The ocean naturally relaxes the mind and spirit. Taking yoga, specifically “yin” or restorative yoga, to the beach will help calm you even more–especially if you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. The rhythmic crashing of the waves will actually ease your brain into alpha waves, slowing down the parasympathetic system, along with your entire body.
Sync your breath with the ocean waves while flowing through these 5 poses that will have you feeling oh-so-zen within minutes.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Standing as tall as you can in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), start with your hands in prayer at your heart center. Take 3 deep breaths, connecting to the powerful beauty of the ocean. Begin to think about an intention for your practice. What do you want to energetically invite into your life? What can you let go of to make space for more magic?
Inhale your arms up to the sky, reaching as far as you can. Reach your hands to the right, stretching your entire side body on the left side. Visualize your side body stretching, from your lower hips all the way to the outside of your left armpit. Exhale deeply and fully. Bring your arms back to center, and repeat on the other side.
Forward fold can be done on the sand or standing up. Knees can be slightly bent as you inhale your arms over your legs and exhale as you release. If you’re sitting on the ground, rag doll your body over your legs, breathing deeply for 5 rounds of breath. Relax your entire body as you breath deeply. If you’re standing up, make sure your legs are hip width apart as you forward fold over your feet. You can hold opposite elbows or just let your arms hang long. Sink in.
Extend your torso forward across your left shin, walking your arms out in front of you and releasing your forehead toward the earth. Fold forward only after you’ve spent time checking your alignment and paying attention to your body. Your left knee will be to the left of your torso (with the left thigh at a bit of a diagonal), and your flexed left foot will be just alongside the right side of your rib cage. As you fold forward, turn your attention inward. We tend to hold this version of Pigeon longer than more active postures, so see if part of your practice in this pose can be to stay mentally focused once you have settled in.
Eagle Pose (with toes touching earth)
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up, and while balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over the right. Point your left toes toward the floor, press the foot back, and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf. Balance on the right foot. Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the earth, and spread your scapulas wide across the back of your torso. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left, then bend your elbows.
Snug the right elbow into the crook of the left, and raise the forearms perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands should be facing each other. Press the right hand to the right and the left hand to the left, so that the palms are now facing each other. The thumb of the right hand should pass in front of the little finger of the left. Now press the palms together (as much as is possible for you), lift your elbows up, and stretch your fingers toward the sky. Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, then unwind the legs and arms, and stand in Tadasana again. Repeat for the same length of time with the arms and legs reversed.
You can also take a more restorative pose here by placing your toes on the earth instead of wrapping them around your ankle again. This way, you’re focusing on balance without too much effort. Connect to the energy of the eagle: focused, determined, high-flying concentration. Where can you bring more of this energy into your life?
Savasana or Seated Meditation
End your restorative yoga with the ultimate relaxing pose–savasana. Lay a towel or blanket down and completely allow your body to sink into the earth. Allow your palms to face the sky, symbolizing an openness of acceptance. Melt every part of your body into the sand, feeling the way your body is supported and held. Stay here as long as possible. 10-15 minutes is ideal!
SOPHIE JAFFE is a Los Angeles-based health and wellness expert, who is certified as a raw food chef and yoga teacher. Sophie founded her company and wellness brand, Philosophie, with the goal of making it easier, more inspiring, and more delicious to attain optimal health and radiant wellness. When Sophie isn’t crafting revolutionary products from the world’s most potent superfoods, she is sharing her insights on how to live a life full of unbounded energy, bliss, and balance on the Philosophie blog and savoring every moment with her two beautiful children and loving husband.