forward or back until the pose is comfortable for you.
2. Upward-facing Dog
This pose is basically the opposite of the last one, and benefits your back and hips. From downward-facing dog, bend your elbows and lower yourself to the ground slowly. From your belly, bring your hands near your shoulders, press the palms into the sand as you straighten your arms and roll the shoulders back. Shine your heart forward.
3. Side Plank Pose
Great for building strength in your arms, and the sandy beach will provide a nice soft landing to practice your balance! Shift onto the outside edge of your left foot, and stack your right foot on top of the left. Now swing your right hand onto your right hip, turn your torso to the right as you do, and support the weight of your body on the outer left foot and left hand. When exiting this pose, come back down into a plank again and try the other side.
4. Dolphin Pose
This pose is a variation of downward-facing dog, but we thought the name was fitting for a beach routine. Begin on all fours again, then curl your toes under and lift your hips as you would to go into downward-facing dog, but this time keep your elbows and forearms on the ground. Poses that leave you upside-down like this are great for relieving tension, calming the nervous system, and easing headaches!
5. Warrior II
A strong, empowering pose, warrior 2 will strengthen your legs. Step into a lunge, stretching your front leg only as much as is comfortable, and position your back foot so that your toes are pointed outward. Be sure your front knee does not extend past your ankle. Stretch your arms parallel to the ground, and turn your head so that you are looking forward over your arm.
If youÕre looking for more of a challenge, try stand-up paddle board yoga at Wrightsville Beach! YouÕll take your practice to a whole new level while enjoying the beauty of the ocean. Have you practiced yoga at the beach? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the Facebook comments below!