Water yoga exercises
For some of you, a regular yoga practice has been compromised by old sports injuries, a surgery, or general pain in the joints and muscles. If this sounds like you, try moving your workout to the pool. Doing yoga in the water has many benefits; it reduces stress and compression to the joints and bones, it supports your weight allowing you to move deeper into a stretch, and the water works to relax the muscles in your body. When completing these water yoga exercises, stay in the shallow end near the pool’s edge for most of the poses.
During water yoga exercises, it goes without saying that modifications will be necessary. In cobra for example, stay in the shallow end of the pool and press your hands into the pools edges as though it was your mat. Then, allow your feet to come down to the floor of the pool. Press your head back, keeping your elbows in close to your shoulders and your shoulders close to your ears. Be sure that your core is engaged the whole time; this pose will be extra challenging when you are working to keep your feet from floating up.
This pose feels excellent in the water and is adapted from the Bikram pose, Dandayamana-Dhanurasana. In the shallow end of the pool, start by standing up straight. Bring one foot straight back so it’s touching the calf of the same leg and bring the same side arm to hold it. Then, simultaneously begin to bring the opposite arm up while kicking out the foot that is held. When done properly, you will look like a bow and arrow. In the water, you know you’ve stretched deeply when your back leg is kicked out of the water and your opposite arm is skimming the surface of the water.
Bring left arm out straight to meet the pool’s edge. Create a V with your legs, making sure the same leg (left) is touching the corner where the pool side meets the pool bottom. Then, with the opposite arm, bring it over your head to try and meet the pool side. This creates a deep stretch in the side rib cage and inner thighs and a deep opening to the hip region. Once you’ve held this for at least 5 breaths, switch and complete aqua triangle with the other arm.
Opposite cobra, try the backbend as a final asana in your water yoga exercises series. This time, face away from the pool’s edge and bring your arms above and behind you to touch the pool’s edge. Then, bend your knees, creating a low arc in your spine and a deep stretch into your hamstrings and biceps. Keep your core engaged to improve stability within the water.