You’ve just arrived in a new town, beach, or city after a grueling number of hours on a bus or airplane. You dump your bags at your hostel, still sweaty with the heat and exertion.
What’s the first thing you do? Check the internet. Okay what’s the second thing you do?
Head to the beach, park, or just about anywhere with the room to stretch out your aching muscles and ease your turbulent worries.
Recently, while in Nosara, Costa Rica on my honeymoon, my wife and I stayed at the amazing Harmony Hotel, which also happened to have The Healing Centre next door – a place of relaxation, yoga, and massages.
There we met yoga instructor Josie Bennett, who was kind enough to come up with this short stretching routine that you can learn and practice just about anywhere. Enjoy!
Simple Beach Yoga with Jose Bennett
(Note: click the “print” icon at the top of this article to print this out and take it with you on your trip!)
1. Deep Breath
First take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders and give a big sigh. Try to relax your whole body.
Place your feet about hip distance apart, with a slight bend in your knees. Keep your hips square. Begin moving your upper body side to side with your arms stretched out. Make sure your head moves in synch with your torso.
3. Shoulder Roll
Roll your shoulders slowly forward, keeping your arms straight. After a few repetitions, roll your shoulders back. Then move each one at a time, alternating each shoulder, forward and back.
4. Neck Stretch
Drop your arms and roll your head to your right shoulder, then back to your left. Let your head hang heavy as you roll. As you stretch, inhale and send your breath to the opposite space beside your head.
5. Rag Doll
Reach far back, bending at the waist, then exhale, bending forward like a rag doll. Let your limbs hang loosely.
Drop your hips down to the ground, keep your spine straight. Broaden the space across your chest and clasp your hands together, pushing your elbows against your legs.
7. Left Leg Back
Lift your hips off the ground and plant your hands on the ground. Shoot your left leg straight back, and keep your right leg bent at the knee under your chest. Push your hips into the ground to stretch.
8. Right Knee Straight
Bend over your front leg, keeping your right hip in line with your right knee. Flex your toes and fold over your leg as much as it’s comfortable.
9. Repeat 7 and 8 with the opposite leg.
Step out to the side. Turn your right foot so it faces forward, with your back foot at a 45 degree angle. Bend your right knee in line with your right ankle. Place your right elbow on your right knee. Make sure your back leg is straight and active. Reach your left arm overhead. If you want, you can make circles with your stretched arm. Aftwards, repeat on your opposite leg.
11. Forward Fold
Lift knee caps, and straighten your legs. Inhale, then fold forward at the hips, hands to the ground. Take a few deep breaths. Reach your hand up, twising at the torso, keeping your chest open. After, repeat on your opposite side.
Stand tall, bend one leg and place your foot anywhere on the other leg. Avoid placing it directly on your knee. Keep your shoulders back, clasping your hands. You can hold this pose as long as you feel comfortable, but try for at least 10 seconds without falling. Repeat with the opposite leg.
13. Cross-legged Sit
Sit down and cross your legs, keeping your shoulders back and your spine straight straight. Reach the top of your head towards the sky. Keep your hands on your knees. Close your eyes if you like, or softly gaze in front of you.
Be aware of the sounds around you – the waves, the animals, the people, the breeze. Give thanks for being where you are, and the time and the body to practice these techniques.
Check out the Beach Yoga Flickr Photoset for full photos and instruction.