The buoyant feeling of floating in a body of water can bring welcome relief to those that suffer from chronic arthritis, fibromyalgia or general aches and pains. Yoga is wonderful for achy bodies, but when we ache it can be very challenging to get up and down off the floor. While chair yoga classes are available for those with limited mobility, we can also think out of the box and try a few yoga postures while cooling down in our favorite body of water.
If sitting down is comfortable for you, get cozy in any seated posture with the water at waist level. Begin with a few deep, cleansing breaths, get yourself acclimated to the temperature and greet the water pressure around you as you breathe.
If you like a challenge, you can revisit the shallow water after your warm up to fire up your core with a boat pose or plank pose. The water will help hold your body as your muscles build strength.
Stay connected to your easy, full breath and wade over to some slightly deeper water. Begin in mountain pose, again with the water at waist level. Plant your feet and feel your strong legs root down into the tranquil surface beneath you. Next, widen your legs and begin to rotate the upper torso continuously from left to right. This twisting movement will begin to warm up the muscles and will start to get the synovial fluid moving in the joints. Feel your arms glide in the water like a pendulum, keep the knees relaxed, and continue to breathe easy.
Now, swim over to even deeper water. With your body fully submerged up to your chest or shoulders, you can explore many standing and balance postures to encourage arm and leg muscles to build strength. My personal favorites are warrior one, two and three, tree pose and goddess pose. While your body will be quite supported in the deeper water, you will also notice the water pressure around your body much more. Be sure to breathe easy, and rest whenever you need to.
Always finish up your practice in savasana. This could be a leisurely float on your back, or rest on a raft for even deeper relaxation. Wishing everyone a peaceful, healthy summer!
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