Kids are fueled by imagination, and yoga can help them grow.
Milo Sutton and her daughter, Vera Levy, have yet to miss a day of beach yoga this summer.
The two hit the sand with their beach towels in hand at 7 a.m. every morning, ready for sunshine, ocean views and plenty, of course, of downward dog.
Levy lives in Brooklyn, but spends the summers living in Deal with Sutton.
“We cry in September!” Levy, 41, joked.
“We hate September!” Sutton, 61, said.
Beach yoga is what turned Sutton on to yoga as a whole. She first attended West End Beach Yoga in Long Branch last year, and she’s been hooked every since. “That was it,” she said. “I haven’t missed a day since.”
The class rotates between 16 different teachers — each has their own style and personality.
Their teacher this Tuesday morning is Mary Jo Balve.
Balve said she has a gentle practice that uses twists and back and forward bends. She has a full-time job, but teaching yoga on the beach is the highlight of her summer.
“I like to add a more spiritual twist to my class,” Balve said. “I always tell my students to take a mental picture of what they’re seeing so they can carry it through their winter when things get tough. (Beach yoga) is something you carry with you all year. It doesn’t matter if the ground is flat or not — you can use the sand as props. If you go into a balance, you can dig your feet in and that helps to ground.”
Here at the Shore, there’s a plethora of outdoor yoga classes, where you can enjoy ocean views, spectacular views and a moment of peace before the chaos of the day. So grab your sunscreen and beach towel, and head for these outdoor yoga classes in Monmouth and Ocean counties:
West End Beach Yoga, Long Branch
Mark Levy and Jane Altar both have coordinated the program through the Long Branch Department of Recreation for the last five years.
The class started out small with two beach yoga classes a week, and now has expanded to 10 classes a week with morning classes seven days a week and an evening class three nights a week. Last year, Levy said 2,500 people came out during the summer.
West End Beach Yoga has 16 yoga teachers who rotate daily.
“Every teacher has little different style,” Levy said. “Some do slower movements, holding (poses) longer for strength, and some have a mini meditation built in.”
Levy said he started the beach yoga program when he realized clients couldn’t always afford to take their practice to the studio. He wanted to be more accessible and affordable. The donation beach yoga classes allows him to reach more people and help them with their physical and mental health.
“All you hear is the ocean and the birds … it’s a great way to quiet your mind in the beginning of the day and to set your mindset for the day,” Levy said. “Most people lead very hectic lives, but if you can start off the day in the sand and quiet, and you can leave the beach with a smile on your face and you go on and smile at somebody else, then the world changes.”
WHERE: On the beach at West End Avenue and Ocean Avenue
DATES: Until Labor Day
7 to 8 a.m. daily, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings
Wednesday evenings is their most popular class.
SUGGESTED DONATION: $10
Carmel Calcagno, owner of Yoga Anjali in Belmar, has been teaching beach yoga in Avon for 15 years.
Her hour-long beach yoga donation class consists of sun salutations, standing poses, forward and backward bends.
“I keep it pretty basic because doing yoga on the beach is a little more challenging,” Calcagno said. “You’re not on solid ground, you’re on the sand, so it’s really important to use your muscles.”
Calcagno said she and her instructors base the class on the situation. If it’s an extra hot day, she’ll take it easy and slow it down.
“The most beautiful thing about yoga on beach is that you’re surrounded by nature … it’s a reminder that you’re natue as well,” Calcagno said.
She added that yoga isn’t a competition.
“It’s about accepting where you are today,” she said. “You the the best you can on the mat and off. You have to be where you are no matter what anyone else is doing. We’re all different people, we all have to do things differently.”
WHERE: East End Ave., Avon
DATES: 7:30 a.m. daily until Labor Day
SUGGESTED DONATION: $10 to $15
Asbury Hotel Rooftop Yoga
Enjoy sunrise yoga with incredible views and local yoga teachers at the Asbury Hotel.
The hotel offers rooftop yoga open to the public on the Baronet with mats available to rent throughout the week.
David Bowd, operator and owner of The Asbury, said there’s nothing quite like yoga on the Baronet.
“You are outside, (there’s a) beautiful light, natural sea breeze with a spectacular view of the ocean,” Bowd said. “In addition to the incredible teachers, the atmosphere and natural beauty have made all of our attendees much more relaxed and focused.”
WHERE: The Asbury Hotel’s Baronet roof, 5th Ave. and Kingsley St. in Asbury Park.
DATES: 8 a.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sundays. Check the website for schedule changes.
PRICING: 10 class passes are available at the front desk for $100 or $15 per class.
Visit theasburyhotel.com/to-do or call for more information.
Power Yoga With Tina
WHERE: Allenhurst Beach Club, 125 Corlies Ave. Under the North Deck Gazebo. Nonmembers are welcome.
DATES: 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
WHERE: Ocean Grove Pier
DATES: 6: 30 p.m. Thursdays
PRICE: One class is $12, five classes is $50, 11 classes is $100, 24 classes is $200
Sea of Abundance Yoga, Chadwick Beach
Bonnie Browne said her class is a mixed-level. There’s a little bit of balance, breathing and connecting with nature.
“I think it’s just so beneficial that people get to sit on the earth for a change instead of on a floor (in a studio),” Browne said of beach yoga. She’s been a certified teacher since 2008, and her beach yoga classes run 75 minutes.
During her class, students will do some warriors, warrior II, triangle poses, forward and backward bends.
“You’re taking in the ocean, the fresh air, and sometimes we even have a nice show with the dolphins,” Browne said. “It’s a good time to get grounded, and get peaceful, especially in this day and age where we all need some peace and to spread the peace.”
WHERE: The southernmost end of the beach in Chadwick Beach. Browne suggests parking on Strickland Boulevard, next to the Wawa.
DATES: 7:45 a.m.Monday and Fridays
SUGGESTED DONATION: $12
Local Beach Yoga, Point Pleasant Beach
Carrie Godesky has been teaching yoga on Point Pleasant Beach for the past seven years.
She said students will usually attend her yoga class in the morning, then stop by her cafe, Local Beach House Cafe, which she owns with her husband on Broadway. She also will teach special night classes, like full moon beach yoga classes from 7 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Inlet Beach, Jenkinson’s North at Broadway and Ocean Avenue. Parking is free for students.
DATES: 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. Mondays and Fridays, 8 to 9 a.m., Saturdays and Sundays
SUGGESTED DONATION: $10