Yoga is well documented for enhanced health benefits and stress relief.
Soaking in the water of a hot springs, hot tub or spa is also known to provide hydrotherapy benefits, including treatment of migraine headaches, restless leg syndrome, insomnia and muscle tension. Increasing our internal body temperature increases circulation of blood and lymph fluid for increased function and detoxification. Combining these two therapies can prove to be a healthy, fun and relaxing experience.
Hot Tub Yoga is a “natural” in the fluid, buoyant and enjoyable environment of hot water. Increased body temperature dilates blood vessels so we can stretch more easily with warmed up connective tissue and muscle fibers. The heat also encourages the release of natural endogenous opioid peptides into our system, those “feel good” endorphins. No wonder we emerge refreshed and renewed!
Mature populations appreciate Hot Tub Yoga for stiff joints and tight muscles. Athletes benefit from stretching in hot water as it aids in the removal of lactic acid build-up in the muscles for less soreness after a hard work-out.
Stretching in the hot tub can be done individually or with a partner. For many couples, their time together soaking is a great way to unwind from the worries of the day in a quiet space under the stars! The added intimacy of shared touch in assisted stretching can be beneficial to both parties.
Aromatherapy can also be incorporated into your soak.
Rub a few drops of your favorite essential oil (i.e., lavender, lemon, jasmine are popular) between your palms and immerse them into the hot water to intensify the aroma. I find myself starting to slow down and deepen my breath when I am around a scent that I enjoy.
Yoga poses you might try in your hot tub include: seated twist, seated forward bend, camel, cobra, side plank, toe balance, garland pose, boat pose, and seated pigeon. Neck, shoulders, back, core, hips, and legs can all be addressed in your session. Keep it simple and pleasurable!
Meditation may come easier to some in the relaxing environment of the hot water.
Long, slow, and deep breathing combined with muscle tension release are great precursors to “resting” in a quiet and meditative state.
Susan Atkinson is a yoga instructor and massage therapist from Colorado. She recently released a new DVD “Hot Tub Yoga Therapy & Massage—For Individuals and Partners.” More information can be found at www.tubyoga.com.
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