How to do Side Leg Lifts in the Pool

Women in the pool showing how to do side left lifts with the pool steps during aqua yoga

Side leg lifts can be done in the pool without the pool steps, but here I’m using them to provide some structure and support to my posture.                     

Start in Mountain pose (feet hip distance apart and parallel). Open one leg out to the side and set it on one of the pool steps. Use the step that is the right height for your hip.  You shouldn’t feel pain or lose your alignment by bringing your leg too high. The toes on the raised leg point up toward the sky.                          

Your arms can be wherever it’s comfortable for you. In the video I’ve brought them straight out of my shoulder sockets into a T shape.                           

Gaze where it’s comfortable for your neck. In the video, I’m looking over my opposite shoulder to challenge my balance a little more.  Spend at least three breaths in the posture, up to as long as you like.                              

Lower the leg down. Spin around and repeat side leg lifts on the other side. When you raise the other leg, it does not have to be on the same step. Raise each leg only to the height that is right for each individual hip. Try to keep the raised leg hip in line with the rest of your body.  Don’t hike that raised hip. Using the pool steps helps prevent that from happening and makes this less of a balance challenge.  Side leg lifts in the pool with the steps equals more stretch, less strength.

Use an inhale to come out of the posture so you stay as focused getting out of the posture, as you were when you got into it.

Moving beyond a single posture in the pool

If you need help before trying side leg lifts in the pool, join my Intro to Aqua Yoga online course starting in July. You get four weeks of resources like aqua yoga videos, audio, workbook and printed materials with the support to move your aqua yoga practice into the pool.

picture of the physical products you receive during the intro to aqua yoga online course

If you want to watch more pool yoga videos:

January Aqua Yoga Videos

February Aqua Yoga Videos

March Aqua Yoga Videos

How to do Triangle Pose in the Pool

If you are ready to try Side Leg Lifts in the pool, but want to do it in the context of a full practice sequence, buy my wall based laminated practice sequence.

aqua yoga sequence - laminated wall based sequence shown on the pool deck

This wall sequence is a challenging 45 minute sequence with lots of movement, that emphasizes body organization, opens your hips and builds strength in your arms.  Laminated sequences are sturdy and hold up to lots of use and eliminate the risk of getting electronics wet by the pool.

woman in the pool using the pool steps to do side leg lifts during aqua yoga


I'm a yoga teacher who specializes in making yoga accessible for those with chronic health conditions in the pool and on land. My teaching style is engaging, responsive and fun.  Read my full bio HERE.

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