Millions of people practice yoga to improve flexibility, health, breathing, and ease stress. However, conventional yoga can be very difficult for people struggling with conditions like arthritis, obesity, and MS. Fortunately, there is a solution: water yoga. Due to buoyancy, many people have found that exercising in water allows them to move in ways that would otherwise be impossible on dry land.
Aquatic yoga helps to improve:
- Range of motion
- Muscle stiffness
Before starting your water yoga routine, it is important to have the proper gear.
What you will need:
- Water shoes with traction soles
- Comfortable fitness swimwear
- 1 or more partners
Warm up by walking around in the water. Slowly bending and stretching helps to loosen muscles and prepares them for exercise. Next, start with your breathing exercises. Bend your knees until the water it up to the bottom of your chin, and take 30 deeps breaths in and out. The water pressure, even just a few feet down, helps to strengthen your diaphragmatic breathing muscles.
4 Easy Moves
Move 1: H2O + Cobra
Standing about 2 feet from the pool edge, place your hands and forearms flat against the wall. Slowly arch your back upward as pictured, stretching your abs. Next, rise onto your toes and hold for a few breaths.
Move 2: H2O + Stork
Stand and lift your right leg with your knee bent until your thigh is parallel to the pool bottom, keeping your toes pointed. Press your left heel into the floor. Grab your right big toe with your hand, and then straighten your right leg out in front of you. Push your foot against your fingers to deepen the stretch, holding for a few breaths. Switch legs and repeat.
Move 3: H2O + Triangle
Standing arm’s length from the pool wall, extend your right arm upward as pictured, and touch your right fingers to the wall. Spread your legs 3 feet apart and bring your left arm up, bending your right. Try to reach your left hand over to touch the wall and push your left foot down. Hold for three breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
Move 4: H2O + Backbend
Stand about 2-3 feet away from the edge, with your back facing the pool wall. Then, arching backward, look up and reach your hands behind your shoulders to grab the wall. Breathe, holding the stretch. Then move your feet back slightly and hold the position for a few breaths. Relax into the stretch.
Water yoga should be practiced in water that is around 82˚˗86˚ and for only about 45 minutes. As with any water activity, always have a partner with you, and keep an eye on each other. Slowly build-up your endurance to exercise, never over-exert yourself.
How do you use water for your fitness routine? Share your tips below!