Move Like the Ocean

Water invites us to soften the edges of our movement, to free up the structure and dance through the postures with a sense of fluidity. Practicing by the ocean can allow a soothing feeling of calm to wash over the entire body. The thoughts are the waves that wash into shore and pull back again, that ripple across the vast expansion of the ocean and swirl beneath the surface. Sometimes the waves are wild, unpredictable, crashing into each other and rising with tremendous force. Other times the waves calmly flow back and forth, as gentle and rhythmic as the breath itself. The thoughts are like the waves and you are the ocean. You are the place that remains changeless amidst ever-changing tides, the consciousness that remains present in stillness somewhere deep inside.

Being by the ocean can feel deeply therapeutic and offer a source of healing. It gives the mind a rest from over stimulation and has calming effects on the nervous system. It allows you to softly guide the focus inwards, whilst remaining connected to the calm space that holds you. Ocean air contains negatively charged ions, which oxygenate the blood. These negative ions can also provide a natural boost of serotine levels, helping you to feel energised and putting you in touch with an increased sense of wellbeing. Next time you are looking out to sea; take a deep breath in and a big breath out. Guide your awareness of the element of water and all that the ocean can teach you.

Allow your body to move freely. Find your own rhythm as you flow between movement and stillness, effort and ease. Find the space between your thoughts and access the calm within. Let the breath be your guide. Feel gratitude fill your heart in honour of the natural world and know that in this moment, there is peace. To embody the element of water and play with this fluid way of conscious movement, here are some ideas for asanas that can be practiced within a Yoga flow focused on water:

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Urdva Dhanurasana (Wheel)

Place the hands on the ground beneath the shoulders and the feet on the ground with the chest and hips lifting up, the spine arching back and the head off the floor.

Wheel posture strengthens the muscles in the back, arms, shoulders, hands, wrists and legs. The variation shown is with one leg raised. This is a challenging way to improve balance, control, flexibility and strength.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge)

Keep the head and upper back resting on the floor as the feet root down beneath bent knees and the hips lift up. Bridge pose stretches the hip flexors, strengthens the legs and feet and helps to feel into a sense of expansion in the chest.

Sirsasana II (Tripod Headstand)

The palms are flat on the floor with the arms and head creating a supportive base, like a tripod, and the legs are raised in the air. This is a great way to shift your internal perspective. It’s also good for core strength and coordination. Going upside down has many benefits such as increased energy, focus and awareness. Inversions improve circulation and calm the mind.

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)

Legs are wide with the front knee bent over the front foot pointing forwards. The back leg is lengthened and the back foot is turned out at 90°. The arms are spread out by the side of the body and the gaze rests forward over the front hand.

This posture connects you to your inner strength and stability. It helps to open the chest and stretch the hips whilst strengthening the legs. It is also great for building stamina, focus and tapping into inner courage.

Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3)

Stand on one leg with the back leg raised behind and the chest reaching foreward, facing down so that the body is working towards being horizontal to the floor.

This balancing posture is an effective way to tune into your inner stability. It tones and strengthens the whole back side of body as well as the abdominal muscles. It improves balance, helps to develop good co- ordination and focus the mind

Anjali Mudra (Prayer Position)

Bring the hands together with the palms facing each other at the heart centre.

This connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain helping you to feel centred and at peace. This simple hand gesture draws the focus inwards helping you to become increasingly aware of your inner world and mindful of both the breath and the subtle energy body.