Yoga has been on trend for ages … long before Madonna showed us her fabulous arms and inspired us once again to “strike a pose.” Lately, Yogis and Yoga studios have been spicing up the appeal of this ancient practice by mixing in exciting new features like aerial silks, partnered acrobatics and even pizza yoga (balancing and eating pizzas while practicing yoga). But the latest obsession for your sun salutation is Aqua Yoga, the art of practicing yoga in the water, either on a floating board or right in the pool, and it’s catching on fast! Here’s a guide to get you swimming till Savasana.
Wear a bathing suit: You’re gonna get wet
Even if your class is taught on floating boards, chances are extremely high that you WILL fall in. Getting drenched is half the fun! Besides, soaking your bod is an ancient way to heal and restore. Once you’ve surrendered to the water, you’ll have no choice but to go with the flow. “Doctors have long advocated being close to, or in water for healing, mentally, physically and emotionally,” says Camella Nair, certified yoga therapist and pioneer of Aqua Kriya Yoga. “It makes sense on so many levels to be practicing yoga in the water.”
Balancing in the water is harder
Yoga in the water is one of the best things you can do right now to improve your balance. “Balance and gait diminish with age,” Nair observes. The viscosity of water forces us to slow down, and the ripples and currents inside the pool cause us to constantly and reflexively rebalance ourselves. “That is a good thing for our sense of equilibrium,” says Nair. “It’s all about becoming more aware and balanced!”
You’ll be less prone to injury
Being in the water takes a lot of body weight off of your joints, allowing your muscles to work without wearing down those knees, shoulders and wrists. “The drag of the water becomes a variable weight machine,” Nair explains. “No more lifting heavy weights and possible injury. Many premier athletes cross-train and rehab in the water.” Let’s also remember that you can’t fall down and hurt yourself inside the pool. Good for your body and your dignity!
Anyone can do this. Really!
In the water, without as many of the limitations of gravity and with that fabulous feeling of lightness, movement becomes so much easier and pain-free. “I have students who live in wheelchairs on land who can walk and practice yoga in the water,” says Nair. “On land, we can feel the weight of life. In the water, we float!”
Prepare to be amazed
Yoga poses you never thought you could achieve on land become possible underwater! Yogis tell us that if we can hold a pose for long enough while breathing deeply, our troubles will temporarily disappear. Being underwater makes this possible. “Most of us, especially woman, are too busy with life and need to slow down,” Nair reflects. Practicing yoga in the water is a great way to force yourself to slow your roll and find some inner peace … for at least an hour!
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