Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that tones your body, helps you stretch out those tight flexors, and calms your mind. What’s more, it has scientifically-proven benefits for your stress management, sleeping habits, relaxing joints, balance, and overall health and well-being. This makes yoga an ideal workout for yacht crew to incorporate into their routine onboard without using any fancy equipment. What’s not to like?

So next time you’re onboard and looking to unwind – or simply use those muscles – incorporate some yoga into your routine. Here is a list of the best yoga exercises to do onboard.

Photo courtesy of: CrewPass

1. Tree Pose

  • What to do: Tuck one leg into the other, resting your foot above or below the knee (never on it). Move your hands into a prayer position across your chest or above your head.
  • Benefits: It improves your balance and posture. Also helps to develop your core, lats, and shoulders.
Photo courtesy of: Yoga Journal

2. Cobra Pose

  • What to do: Lying face down, have your toes pointed behind you. Put your palms flat, directly under your shoulders. Hugging your elbows in, push to lift your chest off the floor. Keep your neck neutral and roll back your shoulders.
  • Benefits: This pose stretches your whole body, especially your back muscles. Opens your chest, too.
Photo courtesy of: Yoga Journal

3. Boat Pose 

  • What to do: Feet on the floor, sit with your knees bent. Next, with your hands behind your knees, lift your chest, rock slightly back, and bring your feet up to knee height, roughly. Have your arms parallel to the floor if you can.
  • Benefits: This will test your core and the strength of your back not to hunch over!
Photo courtesy of: Yoga International

4. Butterfly Pose 

  • What to do: Start seated, then bend your knees and press the soles of your feet together. Wrap your hands around the outside of your feet. Next, pull yourself up and lengthen your spine, making sure your chest is open. Ensure your shoulders are relaxed and drawn back!
  • Benefits: This really helps your hip flexors. Also, you can stretch your thighs and pelvic muscles. 
Photo courtesy of: Life as Kelli Taylor

5. Pigeon Pose 

  • What to do: From all fours, bring your right knee to the floor on the outside of your right hand. Bring your left knee to your mat so your left leg should be flat on the floor, left foot pointing straight back. Square your hips. Bend forward over your right leg. Maintain square hips and equal weight on both hips. Reach your forehead toward the floor and slowly come back up when you’re done. Repeat the pose on the other side.
  • Benefits: This pose can ease lower back pain and help to open your hips.
Photo courtesy of: Yoga Journal

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6. Child’s Pose 

  • What to do: Kneel and sit on your knees. Keeping your buttocks on your heels, lean forward to rest your forehead on the floor. Lean forward, keeping your buttocks on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor. Move your arms so they’re straight out in front of you, palms flat on the ground. Breathe steadily.
  • Benefits: Lengthens the spine. Gently stretches the shoulders, ankles, neck, thighs, hips, and back.
Photo courtesy of: Ability Lab

7. Bridge Pose

  • What to do: Lie on your back and bend your knees, feet hip-width distance apart. then palms face down, extend your arms long on each side of your body. Lift your hips and tuck your chin slightly. You can also Interlace your hands behind your back to widen your chest, inching your shoulder blades underneath you. Keep your hips lifted.
  • Benefits: This pose helps to strengthen your back muscles, hamstrings, and glutes.
Photo courtesy of: F1rst Physical Therapy

8. Downward Facing Dog

  • What to do: On all fours, make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart (spread your fingers wide). Have your knees a bit behind your hips. Lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs as much as you can. To stretch your calf muscles, peddle out your feet.
  • Benefits: This is great for your circulation, building a bit of strength in your upper body, and stretching your legs.
Photo courtesy of: Yoga Journal

9. Runner’s Lunge Pose

  • What to do: Starting on all fours, step your left foot up between your hands into a low lunge stance. Bend your left knee to just above the ankle. Slide your right leg back and lift the knee. Press down firmly through your left heel, keeping your knee directly over your ankle. Square your hips forward. Pull your chest forward and up to form a straight line from back heel to head. As you hold the posture, inhale as you lengthen the body. Exhale as you sink deeper. Repeat on the other side.
  • Benefits: Builds strength in your legs.
Photo courtesy of:

10. Cat-Cow Pose

  • What to do: With a neutral spine, begin on your hands and knees in a table pose. Inhale, lift your chin, press your chest forward, and allow your belly to sink – that’s the cow pose. Then as you exhale, round your spine outward and tuck in your tailbone, gently letting your head gravitate toward the ground – that’s the cat pose.
  • Benefits: This will stretch out your back muscles, regulate your breathing, and bring some flexibility to your spine.
Cat cow yoga pose
Photo courtesy of: Yoga & Pilates with Daphnee

Final Yoga Tips

All the movements above are great to do onboard. They’re quick and easy – and it’s worth having a look at what else there is to explore in the world of yoga.

If you’re starting out:

  • Nail your Sun salutations: movement-based yoga will help your yoga sessions flow more easily and help your mobility
  • Keep your core tight
  • Regulate your breathing
  • Focus on good form
  • Don’t push yourself too far if what you’re doing is causing you pain – exercise should be a help on deck, not a hindrance!
  • If you struggle keeping your balance, you might want a bit of space around you! Head to an area of the boat where you can hold on to something

For the more advanced:

  • When you’re feeling more at ease with all the movements you’re trying, have a go at harder modifications
  • Fancy a real challenge? Doing yoga on a addle board is a quirky and wonderful way to experience nature while increasing balance, strength, and focus

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