Yoga in the POOL!
I love nothing more than jumping in the pool in the summer! Swimming is an excellent all-year-round sport if you have access to an indoor pool as well. In addition to swimming, I love to practice my handstands in the water because they always feel SOO much easier. Balance is easier in a pool because the water has a greater resistance than the air in your body so you can stay in a position longer and have an easier time correcting it.
This is true of all yoga postures in water. As a matter of fact, the pool is a perfect place to strike a few poses. Water yoga uses the pressured yet lightweight environment of a pool to help perform poses with ease and higher focus on other aspects, such as breathing and alignment.
Why Do Aquatic Yoga?
Those who suffer from physical impairments like arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), and obesity will find water yoga especially beneficial. Practicing this type of yoga can increase endurance, strength, flexibility, and mobility all while taking pressure off weak or damaged joints. Well-practiced yoga students can use the water support to focus on proper alignment and the pressure to strengthen their diaphragm and lung capacity through deep-breathing techniques.
Try out the following 6 water yoga poses for yourself!
North Star Pose
Star pose is a perfect start to your in-water session. Star pose is said to energize the body and improve posture, and these benefits are amplified by the support of the water. Begin by standing with your feet greater than hip-width apart, stretch out your arms at each side, and inhale as you bring them up together above your head.
As you exhale, let your arms down to shoulder height and move smoothly into a warrior 2 by turning your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in about 45 degrees. Bend your right leg, keep your torso even between your hips and gaze over your right hand. By grounding your feet in this pose you can feel the water flow around you and allow yourself to be steady against the small waves.
Continue to inhale and exhale slow deep breaths as you loosen your arms. Let your upper body relax and flow like seaweed in the ocean. Keep your lower body grounded, switching between bended knees as you go, feeling the fluid nature of the spine.
Deep inhale as you shift your weight to one foot, leaning forward slightly, and letting your back leg float. Once you’re comfortable in this Half Moon Pose, slowly reach the higher arm back, taking your foot in your hand. Feel the connection of the muscles in your leg and back. Feel the water both around you and a subtle feeling of fluidity inside of you. We are made up of about 60% water!
Return to the top and repeat this sequence on the left side.
If you are up for a challenge try exhaling the air out of your nose and going underwater. Place your hands on the bottom of the pool and float your legs up into a handstand.
Finish with savasana (final rest). Feel free to use floatation aids like foam noodles to help keep you up while you relax. You want to make floating as effortless as possible so you can enjoy this ending relaxation pose.
As a final pose to seal your practice you can stand up in the water and clasp your hands together in a namaste. Give out a final moment of gratitude from your heart to the water. Thank the water for its support throughout your practice and the rest of your day.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as moving through a yoga sequence with ease. Water yoga takes this a step further by (seemingly) changing the weight of your body as it supports you. The water soothes as it helps you to move.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!