Boats are a nonstop ticket to adventure, excitement, and of course, relaxation. Sitting under a bright sunny sky on the wide-open ocean or a cool, crisp lake, it’s easy to let all your stress just fade away. The next time you’re looking to unwind while onboard, why not incorporate some yoga into your on-water routine? Yoga has been scientifically proven to enhance your overall health and wellness, aiding in things like stress management, better sleeping habits, benefits to your mental and emotional health, and improving balance.
Here’s five basic poses to help you get started with boat yoga (and if someone ever tries to send you back to the office, just tell them “thanks, but namaste on the boat”).
1. Cobra (on the sunpad)
To get started, begin with a move called “Cobra” that can help stretch your entire body—and specifically increase your back flexibility. You’ll need a good amount of space to perform this pose, so be sure to utilize an area on your boat like a sunpad.
Begin lying face down on the sunpad with your legs extended behind you and the top of your feet resting on the pad. Next, place your hands under your shoulders, tuck your elbows tight to the side of your body, and slowly inhale as you push your head and chest off the sunpad. Straighten your arms as much as your body allows and slowly lift your heart—you can hold this pose for about 30 seconds and repeat as necessary. Remember to inhale as you push up, and exhale as your release back down to the sunpad.
2. Warrior II (in the bow)
After completing cobra, move on to a pose called “Warrior II.” In this pose, you’ll focus more on stretching your legs and chest, while also enhancing your stamina, strength and stability. The bow of your boat is a great area to perform this move, so you have ample room to spread your arms with a wide stance.
If you’re familiar with yoga, it’s nice to begin Warrior II by starting in “Mountain Pose” with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your side. Then, turn to your left and step your feet wide, so they are about four to five feet apart. Turn your right foot out about 90 degrees while your left foot should turn slightly inwards. Finally, raise your arms straight out to the side so they are in line with your shoulders. Keep your palms down, and then bend your front knee and sink your hips. Observers might say that in this pose you look like a “warrior.”
3. Half Lord of the Fishes (on the swim platform)
There’s no pose quite so appropriate for a boat yoga session than the “Half Lord of the Fishes.” Basically a seated twist, believe it or not this stretch will help with spine flexibility, calming your mind, improving digestion, and even relaxing your nervous system. Since it is called “Lord of the Fishes,” let’s get as close to the actual sea life as possible and perform this move on the swim platform.
To start, sit down on the swim platform with your legs extended in from of you. Then, bend both knees and place your feet flat on the platform. From there, tuck your left foot under your right leg. Lift your left arm overhead, and slowly twist to the right. Your torso should be against the inside of your right thigh, and then place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Inhale each time you twist a little further, deepening the stretch.
4. Tree (at the helm)
Before we start our cool down stretch, one last pose to try onboard is known as “tree.” Tree is completely focused on improving your balance and concentration. Keeping your balance can be challenging, so you’ll want to perform this move in an area of the boat where there is a grab handle, or even a steering wheel—so the helm is the perfect location.
Similar to Warrior II, you’ll want to begin standing in Mountain Pose, with your weight evenly distributed between your feet and your arms by your side. Begin to shift your weight to your left foot and bend your right knee while you grab your right inner ankle. Slowly pull your right foot alongside your inner left thigh. Adjust your weight again so your hips are aligned, and then release your clasp on your right ankle and bring your hands together in a prayer position in front of your chest. The key to successfully perfecting Tree is to concentrate on a non-moving point and fix your gaze to steady your balance.
5. Savasana (in the cabin)
Last but not least, it’s finally time for a cool down in Savasana pose. For this, any cabin is usually a quiet, calm place to perform this move. Savasana is often referred to as the “Final Relaxation Pose,” because it focuses on renewing your mind, body and soul.
A simple move, you begin lying on back with your legs straight out and your arms at your side. Allow your feet to drop open and keep your palms up. Relax your entire body, and breathe normally through this stretch. The beauty of Savasana is that you can stay in this pose for as long as you see fit, anywhere between five minutes to thirty minutes.