Leveraging your strengths is made easier at the beach.
If you are planning a beach trip this summer, the sand can be your ally. So much so, in fact, that you may want to consider setting up a small beach replica at home (maybe your kid’s sandbox will suffice). I had a lot of fun this week in Orange Beach, AL celebrating my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary – go Jo & Bert! In between building sand castles and lounging about, I squeezed in a yoga pose here and there on the beach.
The sand offers a unique opportunity to lower your heel and raise the ball of your foot. Yes, I know you are typically instructed to evenly distribute weight on the outer and inner balls of the feet and outer and inner heels, but this technique can allow you to feel the foundational quality of the back leg and better understand the DOINK!
Here’s how I played with this idea:
1} Find some semi soft sand to settle your feet into (not too wet & soft, you’ll need some stability).
2} Take a stance for Triangle pose (Trikoanasa) with the balls of both higher than the heels.
3} Move into the posture (remember to Doink!) without using your arms at first. Feel your triceps and your low front ribs move back to open your chest and get a nice rotation through the thoracic spine.
4} Express yourself! Move your arms into expression as if they were the sails of a ship catching the ocean breeze!
5} Play with the posture a bit & try reaching your arm over your ear and letting your gaze move down to release the neck. The extension on your Quadratus Lumborum will be more so than on dry land, so be sure to be mindful.
6} Go with the flow and ease into Crescent to feel a wonderful opening in your right hip flexors.
7} On your exhales, straighten your right leg for a mind and hip altering psoas stretch.
8} End the sequence in Warrior II. Make sure you do not dump into your hip creases. Use the leverage of the being so well rooted to open through each hip. Your foot position will heighten this sensation. Rinse (in the ocean) and repeat (on the other side)!
9} Now that our hips are spacious, let’s give our shoulders some love with a pose a student of mine dubbed “Sunscreen Pose” because it helped her to be able to apply sunscreen all over her back. Yoga at work! If you cant clasp your hands like this, use your beach towel as a connector. Beach towel at work!
10} Over time – maybe not on this vacation, you need time to lounge for goodness sake! – try to clasp the fingers at your upper back between your shoulder blades. Make sure your raised elbow arm is rolled in toward your face, and your low front ribs are reaching back towards your lowered elbow arm. Feel how being so rooted in your feet allows your shoulders to relax & cooperate.
11} The big finale! Try doing Tree pose with your arms in Gomukhasana. Not an easy task as I quickly found out. The sand might work against you here in terms of balance, and that is where your laid back beach attitude will come in handy. Have a good laugh at being less than steady, so when you do find your balance you can bask in the joy of it all.
Travel can give us a much needed break and a refreshing change of scenery, but it can also give us a pain in the neck, hips and lower back, so do yourself a favor and try some of these yoga postures so you can feel great and truly relax.
Even a little bit of yoga changes everything.
If doing yoga in the sand isn’t your cup of tea, then try one of Sadie Nardini’s classes from her show, Rock Your Yoga, on veria.com: