Yoga for Sailors: Poses to Improve Strength and Flexibility
Yoga for Sailors: Poses to Improve Strength and Flexibility

Improve your physical and mental wellbeing while sailing with yoga. Explore the benefits and poses to help you maintain strength, flexibility, and balance on the open seas.

Yoga for Sailors: Poses to Improve Strength and Flexibility

Sailing is an incredible way to explore the world, but it can also be physically demanding. Long hours spent on deck, navigating rough seas, and performing various tasks can take a toll on your body. That’s where yoga comes in. Yoga is an excellent way to improve strength, flexibility, and balance, all of which are essential for sailors. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best yoga poses for sailors, as well as tips for practicing yoga on a boat.

Why Yoga is Beneficial for Sailors

Yoga offers numerous benefits for sailors, including:

  1. Improved strength: Sailing requires a great deal of physical strength, particularly in the core, arms, and legs. Yoga can help build and maintain this strength, making it easier to perform tasks on the boat and reducing the risk of injury.

  2. Increased flexibility: Flexibility is essential for sailors, as it allows for greater mobility and ease of movement on the boat. Yoga can help improve flexibility in the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders, which are all areas that can become tight and restricted from sailing.

  3. Better balance: Balance is crucial for sailors, as it helps to maintain stability on a moving boat. Yoga can help improve balance by strengthening the muscles that support the body and increasing overall body awareness.

  4. Reduced stress and anxiety: Sailing can be a stressful endeavor, particularly when faced with challenging weather conditions or navigational obstacles. Yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and mindfulness.

  5. Enhanced focus and concentration: Navigating a boat requires a great deal of focus and concentration. Yoga can help improve these skills by training the mind to be present and attentive.

Tips for Practicing Yoga on a Boat

Before diving into the specific poses, here are some tips for practicing yoga on a boat:

  1. Choose a stable surface: When practicing yoga on a boat, it’s essential to find a stable surface to prevent slipping or losing balance. A non-slip yoga mat or towel can be helpful in providing traction.

  2. Be mindful of space constraints: Boats can be tight on space, so it’s essential to choose poses that can be performed within the available area. Be prepared to modify poses as needed to accommodate your surroundings.

  3. Adjust for boat movement: The movement of the boat can make balancing poses more challenging. Be prepared to adjust your stance or use a wall or railing for support if needed.

  4. Practice at a suitable time: Choose a time to practice yoga when the boat is relatively stable, such as when anchored or moored. Avoid practicing during rough seas or when the boat is underway at high speeds.

  5. Listen to your body: As with any physical activity, it’s essential to listen to your body and modify poses as needed to prevent injury.

Yoga Poses for Sailors

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of yoga for sailors and tips for practicing on a boat, let’s explore some specific poses that can help improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

1. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward-Facing Dog is a foundational yoga pose that helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and shoulders while strengthening the arms and core.

How to do it:

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart.
  2. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back, straightening your legs and pressing your heels toward the floor.
  3. Keep your arms straight and press your chest toward your thighs, creating an inverted V shape with your body.
  4. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release back to your hands and knees.

2. Boat Pose (Navasana)

Boat Pose is an excellent core-strengthening pose that also helps to improve balance.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor, bringing your shins parallel to the floor.
  3. Extend your arms forward, parallel to the floor, with your palms facing each other.
  4. Engage your core and maintain a straight spine as you balance on your sit bones.
  5. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release your feet back to the floor.

3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior II is a powerful pose that strengthens the legs and core while opening the hips and chest.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet wide apart, about 3-4 feet.
  2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly.
  3. Bend your right knee, aligning it directly over your right ankle.
  4. Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, with your palms facing down.
  5. Gaze over your right fingertips and hold for 5-10 breaths.
  6. Straighten your right leg and repeat on the left side.

4. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Tree Pose is a balancing pose that helps to improve focus and concentration while strengthening the legs and core.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
  2. Shift your weight onto your right foot and lift your left foot off the floor.
  3. Place the sole of your left foot on your right inner thigh or calf, avoiding the knee.
  4. Bring your hands together at your heart center or extend them overhead.
  5. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release and repeat on the other side.

5. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Seated Forward Bend is a calming pose that helps to stretch the hamstrings and lower back while promoting relaxation.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Inhale and reach your arms overhead, lengthening your spine.
  3. Exhale and fold forward from your hips, reaching for your feet or ankles.
  4. Keep your spine straight and your chest lifted as you fold.
  5. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release and sit up.


Incorporating yoga into your sailing routine can provide numerous benefits, including improved strength, flexibility, and balance. By practicing the poses outlined in this article, you’ll be better equipped to handle the physical demands of sailing and enjoy your time on the water. Remember to listen to your body, modify poses as needed, and practice at a suitable time to ensure a safe and effective yoga practice on your boat.