Spring and the weather is warming up! I love it when there is a warmth to the atmosphere and the breeze is gentle and caressing, a little delicate snatch before the sun reaches that harsh glare of summer. Spring is the perfect time to take our mat outside and head for the beach. Asanas down by the sea have a wonderfully calming effect on the mind and even before we start our practice simply being in nature and near the water soothes our nervous system and quietens the mind. In fact studies have shown that exercising outdoors especially down by the sea reduces stress, tension, anger and depression.
As we go about our asana workout we are able to breathe in the fresh salty sea air which is so good for the immune system and full of vitality. Many years ago I met a man who had had chronic bronchitis for many years and the doctor having had him on all sorts of medications finally declared him a most unusual case and that all medical avenues were closed. He advised him as a last resort to try breathing deeply down by the sea. This man said it was the best thing he ever did! His bronchitis subsided and he was able to manage it with deep breathing of fresh sea air.
These days ‘salt caves’ are becoming a popular natural therapy for the immune system. In a salt cave we simply spend time relaxing in a room which has salty air being injected into it. The beach is the free and natural alternative and asanas by the beach have the added benefit of complete yoga breathing – sending the healing air deep down to the bottom of the lungs.
Practicing our asanas down by the beach is so enjoyable. We can feast our eyes on the rolling waves and fluffy clouds passing by and if we are able to find a beachside tree we can look up through the branches and leaves and enjoy the shelter from the sun. And sometimes we are treated to playful, cavorting dolphins and breaching and spouting whales.
An added benefit from taking our practice outside is that the surface is rarely flat so our balance is challenged and improved as we strengthen our postural muscles to hold us steady in our standing poses.
And lastly who needs soothing music for the end relaxation. We can simply tune in to the waves and the wind and the rustling of the leaves on the trees.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training
Enjoy a Yoga by the Sea session every Saturday at Justin’s Park, Burleigh Heads from 8am