BY: NADIA ZAIDI
Yoga is one of the most powerful tools for relaxation and exercise. But did you know that you don’t necessarily need solid ground to do it?
Aquatic yoga is the practice of doing yoga underwater. It sounds intense, but it’s actually easier to hold difficult poses while floating in water because your body feels more buoyant.
Due to the lack of gravity, your body feels lighter and you are more inclined to take on poses that you would normally stay away from on solid ground. When you are submerged in water that comes up to the level of your chest, your body only carries 20 per cent of its weight. This means that you are able to do deeper stretches and maintain balance easier than you may be able to on the ground.
Yoga in combination with the benefits of water is profound. Various disease treatments combine water therapy with their medical regimen because it relieves muscle and joint pain. This means that while you are practicing yoga underwater your body will maintain a greater state of physical relaxation.
Studies show that underwater workouts help the body shed fat, tone muscles and build stamina. Since the yoga movements are fluid underwater, the body feels less tired after working out.
When we are practicing aquatic yoga, our heart preforms significantly better. Water places equal amounts of pressure throughout all the body parts, meaning that the heart receives help in effectively pumping blood and reducing strain. Additionally, water reduces blood pressure as well as heart rate. This adds to the increase in stamina when performing underwater.
Doing yoga underwater is very similar to strength training because movements are met with the resistance of water. It helps to achieve balance because in the water there is a constant changing motion that works against you, which consequently triggers your reflexive actions.
Since you don’t risk falling face first on the ground, aquatic yoga makes you go for the more risky poses.
Many people find that performing yoga in water allows them to achieve a deeper, quicker meditative state. There is a sense of tranquility attached to yoga because it helps soothe the nerves. There is stillness in the water that allows you to feel a greater sense of peace with your inner self.
It’s important that you understand the fitness levels required to perform under deep water levels. If you are a novice, you might want to begin testing the waters (ha!) in shallower levels. The whole idea of underwater yoga is to perform poses, just that, underwater. If you can’t swim, chances are you’ll have to sit this one out.
The best part about performing your favourite asanas underwater is that just about anyone, at any fitness level can do it. In fact, it’s recommended for elderly people because there is less risk of injury and strain on the body and its organs. Underwater yoga has been proven to cure arthritis and spinal cord injuries.
So the next time you decide to go for a swim, why not try the Bow Pose? Frankly, it is much more comfortable underwater because you are not fighting gravity.