Those yogis you see on the beach aren’t just trying to get a good shot for Instagram. “Bodily movement starts from the base up, so when you change the pattern of the ground, you’re bound to challenge balance and stability,” explains Alexis Novak, a Los Angeles–based yoga instructor. Novak takes her practice to the beach as often as she can, saying that the random peaks and valleys in the sand keep her thinking about how she’s planting her hands and feet. Plus, the way the sand gives beneath you will really challenge your core. Novak is known for her sweat-producing routines, and this yoga practice doubles as strength work.
Child’s Pose: Begin by sitting on your shins with your forehead resting on the ground and your arms stretched out in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds.
Table Top Position: Move up so that you’re on your hands and knees and your back is flat. Move your back and sides around in circular motions to wake up the core muscles. Repeat for 10 circles in each direction.
Bird-Dog Balance Position: Raise your right leg and left arm. Engage your core and draw the right knee to the left elbow under your torso. Repeat 15 times and switch sides.
Toe Taps With Oblique Work: Move back to the table top position. Move your right heel to the back of the mat and draw circles with the ankle, stretching the muscles in the feet. Next, draw an arc with the toes behind the body, using the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and core to guide the leg. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.
Plank Position: Push up onto your toes and palms and, maintaining straight body alignment, gently tap your knees to the ground and back up. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Tricep Push-up: Lift the body into a plank position again, but keep the arms narrow. Lower your chest to the mat, hugging the elbows close to the body. Repeat 10 times.
Downward Facing Dog: Push your butt up to the sky and stretch back to engage the hamstrings. Then, bend your knees and walk your hands toward your feet so you’re folded into a “rag doll” position. Find a gentle sway in your upper and lower body, stretch through your lower back and relax your neck.
Squats and Plyo Squats: Slowly roll your body up until you’re standing upright. Push your butt back and squat. Alternate from standing to squat for 10 rounds. Next, move into a plyometric squat jump, jumping at the top of the squat movement. Ideally you should take a giant leap off of the mat, and land lightly back in the squat position. Repeat for 30 seconds, then rest.
Horse Pose: Widen your squat and turn your heels in and your toes out. Lower your hands to the back side of where your butt meets your thighs. Engage your core and shift your body right to left, engaging your back muscles. Repeat 15 times.
Take a five-minute cool down savasana (yoga nap) on your mat, allowing all your hard work to soak into the body.