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5 reasons to take your downdog to the beach

1. Wakey-wakey rise and smile

Waking up in the morning can be a challenge, but pulling on some comfy clothes and heading down to the beach is certainly preferable to a solemly-administered, bleary-eyed espresso shot.

In the morning there is a soft light on the waves and a gentle energy. Nature is doing its thing, turning clouds pink like it’s no big deal and bringing you round from the land of dreams with scenery that is, funnily enough, the stuff of dreams.

Heading down the beach for morning yoga...
Heading down the beach for morning yoga…

The surfers are heading out to catch some early morning waves; the runners are hitting the coastal paths; then there’s us yogis, unrolling our mats on a prime bit of beach real estate, slowly moving from meditation into asanas as the gentle morning sun lights up our faces like little yog-angels. We gravitate towards the sun, backs getting straighter, necks growing longer, soft smiles coming easily, like happy little plants growing tall and strong in the sunlight.

2. Give it up already, that sand is going everywhere.

beach-yoga-holiday-canary-islandsIn a studio class we are careful to remove our shoes, to store our possessions neatly, to line up our mats mindfully, with presicion, with control. The beach laughs in the face of such ideals. But hey, what’s a little sand for a beach yogi?  You want to feel connected to nature you say? The sand will more than happily olige and find its way onto your mat, arms, feet, forehead. All that sand inspires a sense of ease and play – last minute drop-in yogis turn up for class with a beach towel and a big smile. Falling over is fun and you feel like a kid in a giant sandpit with a willingness to take those balacing postures right to your edge, which leads me onto…

3. Woohooo I’m in a rut

Oh I have to admit to a cheeky smile (which I try to offset with innocent eyes) when we move into a balancing posture and I find my foot firmly sink into a wonderful sandy rut. Yep, it feels like you’re cheating but what can you do? Ditto for the oh-so-convenient sand wedges you inevitably end up creating for your feet in downward-dog. Conversely, you find yourself building less than convenient sand barricades that you have to swing your feet over as you try to flow through sun salutations. But that’s just how it goes on the shifting sands. The sandscape is always changing, keeping you on your toes and setting a far more authentic learning environment for equanamity in the face of those “what on earth is happening now?… the ground appears to be disappearing beneath my very feet” moments that life likes to chuck at us from time to time.

4. Hola yog-amigo

Beach yogaYoga classes are well known as great places to meet friendly, open-minded people. If your yoga class just so happens to take place on a beach, on a small, sunny, captivating island (such as Fuerteventura by way of example, ahem) then you will find yourself sharing a class space and a post-yoga chat with a mindboggling variety of people. You never quite know who will be turning up and what has brought them to the island, to yoga, to the mat next to yours, in this year, at this moment. A seasoned yogi, a beginner; old, young; Italian, Danish, Australian; a student, a banker, a muscian… it’s both incredibly interesting and utterly irrelavent. Beyond the labels of ‘a this’ and ‘a that’, you are united in a yoga class in the wild air and shifting sands. You move and breathe together, sharing smiles over sand ruts, drinking in sweet morning energy and falling over like toddlers. It’s strange, fun and really rather sandy.

5. I remember this from back when I was a fish…

Beach meditation, CorralejoThe breath. The waves. Those two rythms, calling you home to a little place called ‘your body’, to a big place called ‘the earth’ and reminding you that, despite our best efforts to ignore it, the two do indeed have something to do with each other (and something to do with our minds for that matter).

Even if your conscious mind is studiously distracting you from this fact with general chitchat, to-do lists, memories, etc (which it is, because that’s its favourite game), that natural rhythm is being acknowledged by your subconscious – a rare treat in between you tasering your overloaded mind with excess information courtesy of the internet.

And the deepest part of your being is saying “ah yes I remember this, back in the good old days when I was happily cruising around the big blue being all simple and simbiotic as a funky-looking fish”. Maybe.

It’s good to be reminded of home – the rhythm of our breath anchoring us to our often-neglected bodies, the rhythm of the waves anchoring us to the earth – coming back to our natural rhythm, setting us up to flow through a whole new day.

Azul holds beach yoga classes every morning expect Saturday, in the surf central town of Corralejo. Join us for a beach yoga holiday or just attend drop-in beach yoga classes. We hope to see you on the sand yog-amigos. 

About the author

Cat Easterbrook’s first retreat was at Villa Azul in 2011 and she’s never looked back, going on to join the Azul team and exercising her love of writing, design and photography as well as getting on her yoga mat as often as possible.