Yes, it’s true. Another year has quickly slipped away, and more than likely you didn’t do anything on your 2012 resolution list. Especially when it comes to health and exercise. Well, don’t despair. There are so many new and inventive ways to get healthy in 2013 that it almost makes your head spin (alas, spinning your head is not an officially sanctioned workout… not yet, at least).
One of those inventive workouts involves yoga… and water. Actually, it involves yoga in water. It’s called H2yOga, and it’s happening right down the street at the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy, at 5870 W. Olympic Blvd. at the Westside Jewish Community Center. For those of you who are yoga experts, you will recognize all of the terms… upward facing dog, vinyasa, etc.
The difference between land yoga and water yoga is that in the swimming pool, suddenly you’re dealing with the water’s resistance. You’re also dealing with finding your “center” while trying to stay balanced between two water noodles and multiple floaties strapped to your ankles and wrists. It’s tricky, requires focus and concentration, and gives your body and muscles a knockout workout.
Created by instructor Sue Gisser, this up-and-coming yoga method is for more than just yoga die-hards. “Working out in the water provides huge benefits for the body; you are 80 percent lighter than on land and being supported by water on all sides, which makes it more gentle on the joints,” says Gisser. “It’s a terrific workout for people with hip replacements, knee issues, multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia or for anyone who just wants to try something more gentle.”
Gisser has been active in yoga her entire life. Her mother is a nutritionist who helped her to become aware of her body and her health. “Yoga rocks!” laughs Gisser. “It’s something you can do every single day, and it’s very personal… when you’re doing yoga, you’re on your own little journey.”
For beginning water yoga enthusiasts, Gisser has developed the Flows Afloat class, which teaches basic terminology and standard yoga poses. The next step up is the Detox Aloft class, which involves an hour of twisting and turning that will help expunge all of the bad toxins from your body. The Buoyant Bottoms class focuses on every beach bum’s least-favorite body part, while the Power H2yOga class zeros in on the principles of one breath, one movement. This calorie-burning class includes power vinyasa sequences and core abdominal work.
Finally, there’s the evening Rockabye class that helps bring your day to a centered close. Starting with abdominal work and an intense workout that emphasizes strength training, the class then transitions into a gentle finish with stretches and poses to ease you into your evening and a peaceful sleep.
Lenny K’s heated saline pool helps to warm up the muscles so they can stretch more easily. “You’re instantly more flexible,” says Gisser. “The workout feels effortless.”
It may feel effortless, but in reality you are getting a hard workout without even knowing it. “If you weren’t in the water,” laughs Gisser, “you’d be sweating!”
Classes start at $15 per session, but are discounted for multiple classes.
“In yoga we create a safe space,” says Gisser. “It’s about exploring where you are at the moment, letting go of what is no longer serving you and allowing something new to come in.”
For more information, contact myh2y0ga.com.
By guest writer Sondi Sepenuk