Why I like aqua yoga so much
For my personal practice I love the comfort of aqua yoga. As a woman who deals with chronic pain, my land practice can sometimes aggravate my joint pain, increase my fatigue or just plain seem a little overwhelming. That’s despite my experience, love of yoga, and knowledge that while in the short term it’s hard, in the long term it helps. My aqua yoga practice doesn’t bring up those challenges because it doesn’t overtire me or hurt my joints as long as I don’t get cold. Considering all the adjustments and challenges one faces with chronic disease, it’s really nice to have some constants.
I’m also consistently soothed by the water. The hydrostatic pressure is calming to my nervous system. Having multiple autoimmune diseases, my body is pretty vigilant – towards myself and everything else. The pressure of the water helps tone that down a notch and gives my autonomic nervous system a break.
From an ayurvedic perspective, I’m too dry. I definitely have plenty of air element in my system. I’m sure I’ve always had Vata tendencies but now that I have arthritis and Sjogren’s, I’m really in the clouds. Being in the water helps bring me back to earth. Floating in the water hydrates and calms my system allowing me to balance out.
Why I teach aqua yoga
Much of modern yoga is geared towards fit young students. This is definitely a slice of yoga but it doesn’t represent the whole pie. Yoga philosophy is pretty clear if you can breathe and have a brain you can do yoga. Being able to stick your foot behind your head is not a requirement.
As a teacher, I strive to meet my students where they’re at. Most of my students are seniors and have no interest in being able to stand on their heads. They want to experience less pain and more comfort, less stress and more fun. Given that I also teach chair and gentle yoga in land based classes, aqua yoga might seem like fluff or just another fad. I have clients who join me for all these modalities and the general consensus is each has their place but aqua yoga offers the greatest gains in balance and is a low risk way to practice postures and techniques that are otherwise no longer available to many people. I’m gratified by watching people succeed at having fun, trying new things, taking up lots of space and connecting with their bodies.
Random tidbits you may not know
My favorite book - The Lord of the Rings
My favorite tea - Irish Breakfast
My favorite dogs - Newfoundandlands
While living on an island in the Pacific Northwest I drove a fire engine red 1955 Chevy pickup for my job as a farrier.