I got together with a group of friends to do an Aqua Kriya Yoga class with Karen Shopoff Rooff, owner and founder of Balance Personal Fitness Training. While this wasn’t the most brutal summer we’ve had in Austin, I’m always open to some pool time and couldn’t pass up a chance to try underwater yoga with friends.
In my head, I was picturing old lady water aerobics, but less aerobic-y. I was pleasantly surprised to find that parts of the class were more challenging thanks to the flow of water gently pushing our bodies around. Where you’d normally be able to find grounding with the help of gravity and drishti, any ripple or wave in the water requires more work to stay in the pose.
We played with a few different spine lengthening postures, like standing downward dog (or as Karen calls it, Crocodile) and a supported Warrior 3, using the edge of the pool.
After some good gentle stretching all around, we got a little crazy and tucked ourselves into happy baby, holding on to the pool’s edge with feet pressed against the wall. Not the most attractive posture by any means since it reminded me of labor and delivery! However, it’s a great hip opener, especially when done with one leg at a time, using the resistance of the wall.
One really nice stretch we had was a forward fold. Picture feet against the wall, hands holding against the pool deck, spine lengthening backwards. Even more awesome when Karen walked around and gave us an assist by pulling our arms from above the pool, in opposition of our legs.
This dancer pose was the magic of a quick shutter on my camera before I fell out of it and needed the stability of the edge. Surprisingly, I found my right leg to be much more stable than the left.
Finally, we closed the class with a group floating savasana. We were all reaching to balance our feet on that center noodle, which led to some footsie time, but it was a nice way to end the class and feel completely weightless.
The whole experience was really relaxing. We had a few pregnant ladies in the group, and I can imagine that the buoyancy of the water felt good to take all the pressure off their bones and joints. This style of yoga also reminded me of a yoga wall class I took. Any time some of your body weight is helped by something else – be it a strap or water – you think it’s going to be super easy and then realize that it creates new challenges for the body.
Balance Personal Fitness Training
Aqua Kriya Yoga