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November 27, 2012

Bathtub Yoga Therapy for Deep Relaxation. ~ Susan Atkinson

Love taking a hot bath?

For those of us who do, this accessible form of hydrotherapy is an invitation to relax, unwind & renew.

Hot water raises our body temperature which dilates our blood vessels and improves circulation. This heat also releases endorphins (a natural chemical that makes you feel good). The warmth can relieve minor aches and pains (especially if you add Epsom salts), relieve headaches, strengthen our immune system and improve sleep. Muscle tension as well as psychological stress seem to melt away as we enjoy the present moment.

Now add to this some easy yoga stretches and meditation practice and you have an awesome therapeutic combo!

Practicing yoga in your tub has two distinct benefits. First, the warm temperature nicely prepares our muscles and connective tissue to lengthen. You’ll be amazed at how limber you are!  Second, the buoyancy factor of the water makes it easier on our joints.

It’s surprising just how many poses you can do in the tub! Just as we use props in yoga class, the tub itself can be a prop to support & facilitate certain postures. The shape of the tub lends itself to some great forward bends, which calm and soothe our nervous system.

Some of my favorite poses for the tub include: seated forward bend, cowface arms, neck & shoulder stretch, seated pigeon, twisted root, garland pose, side lateral stretch, and seated twist.

Bathtub Yoga evolved out of a yoga retreat I led at a local hot springs. Twenty-eight of us in the hot springs water practicing yoga as the morning sun rose up over the mountains. We loved it! Wanting to share that experience with others led to Bathtub Yoga’s creation.

The bath is also a great place to exfoliate your skin for anti-aging benefits. You can use a brush or exfoliating gloves for this. Sweeping massage movements toward your heart will assist lymph fluid to drain, which assists in detoxification of muscle tissue. Bonus—it feels wonderful!

Have you ever just fallen into a meditative state while relaxing in the tub?

Our breath is key to a quiet and peaceful mind. As my teacher likes to say, “Calm breath equals calm mind.”

I find I am so much more aware and grateful of blessings in my life from the peace of my meditation practice.

May your bath experience be one of self-care, joy and deep relaxation.

Om shanti.

Susan Atkinson is a yoga instructor, massage therapist, skin care specialist, and creator of the Audio Guided Program, Bathtub Yoga. You can find her at www.tubyoga.com.

~

Editor: Elysha Anderson

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