Updated: Jun 3
Do you love doing yoga when you have time ashore, yet find it difficult to practise whilst you have guests on board? Here are some great tips on how to maintain a daily yoga practise even in the midst of a busy season.
With short breaks, limited private space, and a tired body, it is unlikely you will be able to do a long daily practice. However, even 5 minutes of sun salutations or cat/cow curls done in your cabin first thing in the morning can make a difference to your day. No matter how short your practice, enjoy it as a moment for observing how you feel that day, and treat it like a gift to yourself.
If you find the time to do a longer yoga asana practice during your break, you may need to reduce the strenuousness of your practice if you have a heavy workload. Focus instead on restorative and calming postures, such as seated forward bends and twists, and shoulder stands; or try listening to a relaxing guided meditation podcast before going to sleep.
You may not have the space or the privacy to roll out your mat – so get creative in when and where you do different poses. For example,
Do some simple stretches in the pantry while you are waiting for guests to wake up, such as forward bends, the ‘chair’ pose, and a standing twist.
Find a wall to practice your handstands against – a few minutes of handstand practise can leave you feeling invigorated for the rest of your shift.
If the boat is rocking, have fun playing with warrior poses or tree pose to improve your balance.
If it is hard to find a quiet spot in which to meditate, choose a noisy one instead! It can be a great way to practise cutting out external stimuli and looking within.
Be mindful in your actions
So many of a stew’s daily tasks are strengthening for the body. Paying attention to how you move and focusing on the muscles involved can help build strength and improve body awareness.
When making beds, practise engaging your mula bandha (gently lifting the perineal muscles) and gently engage your core to protect your lower back.
When walking up steps, actively squeeze your butt muscles – it is a great workout!
Vacuuming and doing wash-downs are great for toning arms, shoulders and your core. Keep movements fluid and dancelike; if repetitive movements are causing strain anywhere, listen to your body and try and avoid that movement when you can.
Be kind to others
When tensions run high and personalities clash, this can be a great opportunity to practice the yogic values of compassion and Ahimsa (non-violence). A smile or a kind word can make the world of difference to a fellow crew member who may be feeling stressed or anxious.
Be kind to yourself
If you find yourself getting frustrated about the fact that you can’t do your normal practice, then let go of it. Asana is only one ‘limb’ of a full yoga practice –this may be a good time instead to read some inspiring yoga philosophy or to begin a daily meditation practise. Plan ahead to go to a yoga class next time you are ashore, so that you have something nourishing to look forward to.
Emmeline Gee is owner of Angels On Board, who specialise in providing freelance massage/beauty therapists and yoga/Pilates instructors for yacht charters. Find out more at www.angels-on-board.com