Calming, relaxing, restorative. These are just a few of the ways that yogis describe their practice. It's not a coincidence that these are also the ways that a trip to the beach makes us feel too.
Our yoga practices and an ocean-side trip can bring up really similar feelings of healing and contentment in us. Pure magic happens when we combine the two. Check out these 8 reasons why you should spread your yogi toes on the sand this year.
"Water is considered the elixir of life." - Wallace J. Nichols
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1. Happy Place
If the beach is already your happy place and you love to practice yoga, definitely consider combining the two. In a 2011 study, Washington University and UC Irvine asked over 1,000 beachgoers about their mental state before and after visiting the beach...the study showed that beach goers had reduced stress, reduced depression and anxiety, increased creativity and restorative feelings. It was ALL good and explains why so many of us associate the beach with happy feelings. Why not take your practice to your most happy place?
2. Wave Sound Bath
No Spotify playlist necessary for this practice, the beach offers you the perfect wave sound bath for your yoga session. Enjoy the repetitive and relaxing sound of the waves gently crashing on the shore. Try to match your breath and even your movement with the pattern of the ocean lapping in and out. Check out this FREE Wave Zen Playlist for your practice until you set your toes in the sand.
Note : When you bring your practice out of the studio, often times you'll begin to notice other noises that could be a potential distraction to your practice. Instead, allow noises like birds, boats in the water, cars driving on a nearby street, planes in the sky, humans playing at the beach to help you focus during your practice more. Shift your focus back to the sound of the waves and towards your practice or meditation when other sounds come up.
3. Good For Your Feet + The Perfect Yoga Mat
The sand is the perfect yoga mat. Spread your toes wide yogi and enjoy all of the benefits of a barefoot practice in the sand.
The sand offers a natural exfoliate for your feet. Movement in the sand helps to scrub away dead skin cells and open your pores. It's also packed with natural skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Practicing yoga in the sand gives your balancing and stabilizing muscles a whole different kind of workout. When you practice on an un-even surface and your feet sink in to different places, you'll naturally have to activate these muscles to balance yourself.
4. Sea Air Helps Build A Strong Immune System + Beyond
The air by the sea offers high levels of iodine and ozone in it. There's an entire science behind this, but in short, the negative ions in the air assist in killing bacteria and boosting your immune system. The negative hydrogen ions also help your body to absorb oxygen. When you team this up with your amplified breath during your yoga practice, the benefits are even greater.
The benefits of an ocean-side practice extend far beyond the immune system. Beach yoga can help prevent autoimmune diseases, detox your body, help to heal your body faster, prevent common colds, offer benefits to your glandular system, improve your metabolism, boost the levels of serotonin in your brain, improve your mood, reduce your stress levels, help you sleep better, increase blood flow, drop blood pressure, maintain your nervous system, keep allergies at bay...the list goes on and on and on....until the break of dawn.
5. Soak Up The Sun
Vitamin D deficiency is a serious, yet very common issue and it contributes greatly to our feelings of well-being (like Seasonal Affective Disorder), disrupts our natural abilities to protect ourselves from getting sick and stirs other health issues. So soak up that sun, yogi. Grab some extra Vitamin D under the rays today and start feeling the mood-boosting and health-inducing benefits.
Note : We're busy investigating our favorite natural, healthy and all things good for us sun blocks & we'll be letting you know what we find. Be sure to practice under the sun with sufficient protection so that you can feel confident in your healthy glow.
The constant ebb and flow of the water, the warm breeze, the ocean smell. The beach brings up calming feelings and is a beautiful location to set up your meditation or yoga practice.
Kick off your yoga session by meditating for some time. Close your eyes and sit comfortably while absorbing all of the sounds, smells and feels of the beach around you before you begin to move in your yoga practice. Allow any stress you arrived with to melt away.
7. Being Near Water Is GOOD For You
Wallace J. Nichols, researcher, marine biologist and author of the New York Times best-seller, "Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected and Better at What You Do." says (through research and his own anecdotal experience) that the sensory aspects of water (sight, sound, feel, smell and taste) affect our brains to produce a "blue mind" state of calm inspiration. Hmmmmm now it makes sense why so many screen savers display an ocean scene with that perfect tone of turquoise.
Just being near water is shown to lower stress and anxiety, increase well-being and happiness and provide a ton of health benefits. "Water is considered the elixir of life," says Nichols. "It covers more than 70 percent of the earth's surface, makes up nearly 70 percent of our bodies, and constitutes over 70 percent of our heart and brains. This biological connection has been shown to trigger an immediate response in our brains when we're near water."
8. Take A Dip
After your sun soaked ocean breezy yoga practice, you've got the cool ocean right in front of you just waiting for you to take a dip. Run up to it and jump in, you earned it!
Namaste On The Beach.
If any of these reasons has you already planning your next trip to the sand for some sun-infused savasana, we're right there with you. Be sure to join our EMAIL LIST to stay updated on everything beach yoga we have planned - and join our free I LOVE BEACH YOGA facebook tribe to connect with fellow humans who love yoga and the beach.
Jenny is a mama, DJ, yoga teacher and beach-obsessed boss babe at TheKaiLife.com. You can find her with a huge smile on her face adventuring with her husband, son Kai and fur babies Koa & Snorkel; spinning music and dancing with you late night; on her yoga mat or under a palm tree.
Follow her on instagram @iseekthewaves @jadoreurlife .
JOIN OUR FREE I LOVE BEACH YOGA FACEBOOK TRIBE to find friends who love yoga and the beach & gain access to special classes.