Why Aqua Yoga for Arthritis?
March is Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month started by the Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.
For me, living with arthritis, and teaching yoga are integrated. I had arthritis for more than 20 years before I knew about it and had a hard time reconciling everything I’d achieved, and my relative lack of pain, with all my joint damage. I gave my life long yoga practice the credit, and now I help other people get more comfort in their joints and use the tools of yoga to manage their health.
Aqua yoga is my focus because it is kind to people’s joints and is so accessible. It’s an easy way to start a yoga practice. It allows people who’ve lost a land practice to continue, and challenges people with an active land practice to explore their bodies in new ways.
Because of my success with managing arthritis with aqua yoga, I want to reach more people with the tools of aqua yoga, and bring aqua yoga to more communities worldwide. In support of raising awareness on this topic, I submitted an article to the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute article bank. Here’s an excerpt…
Aqua Yoga for Arthritis
What is arthritis? Simply put, arthritis is joint inflammation. There are more than 100 types and it effects people of every age (1). More than 1 in 5 Americans lives with arthritis so these people are coming to your pools. The Arthritis Foundation has done a lot to raise awareness about the benefits of aquatics for people with arthritis and the latest research continues to show that as well. For example, this year Kars, et al(2) showed significant reductions in pain and stiffness, and improvements in physical function for people with osteoarthritis from an 8-week aquatics program.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any research done on aqua yoga, and there isn’t a lot of awareness about the field within the aquatics or yoga communities. Aqua yoga can be described as simply as performing yoga postures while in a pool. Most qualified aqua yoga teachers also include best practices from aquatics, and these applied aquatics principles are what differentiates aqua yoga from land yoga.This blending of aquatic principles with yoga philosophy and the full eight limbs of yoga, means that aqua yoga classes are a whole person aquatics experience. The whole person focus is what differentiates aqua yoga from other styles of aquatics whether the practitioner has arthritis or not.
The real power of aqua yoga for arthritis is not in any particular exercise but in the philosophy of yoga. Aqua yoga doesn’t necessarily have different stretches, strength exercises, or timing than other aquatic modalities. We ask people to do things with their bodies with a different attitude than in aerobics and that has some real benefits for people with arthritis.
Read the full paper I submitted to the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute on their website.
My Intro to Aqua Yoga online course is now enrolling for our April 13th start date.
Subscribers to my email list get early bird discounts and a free 20 minute private session with me.
For more information about aqua yoga for arthritis, read my companion article on Aqua Yoga for Arthritis Research
2 Aquatic Exercise Program for Individuals With Osteoarthritis: Pain, Stiffness, Physical Function, Self-Efficacy