Water Yoga, or as we like to call it — Woga, is a form of low-impact exercise in which yoga asanas are performed while immersed in water. It has a ton of health benefits ranging from improved balance to the alleviation of chronic pain. Woga is also known to improve concentration, reduce stress and promote well-being.
What makes it unique is that it can be practised by almost anyone. Contrary to what you may expect, you don’t need to know how to swim in order to do Woga. In fact, you don’t need any prior knowledge or experience at all — now isn’t that cool? Age and health aren’t barriers either as Woga exercises impose practically no pressure on any of your joints.
Since the water creates a sense of weightlessness, your muscles are more relaxed and thus able to stretch in ways that they wouldn’t be able to on land. Your entire body and your nervous system are at ease, and this leads to an overall improvement in health. In case you’re curious, here are some intermediate-level Woga exercises that you can try out for yourself. Most of them are expected to be done while lying flat on pool noodles, and they are highly effective at strengthening the core.
Stand with your feet on the floor of the pool; bend a pool noodle and sway it from left to right at waist level. This is a great warm-up exercise that you can do before starting a full-fledged core workout.
Targeting the belly area
Lie flat on your back with your legs on a pool noodle. Gently lift one leg at a time and then lower it. This is another great exercise to prepare you to get into the navasana position; it directly targets the belly area.
Building core strength
a) Lie flat on your back in the navasana position (beginners can take use two pool noodles — one below the feet and the other below the neck). Gently draw your navel in, towards your spine, to form a “V” shape. Keeping your thighs together, draw your knees into your chest by engaging the core. Lengthen your body from the tailbone to the top of the head, drawing your shoulders down to elongate the neck.
b) Stretch out straight and then get into the “V” shape. You can do up to 20 repetitions of this exercise. This exercise helps build core strength and stability, reduces belly fat, and aids in digestion.
c) An easier variation of the navasana can be performed by bending the legs, getting them as close to the body as possible, and then them stretching out. This exercise should be repeated at least 20 times.
Conditioning the back:
Stand in the water with one leg stretched out straight ahead. Keep a pool noodle below your ankle. Move your leg up and down to work out the lower back.
Lie flat on your back and stretch your body into the salabhasana position.
The writer is a certified instructor from the Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association (WABA) and an orthodontist...