Why Yoga Beach Walks?

The beach and ocean are my “go-to” for inspiration or releasing stress. On my solo walks along the beach, I often include a yogic practice and leave the beach feeling rejuvenated, content and more grounded … the inspiration for starting my yoga beach walks.

At the start of every yoga beach walk, I share the walk’s benefits. Below is a brief list from various sources blended with my experience. 


Walking barefoot along the shore is calming, inspiring and a source of contentment. Why? It is grounding – connecting the body to the earth’s natural energy. In my yoga beach walks, we start in Tadasana to notice how the feet are connected to the earth.

Take your yoga practice off the mat

A good yoga mat can make all the difference, but removing the mat altogether has its benefits too. Eliminating the mat, studio floor and walls encourages the use of different muscles for balance and stability, as well as increased proprioception, or body awareness. During my yoga beach walks, I am mindful of what standing poses are best for the sand that day. 

Drishti in the natural environment

Drishti – a soft, focused gaze on a fixed point – is used to help concentrate and find balance in a pose. In a studio setting, a point on the floor or wall is used. Outdoor yoga poses often require additional focus to find a stable or unmoving point for Drishti. On the beach, a footprint, shell, rock or steady point in the distance can be used.  

What is positive about negative ions?

Being near the ocean or in nature is a natural source of negative ions, or molecules with an extra electron and a negative electrical charge. Examples of the physiological benefits of negative ions are a positive effect on mood and stress levels, enhancing the immune function and improving the quality of sleep. Breathing in the ocean air, as we do in our yoga beach walks, is inhaling the positive effects of negative ions. 

The foot

With 33 joints and 26 bones, the foot is uniquely designed to walk on uneven terrain. Walking barefoot in the sand improves agility, strengthens leg muscles and lowers the risk of injury. On my yoga beach walks, I draw attention to the feet as the foundation for moving forward in space. 

What about colour?

Blue or grey blue is a short-wavelength colour known to have a calming effect. I bring awareness to the colour of the ocean and sky during the yoga beach walks to help calm the mind. 

Calming the mind

A yogic beach walk enhances the flow of pranayama or breath. Along with the colour of the sky and ocean, tuning in to the sound of the waves, birds, breeze and other natural sounds helps create a soothing meditative state, especially with intentional barefoot steps along the shore. The “no-talk “ part of the walk encourages tuning into the senses, both outer and inner. 

Physical fitness

Walking barefoot in the sand increases one’s metabolism; 1.5 to 2 times more calories are used than walking on a hard surface in shoes. Even if the pace is slow, the movement of the feet in the sand requires additional energy, and even more to walk backwards.

Walk backwards to help you walk forward

Walking backwards has a surprising number of benefits: it strengthens lesser-used leg muscles, reduces lower back pain and stress on the knees, and increases coordination and proprioception, which in turn helps with balance and stability. Walking backwards is not easy for everyone, and it can take time to feel comfortable moving in reverse. Giving it a try on the beach reduces the chance of a fall or injury. 

Beyond the benefits

An additional benefit of the yoga beach walks is the community or the group synergy which often makes for good conversation over a cup of coffee after the walk. And on my regular monthly walks, funds are raised for Doctors Without Borders.

For more information on the Yoga Beach Walks, contact Henrica via henricayogaalgarve.com or +351926828497.


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