The Best Beach Yoga Workout

Yoga clears the mind and rejuvenates the soul.  It forces you to stretch, relax, and strengthen pretty much any muscle in your body and it’s not always found in crowded gym rooms or expensive yoga studios.  It can be done anywhere, and yoga on the beach was on the top of my list of things to do on a tropical island in Thailand. 

I want to share my five favorite yoga poses with you.   Poses that are super easy to do on a peaceful beach while listening to the soft lapping of the waves as the breeze blows through your hair and the sand seeps through your toes (am I painting a serene enough picture for you?).  It is better to attempt these positions somewhere close to the water’s edge so that the sand isn’t too forgiving under your feet (meaning you will fall less and thus not becoming frustrated and giving up).  The point of beach yoga is not to purely strengthen your body, but I believe its main purpose should be to strengthen your soul.  It should make you more aware of your body and thus more aware of what you need and what you want out of life.  Yoga has helped me to clear my mind and help me focus completely on myself and my most cardinal goal: happiness.

Note: In all of these poses, make sure to keep your abs tight and flexed so that you keep your back in alignment.  This is extremely important and also gives you a nice ab workout!!

Note #2:  REMEMBER TO BREATH!!!!

My 5 favorite Beach Yoga Poses

1.  Triangle

Triangle Pose

This is my favorite pose and one that I try to do as often as possible.  Because I had back surgery a few years ago, I have incessant back pain and I incorporated this pose into my morning routine.  It allows my spine to realign and gives an incredible stretch to all my back and groin muscles.  If you don’t feel a stretch then you need to lower yourself closer to the floor, but do it slowly and always be aware of keeping your back aligned and your abs tight.

How to do it:

1)      Start with your legs at least three feet apart and arms stretched out to your sides.

2)      Now turn your right foot out to the right and keep your left foot facing forward.

3)      Slowly lean your body to your right and bring your right hand down next to the inside of your right foot. 

4)      Turn your gaze up to your left hand, which should be pointing upward.

5)      When finished, slowly come back to the position in Step 2, rotate your right foot inward, rotate your left foot to the left, and repeat the steps. 

2.  Crescent

Crescent Pose

This pose strengthens your back, arm and leg muscles and is great for working on your balance.  You can keep your eyes pointed forward or you can raise them to gaze towards your hands.  Make sure your knee is above your foot and not in front of it, which puts too much stress on the joint and who needs stress in this environment?!

How to do it: Usually you move into this pose from Downward Dog, but since that one isn’t included in my favorite beach moves (particularly because who wants to be sticking their butt way up in the air in a bathing suit, I know I don’t!), I’ll show you how from a standing position.

1)      Start with your feet shoulder-width apart

2)      Kick back your right foot behind you and bend your left knee so that it is at a right angle (both feet should be facing forward).

3)      Clasp your hands like you are making a gun and slowly, and I mean slowly because this is where you will lose your balance, raise them towards the sky. 

4)      Hold for as long as you can (remembering to breath while you’re at it), then bring your hands down to prayer pose.

5)      Slowly, frame your left foot with your hands and kick the left foot back (you are now in a plank-like position).

6)      Now, kick your right foot forward and repeat.  

3.  Warrior II

Warrior II Pose

This pose strengthens your shoulders, arms and legs while opening up your chest and working on your posture.  This is a power pose, sometimes I really do feel like a badass when I’m doing this pose, and you should feel strong and in control throughout this pose.  If you don’t feel the burn, widen your stance and make sure that your front knee is bent at a 90 degree angle.  This pose should definitely give you a nice leg workout.   

How to do it:

1)      From Crescent with left foot forward, angle your right foot so that it is now perpendicular to your body (it should be pointing to your right).

2)      Sweep your arms so that your left arm is pointing forward and your right arm is now pointing backwards.

3)      Hold for a few breaths and when you are finished, sweep your arms back into crescent, rotate your right foot forward, bring your hands down to prayer, frame your left foot, and push your left foot back.  Repeat.

4.  Warrior III

Warrior III

This pose is for the more advanced Beach Yogis.  It takes a lot of balance and concentration, and it’s great for your butt!!  It also strengthens your legs and shoulders.  Remember to keep your back straight and your abs tight, its super important on this one.  Also, try to pick a point to focus on and put all your energy and focus into that object.  This will definitely help your balance. 

How to do it:

1)      From Crescent with left foot forward, throw all of your weight onto your left foot while straightening out your left leg and your right leg behind you.

2)      Keep your arms by your side until you have regained your balance (the first few times are sure to make you fall, but that’s ok since you’re only falling into the soft, warm sand).  Once balanced, slowly bring your arms forward in front of your head (in a supermanlike fashion).

3)      Hold for a few breaths and when you are finished, bring your arms back to your side, lower your right foot back down into crescent,  bring your hands down to prayer, frame your left foot, and push your left foot back.  Repeat.

5.  Prayer Twist

Prayer Twist

This is definitely my second favorite position so I thought I’d end with it.  It stretches your back by opening up your shoulders and strengthening your legs in the process.  It’s another pose that takes some balance and concentration, but I think you’ve gotten the hang of that by now. 

How to do it:

1)      Once again from Crescent with left foot forward (all power moves pretty much base themselves from this core pose), bring your hands to prayer position.

2)      Now this part is a little tricky so follow closely.  Rotate your body towards your left knee, twist your torso, and rest your right elbow on your left knee.  Your hands should still be in prayer position, but your face should be looked towards the left of your body.  Make sure to keep your shoulders in line with your back. 

3)      Hold for a few breaths and when you are finished, slowly rotate yourself back into crescent with hands still in prayer position,   frame your left foot, and push your left foot back.  Repeat.

But I can’t forget the beloved Tree Pose!!

Tree

Tree Pose

This pose works on your strength and balance.  You must pick a focal point and not stray from that point.  It can be a rock in the sand, a boat on the horizon, anything that looks like it is standing still.  Or to make it more difficult you can close your eyes, but hey, you’re on the beach, why would you want to close your eyes?!  You must clear your mind and focus solely on the pose and the longer you can stay in this posture, the more rewarding it is. (Remember: Keep your abs tight)

How to do it:

1)      Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.

2)      Move your weight to your left side.  Hold that for a few breaths.

3)       Slowly raise your right foot so that it is either nestled on your calve muscle (for beginners) or just above your knee (for intermediates).

4)      You can either keep your hands in prayer pose in front of you (for beginners) or raise them above your head and point them to the heavens (for intermediates).

5)      Hold for a few breaths or as long as you want.  Slowly lower your right foot until it is on the ground and even out your weight between your feet.  Repeat the process.

Let me know what you think and definitely please let me know if you try it!!  I know there are so many yoga pose sites out there, but I hope you enjoyed mine as well!!

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2 thoughts on “The Best Beach Yoga Workout

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