30 June 2017
FLORIDA KEYS — When work schedules and responsibilities seem especially stressful, the siren song of the subtropical Florida Keys can be almost impossible to resist. The inviting island chain offers a variety of ways to treat body and mind to “unplugged” relaxation on and off the water.
Outdoor adventure companies have added a twist to standup paddling or paddleboarding with paddleboard yoga classes that combine mind and body relaxation with healthful exercise and Keys eco-enjoyment. Beginners through experienced yoga practitioners can participate.
Two-hour classes generally are divided between paddling time, spotting sea life and wading birds, and yoga practice. Participants first paddle out to the calm backcountry waters and then begin yoga while connecting with nature in a tranquil mangrove setting.
Like mat yoga, the experience is designed to still the mind and increase flexibility and strength through chanting, breathwork and seated and standing postures — all using the anchored paddleboard as a "mat" to execute warrior, downward facing dog and headstand poses.
Join the experts at the Lower Keys’ Serenity Eco Therapy, whose mission is progressive therapeutics and fitness; and Lazy Dog, a popular outdoor adventure company located near Key West at Hurricane Hole Marina, 5114 Overseas Highway on Stock Island.
Throughout the Keys strips of sandy beach provide vacationers seeking serenity places for relaxing, sunning, swimming or just dipping their toes in warm, clear turquoise waters.
Known worldwide as America's first undersea preserve, Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park at mile marker (MM) 102.6 features the popular Cannon Beach and Far Beach.
Sombrero Beach, at the end of Sombrero Beach Road at MM 50 oceanside in Marathon, is a well-maintained Middle Keys gem. The quiet, free-access public park and beach includes a kayak and paddleboard launch, volleyball courts, children's playground, shady picnic pavilions equipped with cooking grills, freshwater showers, restroom facilities and handicap access.
Marathon also features a 1,200-foot beach at Curry Hammock State Park, located on a large protected parcel of land along both sides of U.S. Highway 1 at MM 56.2. Sunbathing, swimming and sandcastle building are favored activities at the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean.
The Keys’ most widely known beach area, because of its repeated accolades as one of the top 10 beaches in the United States by travel surveys, can be found at Bahia Honda State Park, located in the Lower Keys between MMs 36 and 37. Calusa Beach, the smallest of Bahia Honda’s sandy expanses, lies on the northwest side of the island and offers a unique view of the historic Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad trestle bridge.
As well as calm waters and soothing skies that enhance the quality of a Keys vacation, visitors may find that the availability of beauty, health and wellness therapies round out a life-changing experience inside and out. These include rejuvenating day spas, massage therapies or alternative healing treatments for any traveler — whether on vacation solo or sharing a romantic couple’s getaway, girlfriends’ weekend, prewedding bridal party treat or looking to reconnect mind, body and spirit.
The Keys offer numerous places to slow down and get pampered with a restorative menu of massages, facials, body and beauty treatments that bring together know-how from around the world, including Indian and Thai rituals, to calm, restore, energize and beautify. Explore the options at fla-keys.com/spas-health-wellness/.
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS 
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