Most people love the idea of exercising at the beach–notice I said idea.

As much as you love laying around at the beach, those mojitos are adding calories to your daily count quickInstead of heading inside for a workout, why not do it on the beach?

Sand is a great medium for a workout–it forces you to balance and use muscles you might not be using in your typical routine. But how do you exercise on the beach without earning the judging stare of every passerby?

Unless you have the body of a beach yoga god, you probably also feel a little insecure about exercising on the beach (I hate the idea of everybody watching me sweat and writhe around). Cue my idea:

Yoga is extremely popular in Thailand–there’s a studio on every corner. It’s just part of Thai life.

In Thailand, life, work and play are all intertwined together. So today, we’re following the Thai way and mixing our work and play as well with some ocean yoga. While this workout won’t make you invisible, it is much less conspicuous than doing yoga on the sand in your bikini. Some of the poses are more or less conspicuous, so choose according to your comfort level and ability.

Even if you’ve never done yoga before in your life, this workout is worth a try (or at least try some of the instructional videos on so you can learn!).


Why do yoga in the ocean? 

I’m sure you’ve heard of water aerobics and it’s benefits: less stress on the joints, high resistance, full body resistance. It’s awesome at any age, but especially great as you age.

Exercising in the ocean during low tide is perfect, because the water provides support for your body and joints, while the waves provide gentle resistance in both directions (back and forth). The sand is an unstable medium for practicing yoga already, so you will be working muslces that don’t usually get worked. It’s a balancing act in both directions–to stand straight up and stand still. You must stand firm through your poses or the ocean or sand will pull you away.

This workout is relaxing and will strengthen your core in more than one way .. without anyone even noticing that you’re exercising.

“But I don’t know any yoga poses!”

That’s totally fine. I’m not a yoga teacher, but we’re going to go over the most basic yoga poses that you learn in your first day of any yoga class.

The point here is to hold each of the poses in the water as the waves wash against your body and keep holding them without being pulled away by the ocean’s forces. The more advanced you are, the more poses and time you can add the the routine. We’re going to start with some suggestions for a very basic workout.


How in the world can you get your workout in on a crowded beach without being noticed?

Before you start: Plan your poses.

Do a little research. Look up the poses online here and try them at home. Make a flow that you are comfortable with and can practice safely in the water.

Step 1: Walk briskly on the beach for 10 minutes.

The sand where the last bit of water splashes up is perfect–not too hot, not too soft.

Step 2: Enter the water

Seriously, nobody’s looking.

Step 3: Get to a comfortable depth

Try anywhere from ankle depth to mid-thigh. We wouldn’t suggest much deeper than waist-depth, and your depth depends on core strength and the poses you intend to practice.

Step 4: Start Your Flow in Standing Pose

You can bring your prayer hands to your middle chakra (your stomach) or keep your hands by your side. Breathe in and out slowly. Wait for 5 waves to wash in and out.


Step 5: Mix it up with a routine of poses

We suggest using a mix of standing poses – obviously sitting poses don’t work that well and can be dangerous in the water. Here’s a list of poses to try (here’s the instructional pictures for the poses below):

  • Cat & Cow
  • Half Moon 1 & 2
  • Awkward 1, 2 &3
  • Twisting Awkward
  • Eagle
  • Standing Bow**
  • Balancing Stick**
  • Triangle
  • Side Angle
  • Extended Triangle
  • Twisting Triangle
  • Tree Pose
  • Plank
  • Side Plank

You may not be able to complete a full flow with these poses, but you will be able to get some extra resistance training in on your standing poses.



Step 6: Finish off with Tree Pose (aka Sun Salutation)

I’m not going to lie.. this pose is really hard in the sand, with the tide working against you. This inspired a hilarious reel of bloopers.  It’s a challenge, and a great way to work on your focus and balance, as well as to see progress over time. Let me say it one more time – it’s really hard in the sand.

Start standing with your hands together at your heart and shift the weight to one leg. Slowly raise the other leg, keeping the bottom of your foot parallel to your leg. Your hip should be turned outward (I’m not that flexible, as you can see).


Finish it out: Walk briskly on the beach for 10 minutes

The barefoot run is amazing: it forces you to run on the balls of your feet (no more heel striking!), making it easier to keep your chest and head up. If you run instead of walk, make sure to relax through your arms and keep your core tight as you run. Make sure to run by the water, right at the top of where the tide touches before it pulls back. The sand will be cool and wet, but not too mushy, so it can offer some support.

Beach runs are tough. If you go this route, don’t be afraid to run for 1 minute and walk for 1 minute. Walk when you are tired, and stop when your body tells you too.

My takeaway: Wow, I loved this workout. I love resisting the water as my form of workout–it’s easy, inconspicuous and a great way to build core strength. The run was tough, but I enjoyed it and honestly needed it. My arches were sore for the 3 days after. The best part? When I was done, I crawled back into the water and cooled off.


45 minutes of work(out), and now back to a day of play!

Whether you live by the beach or only visit every once in a while, this workout it worth a try! You will feel aches and pains from this workout in places you didn’t know existed, but it’s a great way to fit exercise in without breaking up your day. But the most important takeaway is that exercise is great for your body. No matter what age or ability level you’re at, make sure to get out and sweat every day! Exercise improves your body’s ability to combat illness and diseases, protects you from the effects of aging–the beauty connection here–and keeps things regular. You only have one body; treat it well!

Interested in learning yoga? Try any level or time increment with these free videos


Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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