Aqua Yoga – Clarifying Connections
By: Sandi Tindal, Founder and Head Instructor of Anchored Vessel Yoga & Dallas Aqua Yoga
The summer heat is winding down so now is the time to consider heading into the water and exploring an aqua yoga practice – water actually has so much more to offer than simply a respite from high temperatures. The environment of water can help you more fully appreciate the mind-body connection as well as enhance your sense of connectivity with others. Though an aqua yoga practice certainly does produce all sorts of physical benefits such as improved mobility and muscle tone, it can also help you see that you are more than just a body, more than just a mind and that body and mind have a relationship to each other that needs attention and nurturing. Even more, when practicing group aqua yoga postures, you have the opportunity to experience how your authentic self is very much a valued part of the whole community.
By taking your yoga practice into the water, you can cultivate groundedness and centeredness within yourself through water’s offerings of buoyancy, viscosity and hydrostatic pressure. You feel lighter and more mobile yet compelled to slow down and steady yourself. Attempting balance and stability postures in the water involves focus and honesty in locating a deep internal connection to your center. Water will very kindly let you know when you are even just a little bit off! Rest assured water will also give you the support you need. As you practice postures in its embrace, water has an amazing ability to know and reflect to you the parts of yourself that are out of balance and need to be seen. This manner of revelation is not one that is critical or harsh but rather is gentle, compassionate and genuine. Water has an interesting way of simultaneously providing a fluid framework for stability while also nudging the body around in a challenging yet caring manner. Through this kind of working environment you find yourself being able to track and observe your thoughts more clearly while gravitating towards a healthier and wholesome relationship with your whole being.
Yoga practice in the water allows you to connect to an ease within where you can enjoy extending yourself to connect with someone else. The full benefits of aqua yoga with others can be experienced in a water temperature that does not conduct heat from muscles too quickly (88-95 degrees), in a water level that allows the body to be immersed from chest down and with the inclusion of additional stability props such as the pool wall or a pool noodle. Perhaps navigating postures in this kind of supportive environment and with these tools simply opens up the willingness to reach out to another – you enter into a state of mind where you feel more readily available to offer stabilization to others. However, water somehow at the same time manages to provide just the right level of humorous unpredictability that everyone enveloped by the water finds delightful. The inclusion of both individual and community work with others in an aqua yoga practice provides an opportunity for you to explore the space of self-sustenance and also the area of being with yourself in a total and present way to help sustain others.
Yoga is about connection. The root word in Sanskrit, “yuj” conveys the idea “to join”. Yoga is a process of ongoing attempts at joining, connection and integration – taking what appears to be disconnected parts and through the mysterious process of transformation bring them to a harmonious wholeness. A well-rounded aqua yoga practice allows you to participate in this process on a personal and communal level. Within your own self you can with clarity experience body and mind in relationship with each other. You can establish stability for yourself through this understanding and also feel confident offering yourself to help ground and stabilize others. Water is truly everyone’s friend and welcomes anyone from any background managing any sort of physical condition – come just as you are and allow yourself to embark on the journey of renewal. You can experience a personal and a community practice that brings your whole self into a connection with a greater whole.
Founder and Head Instructor of Anchored Vessel Yoga and Dallas Aqua Yoga
Sandi Tindal has been teaching yoga full-time in the Dallas community since completion of her yoga teacher training with North Texas Yoga in January of 2014. She is known for her ability to perceive accurately where each person’s capabilities are and to provide creative adaptations. Her teaching approach and viewpoint are significantly influenced by her background in engineering. Sandi finds that the human body is an engineering marvel and loves to share with others techniques on how to keep the body and mind functioning at their best.