During these hot summer days, it’s tempting to sit by the pool all day and relax. But you might feel a little unproductive. The good news is that there’s something that allows you to spend all day at the pool, still get exercise and feel great about yourself and your day. It’s aquatic yoga!
Yoga in the water is a really cool variation on regular yoga practices. It’s a little different from practicing on land, but it offers some great benefits. So, put on your bathing suit and get ready to relax and rejuvenate with yoga in the pool.
Benefits of Underwater Yoga
Everybody loves being in the water. Swimming and floating in the pool or in the ocean is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. When you combine that great feeling with a yoga practice, the results are magical.
Doing yoga in the water is a different experience because your body will feel more buoyant and it will become easier to hold positions and stay balanced. Without the weight of gravity, you can focus all of your energy on strengthening and stretching your body. If you have trouble with specific poses, taking them into the water might help you nail them. Practicing certain poses in the water first can help you easily transition the poses to your land practice. Plus, by doing the poses in the water you can practice them in a cool and comfortable environment which is a summer time win.
When submerged at least chest-deep in water, your body only bears 20 percent of its weight. So that fabulous feeling of being nearly weightless in the water is because, well, you practically are. What this means for your yoga practice is that you can stretch deeper and easily balance where you may not have been able to on land.
Water itself also has many benefits that add to the benefits received during an aquatic yoga practice. For example, spending time in the water is known to help joint and bone pain by taking away the stress on the muscles. Because of this, it is often used in physical therapy to help with arthritis pain or also regular recovery from injuries.
Underwater yoga can be a really enjoyable and beneficial experience for all types of yogis, however certain groups might find more benefits than others. For example, elderly people can have a much easier time with aquatic yoga than they would with yoga on land. Since they wouldn’t be putting such a strain on their bones and muscles, aquatic yoga is the perfect low-impact exercise for them.
Another great benefit of underwater yoga is that you don’t need as many props as you do for land yoga. You obviously don’t need a mat, for starters! You also won’t be using the regular props, like bolsters and blocks. Instead, you’ll mainly be using pool noodles which you might already own or can easily pick up at your nearest dollar store!
Whoever you are, underwater yoga perfectly blends the benefits of water with the benefits of yoga and makes this a worthwhile and fun exercise.
Be Inspired by Adam Opris
If it sounds interesting, but you’re not feeling inspired yet, maybe Adam Opris can help.
Adam Opris is a talented photographer who specializes in underwater photography. He has shot photos of yoga teacher Kino doing yoga while submerged.
Poses to Try
With so many great benefits, why not try some underwater yoga?! If you’re ready to hop off the mat and into the pool, here are a few poses to help you get started.
Big Toe Pose – Begin standing straight with your right arm extended holding a pool noodle. Bend your left leg and bring your knee towards your chest. With your left arm, grab your big toe and begin to straighten your left leg forward as much as you can, while standing straight up. Begin to move the leg to the left side, keeping your alignment. The water should help you balance so that you can let go of the noodle. Repeat this on the other side. Be conscious of the water around you and notice how it helps you stay balanced and make this pose a little bit easier.
Boat Pose – For this pose, you’ll use two pool noodles. Place them on your left and ride side lengthwise so you can reach them with both hands. Grab onto each noodle and press them down so they are submerged in the water. Keep your legs floating in front of you by engaging your core. Hold this pose for a few breaths. Notice how the water is supporting your legs while still allowing you to work your core to hold the position.
Handstand – Who didn’t do handstands in the pool as a kid? Everyone did and little did we know, we were actually doing yoga already! Practicing your handstand in the pool can make it much easier to conquer once you’re back on land. All you have to do is dive to the bottom of the pool and let your feet go straight into the air. Starting in deeper water will help you balance easier, then you can work your way up to the shallow end. Try it in the deepest water you can find and do it completely underwater for a fully submerged pose.
As you can see, underwater yoga is really fun and beneficial for everybody. Allow yourself to gracefully move through the water and practice yoga in an environment that will allow you to use your body in the best way possible.