At the Beach — February 26, 2015 at 5:00 am

Yoga on the Beach

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©istockphoto/matthewennisphotography

©istockphoto/matthewennisphotography

Beach yoga is the perfect workout for sun-worshippers to exercise in nature. Catch a tan and burn calories as you flow between downward facing dog and sun goddess pose. Yoga on the beach increases strength and stabilization while performing the asanas on the uneven sand. Warm up the body with sun salutations to loosen muscles and to salute a breath of salty sea air. Beach yoga is most effective with the Ujjayi breath, or ocean’s breath, which connects yogis to their inner world, and the ocean. Remember: breathe deep and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Hold each position between 30 to 60 seconds. Complete two rounds of the following poses. For one-legged exercises, lead exercises with the right leg leading in the first round followed by the left leg in the second round.

1Palm Tree
Focus: Increases balance.

How to Perform: Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart. Inhale arms overhead and keep palms facing forward. Lift your heels off the ground and balance on the balls of your feet. Concentrate your eyes’ gaze on the sand or on the horizon. 

2Downward Facing Dog
Focus: Lengthens the chest, back, gluteal, hamstrings and calf muscles.

How to Perform: Situate your body on all fours and place your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Curl your back toes underneath. Exhale and lift your hips into the air. Relax your upper body toward your thighs and heels toward the ground. Roll your shoulders away from your ears.

3Runner’s Lunge
Focus: Increases hip flexibility.

How to Perform: From a plank position, step your right foot forward between your hands. Keep your right knee at a 90-degree angle and your left leg straight. Focus your eyes’ gaze on the ground. 

4Crescent Lunge
Focus: Increases lower body strength and balance.

How to Perform: From runner’s lunge, lift your torso over your hips. Inhale and raise arms overhead with palms facing forward. Maintain a 90-degree angle at the knee and stay on the ball of your left foot. Keep eyes on the horizon.

5Warrior II
Focus: Increases lower body strength.

How to Perform: From crescent lunge, place your left heel on the ground and your back foot at 45-degrees. Keep your right leg at 90-degrees. Keep your torso facing forward and lift arms to shoulder height. Place your eyes’ gaze over your right middle finger.

6Tree Pose
Focus: Increases balance and hip mobility.

How to Perform: Stand tall with feet under your hips. Bend your left knee and rotate your hip away from your body’s center. Place your left foot on your right calf or inner thigh. Inhale and lift arms overhead with palms facing inward. Keep your eyes’ gaze on the horizon.

7Dolphin
Focus: Lengthens the chest, back, gluteal, hamstrings and calf muscles.

How to Perform: Situate your body on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Interlock your fingers and place forearms on the ground. Keep your elbows in level with your  knees. Curl your back toes underneath. Exhale and lift your hips in the air. Relax your heels and focus your eyes on your toes.

8Half Lord of the Fish Pose
Focus: Lengthens spinal and external rotator muscles.

How to Perform: Sit on the ground and straighten your legs. Place your right foot on the outside of your left thigh. Rotate your torso toward your inner thigh and place your left elbow on the outside of your right thigh. Place your right hand behind your body on the ground. Focus your eye gaze behind your body.

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