Benefits to a Beach Yoga Practice

Benefits to a Beach Yoga Practice

The best time for a beach vacation is anytime you have the opportunity to go; however, I have a long-standing, personal wellness ritual to head south during the winter months, for a soul rest and recharge. I plan for it. I budget for it. I prioritize it. I do this because it’s a health necessity for me. For the last decade, I’ve been dipping low in Vitamin D, despite supplementing and changing my diet. It’s more than a physical need, too.

My soul is charged by the sun and the moon. I’ve felt this since I was a child, but have only, recently, been able to explain, in words, this magical experience. Something happens to me while I am next to the water and in the sunshine. My immune system improves, I need less sleep, my skin is softer and clearer, my mood stabilizes, and my athletic performance is better. For a while, I thought, “well of course, who wouldn’t feel better on vacation? ” Then I got a nasty cold while on a ski vacation and was plagued with a stomach bug on another vacation, both not in the sun. It’s not tied to time off, or away from home. When I began to work for myself, in the sun, on the patio, while traveling, the magic still happened, even though I was working. I could be on an intense conference call or hosting a training webinar, and although stressed, wanting to do a good job, I felt energetic, calm, and at peace, working in the outdoor sunshine or by the water.

To begin truly living your best life, travel more and travel often. Go see something new, and if you can, be in nature. As is often said, travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. Who says that traveling has to be an escape from every-day life? I don’t see traveling as an escape from anything, but more as a life enhancer. Here are some observations and benefits from a recent trip where we wound up sharing an impromptu yoga class on the beach!

1. Reset & Recharge

In today’s digitally-focused world, there’s something so undeniably satisfying about practicing yoga to the sounds of beach waves, birds overhead, and trees swaying in the breeze. I love my music, but knowing that I don’t have to connect to electricity or make sure I have cell coverage for a bit, is so freeing. You can almost synchronize your sun salutations to the ebb and flow of the ocean waves and breathe in and out with each white cap settling onto the sand. Soaking up nature is an instant recharge for your cells, so you can expect to feel vibrancy through your practice and for the rest of the day. While a vacation certainly allows you to do such things, a yacht charter vacation takes the pleasure of “disconnecting ” to new levels. You won’t be the least bit worried about battery percentage, and forgetting to bring your cell phone when hopping in the dinghy to go ashore is a likely possibility. Ultimately, the best way to fully “recharge “, both
mentally and physically, is to completely “unplug. ”

2. Salt Therapy

Seawater is rich in minerals that naturally nourish the skin and exposure to salt-kissed ocean air has a calming effect on the human body, which helps reduce stress anxiety. Plus, breathing in sea breezes is good for the respiratory system. Allergies? Not at the beach. Practice pranayama to clear your lungs of stale air, replacing it with healing salt air. Basically, saltwater and ocean air are Mother Nature’s organic mood boosters.

3. Vitamin D

With sunscreen, it can be more, but most studies show that 10-15 minutes is enough to boost the brain’s production of serotonin. Obviously, too much sun is not recommended, but soaking up some sunshine while on vacation is actually good for you. In addition to increased production of vitamin D, sunlight exposure also triggers better moods and a boost in energy, by supporting your bones, blood cells, and immune system. Think of it working like a charger to your phone, except it’s a charger for your body. Healthy amounts of sun absorption can even fight depression and lead to improved sleep.

4. Burn Calories

Exercising is a major part of an overall healthy lifestyle, and that doesn’t stop on vacation. Rather, you should take advantage by participating in the activities your body doesn’t get to enjoy back home. For me, after morning yoga, I hope on a stand-up paddleboard, swim in the ocean, hike up to the top of an island and enjoy the overlook (maybe even enjoy a meditation session up there.) Walking through the town center is a great way to experience the local culture and move your body. It’s amazing how much activity you can get in during a vacation, so start early with a beach yoga flow, stoke your metabolic rate, and enjoy it for the rest of the day!

5. Strengthen Relationships

Whether you practice alone or with a group, you’re sure to meet some like-minded people on the beach. When I taught my class, I had two ladies join in, simply because they saw us practicing. After class, I had three other people come up to me and ask if I would be offering yoga the next morning. I saw a few of my students chatting at the local restaurant about yoga, life, and their trips, and it made me smile. We meet the neatest people on vacations, by simply enjoying our fun in the sunshine. The conversations that ensue can lead to long-time friendships -especially now with social media.

Once you experience the joys of activity in the sun, you’ll want to do more. It’s a ritual for me now to wake up, whether on a boat or on land and soak up a few moments of sunshine with yoga practice. Easing my body, mind, and spirit into the day ahead, helps me absorb more from my time throughout the day. The feeling of accomplishment energizes your entire being, knowing that you nurtured yourself first, then offered more of yourself to everyone else. Don’t be surprised if you bring this ritual home with you and start every day of your life with a beach yoga practice -if only in your mind. So, who’s ready to book a beach retreat? (Take a look at some of to inspire your planning.)