Picture yourself on a beautiful stretch of white sandy beaches. The sun, although it has newly risen, is already radiating warm pulses of morning rays. The air is clear and the tranquil blue water is gently lapping the shoreline. It’s just you and a group of small, light footed birds dancing in the surf.
This is the perfect place, the perfect time of day, and the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a relaxing yoga session. These 7 exercises are the perfect way to start the day and to simultaneously relax and tone your body while enjoying your vacation.
1) Sakhasana ‘Easy Pose’
- Begin in a comfortable seated position with your legs crossed.
- Root your sit bones down into the sand as your spine grows long and the crown of your head reaches to the sky.
- Let go of any tension and of your surroundings. Turn your gaze inward and focus on full, deep breaths and complete exhales.
- Try to prevent your mind from wandering. Bring your focus back to your breath.
- Stay in ‘Easy Pose’ for 3-5 minutes, or until your body feels ready to begin the practice.
2) Sun Salutation A
- Sun Salutation A consists of 12 movements.
- Follow this diagram from: www.livingwordsofwisdom.com/yoga-sun-salutation.html
- Breathe in deeply and begin the first pose with a full exhale. On your inhale flow through to the second pose. One the exhale step your right foot back. Continue to flow through these poses on your inhale and exhale of your natural breath.
- Do the full Sun Salutation 3 times through.
3) Dolphin Pose to Single Leg Dolphin
- Start on your knees and forearms with your toes curled under.
- Elbows should rest directly below your shoulders.
- Come up into a downward dog (from forearms) and hold for 5 breaths.
- Lift your right leg behind you into the air, keeping your hips square to the ground.
- Hold for 5 breaths. Return the right leg to your mat and continue using your left leg.
- Return to your knees and rest for 5 breaths.
- Continue to process once more.
- Sit with knees bent and feet at hip width apart
- Place palms on the sand behind you (fingers facing forward).
- Breathe deeply. On the exhalation, curl your tailbone under and lift your hips straight up until your neck, torso and thighs are in line with your spine.
- Remain here for 5 full breaths. Return to a seated position.
- Repeat 2 additional times.
- Sit with your knees bent and feet at hip width apart. Place your hands on your hamstrings (back of thigh) just above the knee.
- Keeping knees bent, lift your feet off the ground until your calves are parallel with the sand,
- If you feel strong and confident in this position, extend your arms forward and parallel to the ground
- If you feel strong and confident in this position, keep your arms extended and extend your legs so your body forms the shape of a ‘V’.
- Hold for 10 full breaths and return to a seated position.
- Repeat 2 additional times.
6) Seated Twist
- In a seated position, extend your legs out in front of you
- Cross the right leg over the left and place your right foot flat in the sand on the outside of your left thigh.
- Ben the left knee and rest your left foot beside the right glute.
- On the inhale, reach your left arm straight above your head
- On the exhale, bend the left elbow and twist to rest it on the outside of the right thigh.
- Feel the internal twist and continue to gaze over your right shoulder for 15 breaths.
- Switch sides and hold for 15 breaths.
7) Savasana ‘Relaxation’
- Lie on your back on the sand with your arms by your side (palms up) and your feet at shoulder width apart with feet slightly rotated outward.
- Breathe deeply with full exhales. Fell your body radiating the warm, soft sand.
- Remain in Savasana for 5-10 minutes.
Gillian Johnson, BA CSCS