Being by the sea has many benefits: our stress levels drop, we get more creative and improve our health just by being close to salt water. When you add yoga to the mix its effects on your body and soul are hugely amplified. Doing yoga on the beach in Bali surrounded by the Indian Ocean is something special. Have you heard of beach yoga? There are many reasons to practise it:
Muscles Get a Workout
Studies show that exercising on an unstable surface, like a sandy beach, strengthens the secondary muscles of feet, hips, knees and shoulder joints. An unstable surface forces the body to make small adjustments to maintain the posture. This means using more muscles that we don’t regularly use in our legs, feet, core and arms. Balancing poses are more challenging, but also more fun!
The Balance of Body and Mind Practising yoga on the beach can bring a new sense to an essential hatha yoga practice, as it focuses personal energy on stability and strength. The qualities of sand can help you more comfortably access a pose that you might not feel comfortable with on a hard, non-malleable sur- face. It can also help manage over-efforting, and help you to relax into the pose as it con- forms around your body. The balance of the cool sand and the warm sun can also balance the body and mind – which is the whole purpose of hatha yoga.
According to a study published in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, exercising in a natural outdoor environment (especially near water) helps to relieve stress, tension, anger and depression, as well as boosting enjoyment, satisfaction and energy. Five or ten minutes of activity outdoors is enough to improve our well-being. The presence of water induces a meditative state of calm focus and gentle awareness, promoting inner peace and ultimately happiness.
No More Migraines
Research also shows that those who suffer from a migraine have fewer and less painful headaches after three months of yoga practice. Migraines could be due to a combination of stress and wrong posture. Poor posture causes tension in your upper back, neck and shoulders, which can lead to a headache or a migraine. Yoga is a great workout to improve your posture (works your core!) and doing it on the sand makes you work that little bit harder on some of the secondary muscles which control the way you stand and sit. Hearing the calming sound of sea waves also helps you relax, releasing that very same tension that could be causing your migraine.
Doing yoga near a body of water, and especially near the sea, promotes meditative state characterised by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life at the moment. It also reduces our stress levels, decreasing anxiety, pain, depression and sleep disorders.