What do frogs, camels and seaweed have in common?
Discover the amazing benefits of Aqua Yoga on Gozo and learn these five essential introductory postures.
Have you always believed that you are not flexible enough for yoga? Then taking this practice into the water may be your new favourite thing. Having worked mainly for health and yoga retreats for the last 6 years, teaching a traditional Hatha and restorative style, I was reluctant to step outside my comfort zone and try something different… but, what had I been worried about? I discovered I could move more freely, bend deeper, lift higher and my body felt lighter. To be honest, I am not comfortable in deep water, but with aqua, you only go two-thirds of your body in the pool and you can float using noodles (long float tubes) if you need to.
This was so different from land practice, the water holds the body making it feel lighter and easier to move. You can also use the water for resistance and it’s great fun exploring this new way. I also noticed that my normal ‘land’ practice started to improve as the muscles were being released and stretched in the water, providing more stamina, strength, and balance. The two are a wonderful complement.
Aqua Yoga would benefit those who may be reluctant to try a land practice due to inflexibility, joint pain, or injury. This is a more restorative style, by being in the water there’s less pressure on joints making it easier to move.
If you are worried about losing the spiritual aspect of yoga practicing this way, then you can still start with some gentle pranayama (breath work) and end with Savasana.
benefits of aqua yoga
- Increases range of motion in your joints
- Exercise without overheating
- Increases breath/lung capacity
- Reduces pain
- Enhances your memory
- Builds strength
- Reduces stress
- Improves your balance
- Increases your self-confidence
- Improves your resilience
- Improves mood
- Improves posture
- Improves your ability to stay grounded
The main benefit of Aqua Yoga though – is to have some fun! Explore all the possibilities by being playful and feel the difference of your body in the water compared to being on land. You are also less likely to get an injury and if you do fall – fret not! The water catches you. There are no handstands or headstands, which sometimes intimidate people within a normal yoga class., most movements and postures can be done by anyone so it’s a great all-around introduction to a wonderful, ageless, and lifetime practice.
popular aqua poses and movements
seaweed (warm up)
A great way to start your practice is to gently sway your arms and body into the water as if you were a big piece of seaweed. Keeping your feet in contact with the pool floor, but bending the knees as much as you can. Using the whole of the surface of the water. If you want to make it more challenging keep your hands just underneath the surface. This is a great warm-up and provides resistance movement.
If you have always struggled with this pose on land then I encourage you to try it out in the water. Kneel on the floor of the pool in the shallow end, to start with slowly arch your back keeping your chin forwards. Reach behind with your hands to touch both heels and slowly raise your head up to look at the sky. Good for the core and leg strengthening.
cat / cow (STANDING vARIATION) TO THE SUN
This is a releasing pose, where you expand fully by opening your arms and chest as you stand as tall as possible looking up to the sun. Then folding inwards and slightly bending your legs and rounding your back at the same time. Good for stretching the lower back and opening shoulders.
Stand with your heels together and feet sticking out. Place both hands under the water and as you jump (knees sticking out) you push your hands down in the water and bring your knees up, jumping like a frog! Great for core strength, balance, and hip opening.
SAVASANa (WITH FLOATING NOODLES)
No class should end without Savasana, not even one in the water. Take one noodle underneath your knees and one behind your shoulders or neck (whichever feels most comfortable) and allow your body to float in the water. Gently close your eyes and go wherever the water takes you. Surrender to this time you have given to yourself to… RELAX.
Author: Jane Nayar | Editor: GITH
Jane lives and works on Gozo, she offers one-to-one Aqua Yoga sessions or Hatha Yoga lessons on land, as well as Nutrition consultations, VEGA Testing, and the Health and Happiness Retreats.
For more information visit: Happy on Health Website or Tel: +356 99307748
Do you work in the Gozo wellness industry and have a blog you’d love to share? Then say hello at teamGITH@gmail.com.