This article is written by Isabel Speckman.
Yoga. You’ve probably heard that word many times. Particularly if you’re a fitness enthusiast or a yogi. But have you ever considered combining yoga’s mindfulness with the comfort of water?
Combining yoga with water is also known as aqua yoga. This outdoor exercise can be an exciting way to shake things up in your workout regimen.
As claimed by a fitness expert from Vivotion, aqua yoga is one of the popular trends that combines the benefits of yoga with something we love to do, like yoga with our dogs, mermaid yoga or trampoline yoga, just to name a few. Summer is fast approaching, and this is the perfect time to plunge yourself into the pool or any natural body of water that is safe to swim in and start your aqua yoga routine. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a novice to this kind of exercise, you might be amazed by what this outdoor exercise can do to your health and body when you start taking your aqua yoga class.
Below, we have listed the fantastic benefits of aqua yoga, plus the types of aqua yoga poses you can perform.
The Surprising Benefits of Aqua Yoga
1. It improves your balance
Imagine doing master balancing poses such as eagle pose or half moon pose without the feeling of tripping over at any moment. Sounds amazing, right? Performing balancing poses in water can actually be pleasing and not frustrating at all. In fact, it’s way more comfortable and relaxed. It can also help you build your confidence if you wish to try it on dry land next time.
2. It helps to relieve pain
Like most types of water exercise, aqua yoga is a low impact exercise and gentle to the body, making it an ideal workout for people with joint paint. That said, this will help them improve not only their strength but also their flexibility and range of motion. This water exercise is also beneficial for people with difficulty balancing, those with arthritis, during or after pregnancy, and post-surgery.
3. It focuses on alignment
Taking all the effort out of having to hold your body weight up in the water is probably one of the best things about aqua yoga. Instead, you can place your awareness on maintaining your proper form and alignment.
For instance, performing Virabhadrasana III – which requires balance and strength- can be difficult and awkward to do as you have to hold yourself up while extending your leg out. However, if you’re doing it in the water, it means that you float and you can focus more on other pose components such as hip alignment, core engagement and arms extended. This aqua yoga pose is perfect for strengthening the core of your body.
4. Discover new challenges
Aqua yoga helps you not only to make specific poses a lot easier but also presents new challenges for others. When it comes to poses such as side planks, pyramid or triangle, the gravity automatically becomes our friend.
However, when it comes to shallow water, you might experience getting the trouble of staying put in such poses like these. With that, you may be needing the use of your hands to tread the water and engage your core more so you can maintain the pose.
5. Find peace under water
If you’re looking for ways to find peace underwater, then it’s the right time for you to enroll for an aqua yoga classes. This is a brilliant way not only to calm your mind but also to meditate for a few moments until your body feels the need to come up for air. You can perform cross-legged position or even half lotus pose as you allow yourself to (safely!) sink. Don’t forget to take a deep breath before doing so!
Once you’re down there, just soak in the tranquillity of the water, embracing the quiet calmness of being fully submerged. Ah, what a life!
7 Aqua Yoga Poses You Can Perform
It’s time to go back to basics by practicing yoga and meditation at the same time in the water. Below are the seven aqua yoga poses you can add to your routine.
1. Vriksasana (Tree Pose)
You can start your aqua yoga routine with the Vriksasana along with a deep inhale. When doing this posture, you have to stand with one foot up and diagonally planted on the other. Then, bring your hands together in a prayer position above your head.
On land, this is a difficult pose to do, but if you are starting your yoga journey, try to take note of how much easier it is to balance in this pose.
2. Warrior II
What’s good about this pose is it helps strengthen your legs, ankles, the groins, chest, lungs, and shoulders. It also helps stimulate your abdominal organs and increase your stamina. Not only that, but this pose is also ideal for those with backaches as it helps to relieve it, primarily through the second trimester of pregnancy.
When doing this exercise, start by bending into your right leg and stretching your arms wide open. Then, connect to the earth by grounding through your feet. Once you’ve felt the surface beneath the water, you can plant yourself in.
3. Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)
In performing the big toe pose, you will need to use water noodles or one side of the swimming pool to lean on. Stand with a straight spine and extend one arm towards the wall or noodle. Then, bend the outer leg and raise your knee to the level of the chest before grabbing your toe and straightening the leg.
You can repeat this pose on the other leg while keeping your back straight and feeling the water supporting your balance.
4. Navasana (Boat Pose)
To perform the boat pose in the water, you will need two water noodles. First, place each of them lengthwise on your right and left side. Then, start doing the Navasana pose by grabbing each noodle with your both hands and pressing them down gently into the water. As the noodles sink slowly, engage your core muscles and allow your legs to float in front of you. You can feel the water supporting your legs but use your core to hold the position longer.
5. Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose)
If you wish to strengthen your legs and stretch out your hip flexors, groin, chest, legs, and shoulders while you’re floating in the water, the Natarajasana pose can be your best bet! When doing this exercise, breathe deeply and shift your weight to your front foot. Then stand to balance while letting the back of your leg float effortlessly in the water coming into the half moon pose.
6. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Savasana can be one of the most challenging poses of your practice, especially when you’re doing it in the water! It is considered as the total relaxation pose, though, it might be hard for you to do it alone so make sure to ask for your yoga instructor’s help. To do this, simply release the savasana pose and come to rest on the surface of the water.
7. Namaste (Prayer Pose)
Now we’re down to our last pose! To seal your aqua yoga session, give gratitude through your heart to the water.
It’s never a bad thing to incorporate a relaxing activity with yoga once in a while —or even forever. Who knows, it might be more beneficial and calming than the original version. In this case, aqua yoga promotes flexibility, relaxation, and deep breathing with buoyancy and water resistance. You will surely not regret a try!
Author Bio: Isabel Speckman is a North Carolina-based freelance writer and work-from-home mother of three. In her 10 years as a professional writer, she’s worked in proposal management, grant writing, and content creation. Her writing skills may be confirmed independently. Personally, she’s passionate about teaching her family how to stay safe, secure and action-ready in the event of a disaster or emergency.
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