Ebb and flow like a wave on the shore with these playful poses in honour of World Oceans Day.
It’s World Oceans Day tomorrow, June 8th. Our wonderful, life-giving oceans breathe at least 50% of the world’s oxygen into our atmosphere, and contain most of the earth’s biodiversity. But they are at a crisis point: at least 8 million tons of plastics end up in our oceans every year, fish populations are depleting rapidly and 50% of the world’s crucial coral reef has been destroyed.
Stay with me, Frogis, as I do have a lovely fun set of beginner’s yoga poses for you, guaranteed to help you rise and fall like a wave on the shore. But before we release our inner ocean, let’s take a mindful moment to remember how much of human health is bound up in the health of our oceans. And how much of human activity is destroying it.
What can we do to support the oceans? Demanding plastic-free alternatives is a good way to start. Reduce the amount of fish and seafood that you eat, or even better, cut it out altogether. Reduce your carbon footprint, support ocean conservation and beach-cleaning initiatives. On that note, Teemill, the brilliant makers of our organic yoga clothes, dedicate one weekend a month to collecting a kilogram of plastic from the ocean for every item purchased.
In honour of our oceans, here’s our list of five playful yoga poses to release your aquatic alter-ego.
Five yoga poses to give you that ocean flow
1. Ocean Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama)
OK. This one is not an asana, but the rise and fall of Ujjayi Pranayama (also known as Victorious Breath) hints at rolling waves, gently lapping at the shore. For beginners to the practice of Pranayama, Ocean Breath is a good place to start. Begin in an easy cross-legged pose (Sukhasana). Create a slight constriction at the back of the throat, so that there is some resistance to your breathing. When you inhale and exhale, slowly, and consistently, a smooth sound should be created. Focus on this breath, rising and falling like an ocean, and the effect should be both relaxing and grounding.
2. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Lying on your back with your legs together, wriggle your hands, palms face down, underneath your buttocks. Pressing into your hands and elbows, and maintaining active legs, slowly lift your chest up to the sky. Keep your forearms and elbows snuggled close to your torso while your heart opens and you let your head fall back, with the crown of your head gently resting on the floor. It’s important to lift from the core and use your arms for stability, without putting too much pressure and weight into the head or neck.
3. Flapping Fish Pose (Matsya Kridasana)
Lie down on your stomach, relaxing completely, and turn your head to the left. You can rest your head on your hands for a more comfortable position. Bend your left leg, and draw it up close into your chest, with your right leg remaining straight. Hold this pose as long as it's comfortable, then turn your head to the right, leave your left leg straight and draw your right leg in. Flapping Fish Pose is a deeply relaxing posture that’s great for the digestive system and the lower back.
4. Dolphin Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
You can start this pose in a table-top position, but with your arms on the floor, elbows directly under your shoulders. Curl your toes under, exhale and lift up from the hips, as if you were going into downward-facing dog but with your arms on the floor. Press your arm bones actively into the floor, leaving space between your shoulders and your ears, and keep your thigh muscles active, pressing your heels down gently towards the floor. Dolphin Pose is great for strengthening the arms and shoulders, particularly if you’d like one day to do a headstand. To come out of the pose, lower the knees down gently and rest back into Child’s Pose.
5. Crocodile Pose (Makrasana)
Lie down fully on your front. Spread your legs hip-width apart, and turn your heels slightly outwards, with your big toes together. Bring your arms to cross underneath your head. You can rest your cheek on your hands and stay here for as long as you like. Don't forget to turn your head to do the other side and equalise your neck. As you breathe in, feel the gentle expansion of your tummy as it presses into the floor, and as you exhale, feel release and let go of the entire body and mind.
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Carmel is a travel professional and lover of literature and Latin America. In her day job at a tour operator she whisks people away to far off destinations, while in her spare time she moonlights as a freelance copywriter. You can find her portfolio here https://carmelhendry.journoportfolio.com. While not writing, or dreaming about travel, she can be found playing the piano, cycling or practising yoga. She’s spent the last year learning how to do a headstand, but mostly can be found relaxing in child’s pose! Join her and the Frog Project Community with 15 days of free unlimited classes. It’s just yoga.