Yoga In The Water:
As yoga continues it’s popularity, so do new innovative thinkers approach to the craft. Although some not in favor of the ever increasing “tweaks” made to the practice, it’s inevitably going to continue as the practice has the ability to be utilized in many applications. Today we discuss Aqua Yoga, and how you to can perform yoga in the water.
Aqua yoga or water yoga, either is correct. This “spin” on traditional yoga is becoming increasingly popular. An approach that combines the benefits of water with those of a good yoga practice. Born in the 1980s in California. A result of the studies and experiences of Harold Dull, an internationally renowned poet and holistic bodyworker. Yoga in the water, has an ability to enable a relaxation state, while maintaining an ability to help tone the body, even reaching a deep meditative state.
Performing exercise routines in a body of water is therapeutic. Surely, this is nothing new. Practicing physical exercises in a pool is good for the body and mind. Thanks to the hydrostatic thrust that counteracts the force of gravity, this alternative to regular exercise is less impactful on the joints. In terms of yoga, this can provide the ability to perform asanas with much more ease and effectiveness for some.
“Regular participation in water aerobics can help improve heart health and cardiovascular strength“. As beforementioned, it reduces the effect of gravity on our joints. Thus helping prevent injury, and/or allowing us to perform sessions for longer durations. Hence, potential to burn even more calories. Furthermore, the water itself offers resistance. So, not only do we get the benefit of less impact on the joints, but our muscles must work hard to overcome the resistance of the water.
To this must be added the power that water has on the psyche. Oftentimes, a pool, lake and certainly the ocean has a positive emotional stimulation on our minds, coupled with the fact of stability in water. For those of us that may be limited in our movements or fear of falling with regular exercise, a body of water where we can easily stand, gives us a sense of added stability or comfort from such a fall event.
The muffled sound, the slower movements, and the increased feeling of relaxation mean that yoga in the water can facilitate the realignment phase of the various energy levels. Thus, favoring meditation. Pool yoga is one of those practices that can help us disconnect and reconnect in a brand new way. Moreover, allowing us to anchor in the present moment focusing on each movement and the sensations of the water experience all at one time.
Where Can One Practice Water Yoga?
Aqua yoga is practiced immersed in a swimming pool or, even better, in thermal baths. The water is brought to a temperature of 33 ° C -35 ° C, which is close to the internal temperature of our body. Most of the positions are performed standing. However, there are some, for the more experienced, to be performed while floating or diving. Alternatively, you can also find this practiced in a lake, pond, even the ocean.
In addition, most people wear “bathing suits, wetsuits or shorts“, maybe even a swim cap to yoga in the water.
How Do You Practice Aqua Yoga?
Just like traditional yoga, yoga in the water also involves a complete exercise session. There are five main phases of a yoga class in the water.
- 1st Phase: Warm-up and stretching. Warm up the muscles and stretch the energy meridians.
- 2nd Phase: Breathing. Thus, allowing to better free one’s prana, and open of respiratory passages.
- 3rd Phase: Focus/meditation, to reduce stress, In addition to find a good level of concentration.
- 4th Phase: Execution of the asanas, taking care to perform a sequence that involves working on the muscles and joints of the entire body;
- 5th Phase: Finally, Eutonic exercises, to refine the toning of the individual muscles involved.
In water yoga, the classic standing positions of yoga are performed with water that reaches waist or shoulder height. Seated asanas can be practiced as well, however, in the lowest part of the pool, or for more experienced yogis. Lying positions, on the other hand, are performed lying on the water and floating is facilitated by specific tools.
Benefits Of Water Yoga:
With a consistent yoga practice, benefits of water yoga include;
- Less load/impact on the joints;
- improve range of motion of joints;
- increase stability and decrease fear of falling;
- helps keep the body cool;
- facilitates the execution of Pranayama;
- facilitates the prolonged maintenance of asanas;
- cardiovascular benefits;
- helps burn calories;
- perform difficult asanas with greater ease;
- fight anxiety, stress and insomnia;
- reach your deepest self;
- acquire a better balance;
- increase resistance to muscle movement with holding heavy weights;
- increase psycho-physical well-being.
Who Can Practice Yoga In The Water?
Virtually everyone. In fact, pool yoga has little to no contraindications. Even those who can’t swim can feel comfortable knowing these asanas are practiced in bodies of water in which you can stand. Most often water levels are between 1.10 meters and 1.40 meters.
Furthermore, the absence of weight on the joints and the consequent ease of movement make aqua yoga particularly suitable for pregnant women, elderly population, individuals whom are overweight, and even for those facing a rehabilitation process (mobility impairments) and in need of therapeutic yoga.
Additionally, individuals suffering from arthritis, hip and knee replacements, respiratory ailments, MS, fibromyalgia, even muscular dystrophy, may benefit from this practice.
Final Thoughts On Yoga In The Water!
Surely, you can imagine the benefits of aqua or water yoga. Oftentimes, a modified practice like yoga in the water is geared toward a specific population. nonetheless, the benefits are clear.
Finally, regardless the “style” or “type” of yoga or exercise you wish to perform, make sure your body is ready. Respect your body and it’s limits, seek expert advice if necessary.