Namaste: The Beach Version

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Happy Monday, everybody!! 🙂 Tonight, I did sunset beach yoga with my absolute favorite instructor in Chicago, Denise D’Agostino. Whether you are veteran yogi who hits the yoga studio 7 days a week or you are just a beginner, there are so many physical and mental health benefits this art has to offer. That being said, if you have not considered switching up where you do your practice, now is the time to give it some thought. It is finally summer and outdoor yoga has so many additional benefits that you cannot get inside the studio, and let me be the first to tell you, the beach is the ideal place to get the most out of your poses.

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Here are five reasons you will get not only the best, but the most relaxing, workout ever when your namaste hits the sand:

  1. Clear Mind, Clear Heart | You go to the beach to relax and you do yoga to relax, so why not make them mutually exclusive – am I right? There is something about the warmth of the sand, sound of the waves, smell of the ocean (or lake in my particular case), and the gentleness of the wind can all help bring you to a calmer, more peaceful place. Plan to go early in the morning or around sunset when there are less people around, so you can enjoy the peace and tranquility while you practice your moves.
  2. Beach Body? Yes Please! | You might be able to hold that tree pose all day every day inside of the studio, but the flat, hard floor might not be challenging you like you think.When you do yoga in the sand, your body has to work a whole hell of a lot harder. Why? Sand is not a stable surface – it moves and shifts underneath you, and you constantly need to make small adjustments to maintain each pose. This causes you to use more of the muscles in your legs, feet, core, and arms – several muscles that you might not normally use. What happens? You end up getting a more intense, full-body workout… and a killer beach body!
  3. Hello Vitamin D | It is a scientific fact that most people do not get enough vitamin D, and a deficiency leads to several health problems over time such as thin, brittle, and/or misshapen bones. However, the good news is that your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight – another perfect excuse to hit the beach for some yoga! Whatever you do, please do not forget about your sunscreen – it is so important to continue to reapply. Your skin will thank you and so will your dermatologist… trust me. It is important to get sunlight, but even downward dog will not be comfortable if you are nursing sunburn.
  4. Inhale, Exhale | One of the most important aspects of yoga is remembering to just breathe. This helps give your muscles the oxygen they need to be at their best, and it helps keep you calm and relaxed. When you combine the practice of breathing more deeply and fully with the crisp, fresh air at the beach, you will be cleaning out your lungs, bringing more oxygen to your body, and improving your overall energy. Not bad for a day’s work, eh?
  5. Bottom Line: Balance | Along with building muscle, sand can also drastically improve your overall balance. Once again, this circles back to the uneven and ever-changing nature of the surface itself. Once you get the hang of it, you may find the sand a better means of support for your body, since you can learn to incorporate it into your movements. Over time, you will be really digging into those balance poses and finding stability you never knew you had. Since it is a much softer surface than a wooden or cement floor, sand can be gentler on your knees and joints – major game changer.

So. Summer is officially here and next time you are getting ready to hit the beach, make sure you take your yoga mat with you. Also, check with your local studios to see if they offer any beach yoga classes – especially if you are in Chicago, I know several places so please do not hesitate to ask. Do not be afraid to do it alone, either. I go by myself 90% of the time and it is the best way to clear my mind, especially since I have not been running. Just find a quiet spot and do yo thing… and go take a dip in the ocean/lake afterwards. Treat yoself, babes 🙂