As discovered in our exploration of trampoline yoga, a different type of surface can bring an entirely new perspective to your practice! This week, we explored some of the finest and most appreciated of earth's forms: sand. Sand beneath your mat, a strong breeze on your skin, bold waves that occasionally wash over your mat (and create yet another new challenge of balance!) and create a soothing sound that has the power to wash your mind free of its worries and woes... sounds absolutely awful, doesn't it?
Didn't think so.
If you haven't already headed off for your nearest beach locale, let's talk a little more about what you might discover when you practice there. The challenge of sequences that bring your focus on balance are even more challenging on the less predictable surface of soft sand. Sequences that cause you to come into firm contact with the earth and create impact for the body become more comfortable when practiced on a surface as forgiving as a sandy beach. To experience both of these sensations, try pairing Warrior with Lord of the Fishes.
Strong Lines Minus Sure Footing
The Warrior poses all rely on the ability to firmly plant the feet and carry that grounded energy through the body — as if pulling earth energy through the feet, up the legs and through the trunk to send it out through the arms, head and hands. With sand shifting gently as you move the bulk of your body through space, it becomes more difficult to find that strong, sure positioning of the foot. You have to really focus and involve the muscles of the legs more to hold your positions. This focus becomes even more necessary should a wave wash over your mat!
Practicing Warrior III in this sequence and location is a simply amazing experience. To finally find that strong placement of the foot and reach through the extended leg, arms and head is a powerful moment! You cannot help but find your centre engaged more fully and a smile growing as you unearth that sweet spot of balance and calm, stretched long above a long expanse of sand and water.
Rolling with Forgiveness and Ease
Lord of the Fishes is full of poses that can challenge yogis for the whole of their practice. Can I sink my heels in Crouch pose? Can I roll back into Plough? An easy surface such as sand could make the answers to those questions "yes!" By pushing the weight of your body into your toes before sinking into Crouch, you can create a divot in the sand that allows your toes to be just slightly lower than your heels, which means your heels might just stay connected to the surface as you sink into the pose!
The impact you feel when rolling back into Plough is lessened as the sand moves and compensates for the shift of your body. While you still must be mindful to really round the spine, the movement somehow feels so much more fluid and gentle, it changes the experience entirely. Hopefully, you are visited by another far-reaching wave, as it is delicious to trail your fingers across a wet mat and then along the sand as you explore Seated Twist!
Will you explore #namasteNewViews at a beach? We're looking forward to seeing what you see, so be sure to share with us on our Facebook wall, Twitter or Instagram pages. Use the hashtag #namasteNewViews in your comments, so we know you are interested in receiving a Namaste travel yoga mat. We give one away every week!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heather Gregory is an avid Namaste yogini and has been practicing the sequences nearly every day for nearly four years. Her favourite part of Namaste is the opportunity it affords to find her calm, collected center and carry that forward through each day. We enlisted Heather to share her #namasteNewViews as she explores the practice with our iTunes downloads, and blog about her experiences. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org