Beachside Yoga: The Summer’s Hottest Trend
The next time you’re enjoying a beach day, don’t be surprised if you see someone nearby unroll a long mat on top of the sand and begin to work their way through a series of yoga poses. Practicing yoga at the beach has been a growing trend the last few years and many Michigan locations have been jumping onto the bandwagon.
From waterfront state parks that offer a yoga class as one of their summer morning activities, to private instructors leading their group lessons on the sand, beachside poses are becoming a more common sight across the state. There are a few different reasons it is an increasingly popular pastime, and most of them have to do with how great it feels to exercise outside.
Whether or not you can tell the difference between a child’s pose and a downward dog, you’re may or may not be aware of the wide-ranging benefits of yoga. This exercise that focuses on moving your body through – and holding – a series of positions has been practiced for thousands of years. There are several different types of yoga, but the positive physical and mental effects are pretty universal.
Yoga’s slow and deliberate movements help people increase their body strength, flexibility and sense of balance, according to an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine. People who have conditions like arthritis, back pain or joint issues may find that practicing gentle, low-impact yoga gives them a great range of motion. While most types of yoga don’t count as fast-paced cardio, practicing poses is good for your heart, research has found. It can lower blood pressure and help reduce inflammation that can lead to chronic health issues.
Most yoga devotees also love the mind-body connection this exercise offers. Thinking about how you are holding your body during each pose, and being aware of your breathing gives yoga its meditative quality. This not only offers a mental health boost but can improve the quality of sleep if done before bedtime.
Why is beachside yoga gaining such a following? The fun factor is a big part of it.
Outside is the bonus. If you are used to doing yoga at home or at your health club or fitness studio, moving your mat outdoors to a beach locale can be a literal breath of fresh air. Studies have shown that outside exercise makes people feel better and provides a mental health boost that lasts after the workout is finished. Soaking up some sunshine and your daily dose of Vitamin D is another bonus.
Sand ups intensity. If you are used to wood floors or carpet, doing yoga at the beach can increase the workout challenge a little bit. The shifting sand underneath you means your toes will work a little harder to grip and balance, as will your muscles. It is a nice way to increase the intensity of your regular exercise routine.
Waves are zen. Beaches are the perfect backdrop for yoga if your goal is to sink into a calm, relaxed state. Research into this “blue mind” effect shows that being around water can make some people feel happier, calmer and lower overall stress levels. If you are practicing your poses along a Great Lake, chances are you will boost your zen-like feeling a little more by focusing on the sound of the waves hitting the shoreline.
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