How To Avoid Pain While Practicing Yoga on the Beach
Have an itch to practice yoga on the beach? Many adore listening to the sound of the waves and feeling the sand beneath their feet. But before taking your practice to that rough textured surface, indulge yourself in these safety tips:
Take Advantage of the Surface
The beach is the most forgiving environment to practice your balance poses and inversions, since the sand supplies a more comfortable place to land. Have fun and take advantage of this soft, challenging surface. Your body will notice the increase in strength once returning to a studio setting, and you’ll find out how soothing and rewarding it can be to take your practice outdoors and try new surfaces.
Be Kind to your Wrists
Wrist injuries are common on normal flat surfaces, so when practicing outdoors and especially on the beach, it’s important to take extra precaution. The simple solution is to stray away from doing too many poses that require resting your body weight on your wrists. Since your hands won’t be able to find a suitable flat surface for support, it could cause your body weight to shift wrong when working through each pose.
Some balancing poses involving the wrists might be ok, like the handstand for instance. The soft sandy surface makes it easy to practice this pose since falling won’t have much of an impact or cause injury. Be sure to grip the sand with your hands and extend your fingers to get the best support.
Practice your Balance
The sand is a perfect place to master your balance. They say if you can balance on the sand, you can balance anywhere! Working on the sand helps further develop your fast twitch muscles in your legs and ankles, which help you to perform abrupt movements; allowing your muscles to constrict and release energy rapidly during compelling activities.
Since its not a level surface, digging your feet deeper into the sand provides an easy solution to avoiding injuries and enhances your connection to the environment. Make an intention to twist your feet into the sand with each yoga pose practiced.
The beach is the perfect place to practice your balancing poses. Switch out your Vinyasa for a series of poses that will challenge your infrastructure. If you’re interested in trying this series, I like to follow this selection in order for my beach practice:
Full Boat Pose
Standing Head to Toe
While standing yoga poses are more difficult in the sand, they will surely intensify your balance overtime. Make sure to create solid footing in each balance pose you attempt and you’ll doubtlessly get a great workout!
Compromise with the Sand
When choosing a spot to practice, try to find a somewhat flat surface of sand to establish a balanced area. The sand is great for maintaining muscles within your feet and ankles, as well as creating a beneficial environment for excelling in your balancing poses. If desired, you can smooth out the sandy surface you’re practicing on to increase support and decrease discomfort. Some admire the challenge of the natural sandy surface to practice on, noting that when returning to a normal studio surface, their practice will seem easier.
Ditch the Vinyasas
The normal flow of yoga is something to try and avoid on the beach. Moving quickly through your flow can lead to injuries when shifting from your feet to wrists too quickly. Stick to more grounding poses such as your warriors, bound angle pose or pigeon pose.
Ashtanga Yoga Instructor Sarah Lucento advises,
“ The most important tip for beach yoga is to have fun and pay attention to your legs and feet! Make sure to root down through the feet and feel the sand. don’t worry about getting covered in sand, it’s a natural exfoliant! The rhythm of the ocean is mirrored by the breath, flowing in and out nourishing every cell. There is also an element of sound healing with beach practice as well!”