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Water yoga exercises – Yoga in water


H2Yoga© – also known as Water Yoga or Aqua Yoga – adapts the poses, breathing practices, rhythms, and meditative principles of Hatha Yoga to the water, providing a fun and effective way to improve flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance.  

// Read about H2Yoga in the Roaring Fork Lifestyle magazine (January 2015)

Teaching schedule and upcoming workshop
    • Water class: 9:00-10:00am, Mondays, September-May (summer schedule, June-August, 8:00-9:00am); these classes are open and FREE to all who come to the Hot Springs Pool in Glenwood Springs, CO.
    • Mat class: 11:45am-1:15pm, Tuesdays at the Hot Springs Athletic Club
    • Therapeutic Yoga (All Levels, mat classes): 10:00-11:30 am, Tuesdays and 10:00-11:30am, Thursdays at the Hot Springs Athletic Club. These classes are not only supportive, but allow for a slowing down and introducing the subtle body.
      • Therapeutic Yoga, First Fridays: 12:00-1:30pm, Hot Springs Athletic Club
    • Private sessions: 75 minutes, to be arranged; contact instructor Annig Raley
Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool
Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool

Yoga means union: the coming together of the mind, breath, and body.  It is a discipline that can be applied to every activity we do and allows our minds to be engaged in the present moment. Yoga has been practiced since ancient times and, in addition to strengthening and elongating our musculature, it is also considered to be an alternative measure to relieve stress and pain. Yoga can even encourage weight loss and help to release addictions. Yoga also has cognitive benefits: it can quiet the mind, focus the attention, and increase one’s ability to concentrate.

h2_2 h2_05 h2_08 How can the practice of yoga accomplish so much? Yoga combines physical posture, mindful breathing, and the conscious relaxation; the mind attends to the body and to the function of the muscles in relation to the body’s movement.

When we breathe and mindfully extend the liberation of the inner breath, and fill our body with air, the body rises and is supported by water to lift up out of the water. When we release the breath and the air leaves the body, the body becomes heavy and descends.IMG_0197 The water receives the weight of the body. With mindfulness one can use the breath to support the pose and deepen it at the same time. With this understanding of resistance and non-resistance, we can feel our breath become compatible in our asanas (poses). A sense of balance is nurtured in the water and perhaps, this may nurture our lives.

The buoyancy provided by the water allows practitioners of all ages and body types to enjoy the benefits of a focused and rigorous practice.  Because body weight is reduced to approximately 10% of actual land weight when submerged to neck-depth, the mind must also be trained to stay focused and to remain aware of “where” the sustained movement is, so as to create the “weight’ in that particular area of the body and stretch the area of the body into the intended posture.

WIMG_0174ater and air have the “same” properties. The rising-falling, floating-sinking, ebb-flow, coolness-warmth, receptivity-offering concepts apply to both of these elements. Because they are so similar, they actually “repel” each other when mixing them. When we breathe and mindfully extend the liberation of the inner breath, and fill our body with air, the body rises and is supported to lift up out of the water. When we release the breath and the air leaves the body, the body becomes heavy and descends. The water receives the weight of the body. With mindfulness one can use the breath to support the pose and deepen it at the same time. With this understanding of resistance and non-resistance, we can feel our breath become compatible in our asanas (poses).  A sense of balance is nurtured in the water and, perhaps, this may nurture our lives.  The buoyancy provided by the water allows practitioners of all ages and body types to enjoy the benefits of a focused and rigorous practice.  Because body weight is reduced to approximately 10% of actual land weight when submerged to neck-depth, the mind must also be trained to stay focused and to remain aware of “where” the sustained movement is, so as to create the “weight’ in that particular area of the body and stretch the area of the body into the intended posture.

The 88 degree temperature of Glenwood’s Hot Springs Pool makes the water an especially effective medium for stretching muscles.  Once in a pose, the warmth of the water is  ideal for maximizing the stretch.  The mind becomes focused on where  the connection (shtiram) is with the body  and where the  lightness (sukham) is.  The wall of the pool becomes the floor for many standing and seated poses, such as Sun Salutation and Seated Twists. Depending on the depth of the water, there are a multitude of standing poses which can be done.   Vrksasana, Garudasana, Warrior 1, 11, 111. and Variations of Trikonasana are examples of the standing poses.

Mindfulness is a by-product of each and every pose, since one needs to be aware of the body’s steadfastness and its’ lightness moment by moment. Once in a pose, feeling the sustained movement and the sense of freedom, reminds us of the connection the mind-body inherently has. The sounds of the breath and its effects, remind us that the element of water has movements and sounds  which are similar in properties to the breath. There is always an ebb and flow with the breath, the water and the body-mind.  It is ideal for those who love the water, who are curious to the wonders of water and those who are limited on land.

 

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Supported Backbend Urdvha Danurasana