Being a New Englander…one of my favorite midsummer activities is sailing….well, that’s a stretch. I like watching other people sail who know what they are actually doing, while I just wait to be given a simple task, like skirting the mainsail in a lazy Saturday race, or making sure everyone’s beers are full.
I have some friends that are fantastic sailors, and who’s lives consist of living aboard ships, small and large, and are therefore at the whim of mother nature and their own instincts.
When racing, core strength, leg strength, balance, and arm strength are essentials. You must be quick on your feet, perceptive, completely aware of what’s around you at all times, calm in times of utter stress, and you must be able to think extremely quickly in dire situations. Sailing well depends on your understanding the environment, your relationship with the elements of wind and water, and letting go of the idea that you can control the outcomes of your endeavors.
As an activity, it is environmentally friendly, if you don’t use the motor at all, and can humble your entire being.
Yoga can help calm a sailor’s mind, get him/her in tune with elements that determine his/her course, and prepare his/her body for a race, or a casual sail.
My main fear when sailing, especially racing, is going overboard because I am so awkwardly tall and clumsy. Also, I know many of you get nauseous just at the thought of boats in the water, but I may have a few curing poses.
Even for the casual sailor, or guest on a boat, I have a few poses in mind that may be great for before, during and/or after your sail!
1. Chakrasana (wheel)…strengthens legs, arms, core and increases balance and clarity of mind. Learn more from my previous post on wheel, here…
2. Adho Mukha Savasana (Downward Dog)…great for the core and arm strength. Also reduces nausea and increases clarity of mind. Learn more here.
3. Balasana (Child’s pose)…calms the nerves, rejuvenates and reduces nausea. Learn more here.
4. Bakasana (crane pose)…fantastic pose for arm and core strength! Make’s you feel like you can conquer the world after conquering this pose. Learn more here.
5. Vrksasana (Tree pose)…my balancing favorite…great on board! Learn more here.
6. Virabhandrasana (Warrior III)…also great for balance, leg, and core strength. Learn more here.
7. Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose)…increases balance, hip strength, core strength and leg strength. Learn more here.
8. Plank…one of the best for core and all over body strength. Helps energize the entire body and get you centered for a long sail! Also try side plank. Learn more here.
9. Matsyasana (fish pose)…just because of the name….learn more here.
10. Boat…see Monday’s post here!
11. Malasana: Yogic squat
I also like the idea of using some recycled products while sailing and reusing ripped and old sails that typically would go straight to the landfill after use.
Go local to find recycled sail products in Gloucester, MA with Second Wind Sails…
The Gloucester company, Second Wind Sails, makes everything from Christmas stockings, to dog collars, to shower curtains, to wine bags, to pillows, to duffel bags using recycled sails.
Seafevergear.com also has great recycled sail products including a yoga bag for only $19.95 and is located both in San Diego and Cape Cod…
Although I posted earlier about “Sea Bags” recycled sails into bags…ReSail, of Newport,RI, claims to be its predecessor in style and purpose, has much more variety and is actually cheaper!…The line began with using recycled sails, and now includes any recycled material from a working sail loft (Dacron, Kevlar, etc.) using sail stitching techniques. They even make recycled Kevlar dog collars, recycled sail bean bag chairs, and recycled sail sailing jackets/vests! Check the website out here.
In the, why didn’t I think of this? category:
Kim Hess of Miami has created a book called “Yoga Onboard”. Kim, an avid sailor and yoga teacher, created a system of poses she believes would work well for sailors and live aboard’s. She also charters sailing yoga retreats and vacations for small groups! Find out more here.