Yoga by the sea

Heads up: Howard Cohen busts out a head stand during yoga on the beach. Photo: Charles Trainor Jr./for

By Howard Cohen

Headstands, “the king of the asanas [poses], ” massage all of our inner organs, yoga instructor Gabriella Meszaros says as our world turns upside down at Beach Yoga the other day.

Having conquered the class, we yogis felt uplifted. “The main reason is to open up the mind, body and spirit to God, ” Meszaros says, explaining why she practices yoga and conducts classes in the ancient exercise.

A couple weeks ago we checked out Crunch Fitness’ indoor Buff Yoga class. We liked it, but it’s fast-paced and athletic. We were able to keep up because of our experience with these Hatha-style Beach Yoga classes we’ve been taking with Meszaros for a couple months.

We love them. Even when tired, not in the mood for a workout, “It’s the one thing I don’t have to force myself to do, ” says Jill Fitzgerald, a South Florida real estate broker and fan of these classes.

I love the body-toning positions and the sense of accomplishment once I master them. One summer, some 35 years ago, I briefly joined a gymnastics class in North Miami. The rings, the tumbling, the horse all came naturally. Yet, I could never do a headstand. Under Meszaros’ assistance and concise tips, I managed my first headstand — at age 44.

Now, they are a cinch. On the beach, the sand yields and takes pressure off the crown of the head. The fear of falling on a hard-wood floor is eliminated, Meszaros says.

Several celebrities have given yoga credit for reshaping their bodies. LeAnn Rimes and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush show off their buff bods in a new People magazine.

We’re one up on the country stars: We have the breezes off the ocean to entice and plenty of eye candy to aspire to. Beach Yoga’s a bargain and a boon.

Miami Herald health writer Howard Cohen visits area gyms and other fitness places and reviews fitness classes. All classes are pay-as-you-go.