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:
Updated:
Original:

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

Waypoint.image.cd

Say No To Waypoints

Ever since they first appeared in my navigational toolbox decades ago I have been wary of waypoints. They certainly do seem helpful, these electronic flags we plant in the ether to guide us to where we want to go. But I noticed early on they also tend to distort our perception. ...read more

Lead-shutterstock_429247

A Cruise up Florida’s St. Johns River

The chart showed 45ft of vertical clearance, and I knew the boat should be able to pass under the bridge. Still, there was that nagging voice in my head that wouldn’t let me be. “What if your air draft calculations were wrong?” it said. “And if you’re just a little too high the ...read more

pic00

Installing a Helm Pod

Our 1987 Pearson project boat came with an elderly but functioning Raymarine chartplotter, located belowdecks at the nav station. Since I usually sail solo or doublehanded, it was of little use down there—it needed to be near the helm. When I decided to update the plotter along ...read more

Panamerican

Pan American Game Success

Team USA’s young sailors went to the quadrennial Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru this summer with high hopes, and returned with a good haul of medals—two Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze. Gold medals went to Ernesto Rodriguez and Hallie Schiffman (Mixed Snipe) and Riley ...read more

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more