Work Out Under Water

A great medium to transcend physical limitations, Water Yoga is gradually gaining popularity
By Mahesh Palta


The unique properties of water make it possible for the people of all ages, fitness levels and limitations to practice Water Yoga without much difficulty. Besides strengthening and toning the muscles and joints, Water Yoga deepens breath and lung capacity, eases aches and pains.
As Water Yoga is performed under water, the body bears less weight and consequently the muscles of the yoga enthusiasts remain relaxed. Moreover, it can be stretched and strengthened with less incidence of injury and so a wide variety of people have already started getting benefitted from water yoga.
Even for the people with arthritis, hip, or knee replacements, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, anxiety, depression, pre-natal, post-natal, sciatica, post-surgery, or the people with difficulties in balancing, Water Yoga is equally beneficial. Water Yoga is like a blessing for the people who are not able to practice on the mat due to physical limitations, injury, or disease.
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. Water Yoga has the same benefits as its land-based counterpart, but has the added advantage of being less stressful on the joints.
Water yoga gives super low impact work out and so it makes it possible even for the people with joint pain to improve their strength, flexibility, and range of motion during yoga. The buoyant effect of the water takes the pressure of a person’s weight off the joints, alleviating pain or discomfort people may feel when exercising. In other words, your muscles and bones do not have to support your body in water as they would on land and so you can relax in a way that is impossible on land where muscles must be in a constant state of tension or tone.

Boon for the pregnant ladies
Water Yoga is particularly beneficial for the pregnant ladies as the resistance of the water helps them to stretch and tone muscles ready for birth but without the risk of overstretching and straining. The buoyancy that the water provides them allows a moment away from the “heavy” feeling of later pregnancy. For them, these exercises can also help to alleviate some of the discomforts associated with pregnancy, such as, back ache, swollen ankles and pelvic pain.

Overall benefits of Water Yoga:
• Little to no impact on joints, especially knees, hips and ankles
• It strengthens the muscles, while keeping the spine straight and supple
• It also strengthens pelvic floor and deep core muscles
• It makes yoga accessible to everyone including those with hip and knee joint problems
• By improving the balance, confidence and awareness of the Yoga enthusiasts are improved
• Releases stress and stimulates an anxiety-free relaxed state
• Expands breathing capacity and improves sleep

Defying age
Age is nothing but a number, but how many of us believe that? When people cross the age of 60 or 70, their body starts to feel exhausted and they are more likely to give up on the activities or work that they enjoy doing the most. To add to the woes, many senior citizens suffer from various diseases like diabetes, short of breath, High BP, backaches, etc.
At the age of 70, I not only swim regularly but also perform various Water Asanas with ease. For me, Water Yoga is a new found love in my pursuit to make the most of his life.
When running a business, I did not have much time to take care of myself. When all my children settled I thought of taking out time for myself. But then I realised my body is not ready for it as the age was taking its toll on me. I had diabetes and arthritis, which in a way were restricting my lifestyle.
When I started practising swimming, I realized that the body is suppler inside water and it worked like a stress buster. With time I slowly started practising yoga. It took me nearly two years to practise yoga properly.
I first learned swimming at the age of 60 followed by few body movements under water. And now I can perform Surya Namaskar, Padmasana, Shirshasana, Shavasana, and Pawanmuktasana in water for an hour and can walk on his hands for up to 20 ft. Moreover, I am not suffering from arthritis and sugar any more.
After doing yoga consistently, I have seen tremendous changes in himself. For the past 10 years, I have been religiously practising Yoga every day for an hour.
I do not feel tired any more, and despite working for 12 hours a day I still feel energetic. I have also started enjoying my work. I feel like a young man again. For any problem that human body is facing, its solution lies in nature. It is in the water, it is in the air and it is in the plants. I do not take any medicines now. I practice yoga; it is all a part of nature.
I have started training over 25 people, including senior citizens and youngsters. Besides giving them training, I also elaborate on the benefits of Water Yoga to them. I am happy that many senior citizens have also started practising Yoga and feeling the change.
Two years back, 73-year-old Bal Mukund Bansal, a resident of sector-15A, was unable to walk due to pain in his joints. He considered getting a knee replacement done. However, he started practising yoga. Today, he walks 2-3 kms and does yoga for an hour every day, without going for a knee replacement.
Bansal says, “I can forget to eat but cannot forget to do yoga. This has given me a new lease of life. My fellow senior citizen, Palta urged him to practice yoga. He introduced me to Water Yoga and now it is a part of my life.” he adds.
I now aim to share the benefits of Water Yoga with as many people as possible. I am trying to get in touch with some RWA clubs in Noida where I can go and provide training free of cost to all the residents, who wish to reap the benefits of Water Yoga. Yoga has given me a new life, I feel like a yoga man, and I am sure it can do wonders for others as well.

(The author is a Water Yoga Guru)

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