Pioneered by Birthlight, Aqua Yoga is the most comprehensive set of adaptations of classic yoga practices in water. Aqua Yoga offers the benefits of stretch, relaxation and deep breathing with buoyancy and water resistance. It is accessible to all irrespective of age, fitness, previous experience of yoga and swimming competence. Initially developed as aqua-natal yoga, birthlight’s Aqua Yoga makes full use of the properties of water for fitness, wellbeing and therapeutic applications.
Water is a great medium to exercise due to low impact and possibilities of creating various levels of resistance to suit individuals’ abilities and needs. It offers the potential for safely extending stretches in ways that are not possible for many people on land.
The properties of water are fully used when bodies are immersed up to the shoulders and neck: immersion is a foundation of birthlight aqua yoga and singles it out from other forms of exercise in water.
While pool floor and pool wall are partially used for resistance, even tentative swimmers are encouraged to find their body balance in water with the use of floating aids in order to gain greater freedom of movement.
Birthlight has developed progressive Aqua Yoga sequences to suit both tentative beginners and strong swimmers. Rather than transposing standing yoga in shallow pools, classic poses are adapted into fluid floating stretches with rotations allowing 3 D movements. All Aqua Yoga stretches are done with the flow of the breath: breathing more fully in water stimulates all the body systems with minimal strain.
It is not necessary to immerse face and head to practice Aqua Yoga but those who are happy to have their faces in water can access a further range of practices.
Yoga-based adapted elements of all the strokes are accessible to tentative swimmers and help confident swimmers to enjoy their strokes more fully.
Relaxation is a main practice and outcome in yoga. Water, provided that it is warm enough, expands the benefits of yoga relaxation with all the documented health benefits that it brings. Birthlight has developed a variety of Aqua Yoga floating relaxations using buoyancy aids, individually, in pairs or in groups.
In the same way as Birthlight circles on land, Aqua Yoga group practices in a circle create synergetic effects for those taking part.
Françoise Freedman the founder of Birthlight has developed Aqua Yoga out of her twin passion for yoga and swimming. Her experience of the therapeutic benefits of Aqua Yoga has led her to develop further practices in Aqua Yoga Therapy.
Article on Aqua Yoga written by Françoise Freedman
Family Aqua Yoga