Gently stretch and strengthen muscles while quieting the mind and opening the heart.Aqua yoga is a great way for every-body to access yoga.
By definingyou @aol.com
Come explore a new environment for practicing yoga - one that assists, resists, and supports your own movements. This is the wondrous world of water. Because of the unique properties of water people of all fitness levels can safely enjoy water yoga. Conditions such as arthritis, MS, obesity, and others can make traditional yoga practice on land extremely difficult. The force of gravity during standing poses (“asanas’) may also be too great for deconditioned individuals just beginning physical activity after illness or injury. But the buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure of the water support the body in all directions making most standing yoga poses easier. Over time practicing these poses in the water will lead to greater strength and stability. Often people move on to broaden their yoga practice on land after training in the water.
I first began to practice yoga in the water after a two year struggle with chronic fatigue and fibromyalsia.
Having been very extremely active for years in group exercise, running, cycling, dance and yoga made me quite frustrated at the start. But practicing yoga in the water was like nothing else I had ever felt. It is a one on one experience with nature. The water’s energy suddenly becomes your own when you have none. You become excepting of this as you feel yourself slowly being restored. It is not a miracle. You have to “let go” relax and learn to be passive and receive a little at a time. Patience is the key to any successful recovery. Yoga teaches you to be kind to yourself and the water helps by making movements easier.
As there are many ways to practice yoga movements on land so are there in the water. Vinyasas (connecting movements) help keep the body warm by sending oxygen more quickly to many muscles as the body flows from one yoga pose to the next. These vinyasas can be performed standing in the middle of a pool, on the side , or in a floating position.
Partner and group poses are very valuable for many people who benefit greatly from fellowship.
Water temperature and the time spent in the water is very important. If vinyasa work is practiced one will not feel the cold as much. Water temperature can be suitable between 82 and 86 degrees for no more than 45 minutes. If mostly floating and flexibility poses, breathing and meditation are practiced the water should be betwwen 86 and 90 degrees. The duration of the session sould be between 30 and 45 minutes.
Floatation equipment may be used if a knowlegeable instructor is present. I have designed a program called Yoga Afloat and have certified a few hundred people in the program to date. If you are interested in learning more about the program or on how to become certified in Yoga Afloat click here.
Performing yoga is a great way to burn calories, but did you know that you can get even more benefits by participating in water yoga? Aqua yoga is both enjoyable and healthy, and it will keep you cool. In addition, this form of exercise is excellent for those with arthritis and other health conditions who cannot take part in regular yoga. I will highlight the benefits of water yoga and the many poses (asanas) that can be performed in the pool.
Benefits of water yoga
Performing yoga in the water has many benefits, including the following:
- More calories are shed in less time due to the water's resistance.
- Water decreases the weight on bones, joints and muscles.
- Those who are obese, have arthritis or multiple sclerosis (MS) can perform water yoga with more ease than traditional yoga.
- Aqua yoga is great for beginners who are not accustomed to working out.
Therapeutic properties of aqua yoga
Water yoga is therapeutic in the following ways:
- Helps heart and circulatory conditions
- Beneficial for those with asthma and other respiratory problems
- Aids in relieving pain from arthritis and muscle aches
- Serves as a great post surgery regimen
- Boosts the immune system
- Edema (swelling in the feet) from pregnancy is alleviated
- Subsides stress
- Pacifies insomnia
Water yoga poses (asanas)
Many asanas are ideal for performing in the water, including the following:
Most of these poses take advantage of the side of the pool by having you hold onto it with one or both hands.
Aqua yoga on video
If you want to see for yourself what water yoga looks like, watch one or all of the following videos:
- Yoga in the Pool
- WaterART Yoga Fitness
- Water Yoga with Carol Argo
- Mindful Yoga Moves
- Aqua Yoga
- Unang Hirit: Aqua Yoga, pampapayat ngayong 2012
As you can see from the numerous videos, aqua yoga can be enjoyed in many different ways. Some classes use equipment, some perform partner yoga poses and many are accompanied by music.
Are you ready to try aqua yoga? Walk or jump in the pool to see if water yoga is for you. If you are just starting out, look for a class near you, or buy a book explaining how to perform this type of exercise, such as "Aqua Yoga: Harmonizing Exercises in Water for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond." Another excellent option is to purchase a DVD, such as "Water Yoga" starring Carol Argo.