Is Water Yoga for real?
There are so many forms of yoga these days, and I don’t wanna knock anyone who’s into yoga aerobics or yoga with weights or whatever the hell half this gym stuff is. If that is the doorway for you, then walk that path my brethren. Personally, I thought yoga was a workout for skinny people for years before I went to India to investigate further.
Living in Canada, yoga was an exercise, a physical activity, something former gymnasts and dancers did on Sundays. I literally knew nothing of meditation or Sanskrit or even that there was anything internal to it. For me, the doorway was through Ashtanga, the most physically demanding (in my opinion). I got my 200 hour in Ashtanga and that was the gateway to learn about what yoga really is. Maybe your gateway is through “Yoga Fit” or “Power Vinyasa” or “Jock Yoga”. All roads lead to the same place.
Having said all this, I’m still a yoga snob – it’s part of the Ashtanga training. So when I see things like “Aero Yoga” or these new definitions, I generally turn my nose up. When I heard about super trendy, Aqua Yoga, sometimes called Water Yoga, I smelled a marketing rat – but wanted to look a little deeper anyway. Is this for real or what?
What is Water Yoga?
It’s postures in the water. Usually a pool. The instructor, like water aerobic classes, stands pool side and demonstrates postures to achieve in the water, students mimic these poses in the water, in the shallow end where they can stand comfortably. Expect lots of standing postures, using the resistance of the water to flow from one to the next, and a low impact stretch.
Who is this good for?
Old people and people with injuries. This is joint pain heaven. I would recommend this as a recovery form of yoga to anyone having gone through knee or hip replacement surgery. The buoyancy of the water will help anyone who has joint issues achieve postures that might normally hurt or allow them to go deeper into a posture in a way they cannot on land. If you are elderly or have limited mobility, this is a great physical format for you.
Water and Meditation
There is a theory that water yoga will help release emotional stress. There are definitely some benefits to being in the water. We came from the water, and most humans feel a real pull to natural bodies of water. In warm water, much like the womb, we feel safe. So lying in a pool with your eyes closed and a pool noodle under your knees and neck can assist in meditation. For anyone who is resistant to meditation or has a hard time “getting there” when they do try, water yoga is a nice stepping stone. Much easier to achieve at the end of class, floating your worries away.
It’s worth a try. Nearly impossible to hurt yourself in this yoga practice, so why not give it a whirl. This could be your gateway into a deep life-long daily practice of yoga sadhana.