Yoga for Sailors - Sail Magazine

Yoga for Sailors

Since its introduction into mainstream American fitness, the benefits of yoga have become increasingly apparent. From better balance to heightened mental awareness, yoga can make you not just a better athlete, but a better sailor. Boston area sailor and yogini Nancy Bellantone has been developing onboard yoga routines for years, and she encourages her crew to practice yoga before races, even on
Author:
Publish date:

Since its introduction into mainstream American fitness, the benefits of yoga have become increasingly apparent. From better balance to heightened mental awareness, yoga can make you not just a better athlete, but a better sailor. Boston area sailor and yogini Nancy Bellantone has been developing onboard yoga routines for years, and she encourages her crew to practice yoga before races, even on the way out to the race course. “The benefits are great,” says Bellantone. “Yoga can help the crew get mentally engaged. It increases agility and awakens the muscles you need to sail. It can also help with seasickness.”

In her routines, Bellantone incorporates the boat’s standing and running rigging, adhering to the adage, “one hand for you, one for the boat.” Try holding each of these poses for 5-10 breaths and use the modified versions for a simpler routine.

boat-pose1.int

1) Full Boat Pose (Paripurna navasana) Sit in a cockpit seat with your legs straight in front of you, knees bent. Inhale, lean back slightly, raise your feet until your thighs are 45 degrees to the seat, stretching your arms alongside the legs. Spread your shoulder blades across your back and reach through the fingers. For a modified version, keep feet on the floor and lean back on your tailbone only slightly.

This pose strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors and spine.

legs.int1

2) Legs up the mast (Viparita Karani) Lie on your back with your seat near the base of the mast. Extend your legs up the mast, holding onto the halyards for support. For a modified version, place soles of the feet together and allow the knees to drop toward outboard sides of boat.

This pose relieves tired or cramped legs and feet, stretches the backs of the legs, front torso and the back of the neck, calms the mind, creates core stability.

dancers

3) Dancer’s Pose with sail tie (Natarajasana) Stand on two feet facing the mast and loop a sail tie around your left ankle. Hold the halyards with your right hand. Inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward the sky as you bend at the knee. Slowly lift your left foot up, pulling from above your left shoulder. Extend the left thigh behind you. For a modified version, only raise your leg to your comfort level.

This pose stretches the shoulders, chest, thighs and abdomen, strengthens the legs and ankles and improves balance.

twist

4) Seated spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) Sit on a blanket at the forestay facing aft with your right leg straight in front of you and your left leg bent. Step the left foot over the right leg and stand it on the deck outside your right hip, left knee pointed at the sky. Exhale and twist toward the inside of the left thigh, left hand on the deck behind your left buttock, and right elbow pressing against the outside of left thigh; switch sides.

This pose increases spinal rotation and builds strength and flexibility in the muscles that support the spine.

sidestretch

5) Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana) Standing at the forestay, face to starboard with your feet 4ft apart. Turn your right foot in and your left foot out 90 degrees, aligning your heels. Turn your left thigh outward and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the deck. Place your left hand on the deck cleat, extend your right arm toward the sky, then turn your palm to face toward your head. Create a stretch from your right heel through your right finger tips and lengthen the entire right side of your body. For a modified version, rest your left forearm on the bow pulpit.

This pose strengthens and stretches the legs, spine, waist, chest and shoulders; also increases stamina.

Related

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more