Known for its ability to relax and calm you all while helping you achieve a stronger and more limber body, yoga may seem like it’s already the perfect form of gentle exercise.
Add a hot tub into the mix, though, and you get a combination of heat, support and physical activity that’s even more beneficial than either yoga or a hot tub on its own.
If you’re new to hot tub yoga, use this guide as your starting point. Inside, we’ll show you:
● What yoga is and why it’s good for you.
● Why yoga and hot tubs make sense together.
● The best hot tub yoga poses for beginners.
Let’s take a nice, deep breath and get started.
What is Yoga and Why Is It so Great?
Although there is no recorded data of the first yoga practice, it’s believed that yoga originated more than 5,000 years ago in ancient India, well before the birth of Buddha and when Hinduism was still a relatively new religion.
Yoga evolved over many thousands of years and became closely tied to a variety of Asian religions and cultures. It began to gain awareness in the Western world during the Victorian era, and a today is a popular form of exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
According to a 2011 article published by the American College of Sports Medicine titled “Copy-and-Share: Yoga,” yoga involves:
● Accomplishing certain body positions.
● Controlling breathing.
As stated in a 2015 article from the Harvard Medical School, “Yoga — Benefits Beyond the Mat,” yoga has several benefits backed by science, including:
● Better muscular strength and endurance.
● Increased flexibility.
● Lowered blood pressure.
● Better cardiovascular health.
● Weight loss.
● Reduced anxiety.
● Improved body image.
● More mindful eating.
Why Yoga and Hot Tubs Are a Match Made in Heaven
It’s clear that yoga has an impressive array of both physical and psychological benefits. But what if you could enhance those benefits even more?
That’s what happens when you combine yoga with a hot tub. After all, hot tubs have an equally remarkable set of benefits, including:
● Reduced stress.
● Muscle and joint pain relief.
● Better joint mobility.
● Improved sleep.
Together, hot tubs and yoga can provide you with powerful relaxing and stress-reducing benefits, as well as support and low-impact exercise for every part of your body.
People with injuries, soreness or musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis may find hot tub yoga to be particularly beneficial.
This is because doing yoga in a hot tub allows you to reap all the benefits of yoga while improving mobility with the hot tub’s heat and relieving pressure on joints and muscles thanks to the water’s buoyancy.
The Best Hot Tub Yoga Poses for Beginners
If you’re interested in the wealth of benefits that come with hot tub yoga but aren’t sure where to start, read on. These are a few of the best hot tub yoga poses for beginners.
Image source: StyleCraze.com, “6 Yoga Breathing Techniques for Weight Loss”
To begin your hot tub yoga session, first calm your mind and body by simply sitting in your favorite hot tub seat and taking a series of deep breaths.
Remember to lengthen your back muscles, drop your shoulders, fill your lungs completely with each breath and notice the sensation of the water on your body. The above image from StyleCraze shows a good example of proper breathing posture.
Seated Spinal Twist
Image source: PureWow.com, “De-Stress Instantly with This Easy Chair Yoga Flow,” photos by Kristin McGee
To release tension in your back, core, and shoulders, perform the seated spinal twist. Start in a seated position, then gently grip your right knee with your left hand.
Push your hand against your knee, twisting your shoulders and head to the right while leaving your hips in their original position. See the above image from PureWow for reference.
Remember to keep your head aligned over your lower spine — think of your spine as a rotating barber pole that can move on a vertical axis but not a horizontal one.
Return to center and repeat on the opposite side by gripping your left knee with your right hand and twisting to the left.
Cow Face Pose
Image source: Athletico.com, “Stretch of the Week: Cow Face Arms”
This pose may have a silly-sounding name, but it’s fantastic for opening the chest and stretching the shoulders and arms.
Reach your right arm to the sky, then bend it so your fingertips are pointing down your spine and your elbow is pointing straight up above your head.
Then, grip your right elbow with your left hand and gently pull it down and to the left to deepen the stretch. Hold for several breaths before releasing your elbow and stretching your right arm to the sky once more.
To perform a more advanced version, skip grabbing your elbow with your left hand and instead stretch your left arm down behind your back before bending your arm so your hand is pointing up along your spine. Interlace the fingers of both hands and hold for several seconds. The above image from Athletico Physical Therapy shows beginner, intermediate and advanced versions of this pose.
Repeat this pose on the other side by reaching your left arm up to the sky instead of your right.
Image source: YogaJournal.com, “Strong to Your Core: Full Boat Pose,” photos by Rory Earnshaw
Performing boat pose in your hot tub is a fantastic way to strengthen your legs, core, and back, all while stretching your hamstrings.
Start sitting on the edge of your hot tub’s seat, with your spine lengthened and your chin up. Slowly lift both legs so they’re parallel to the ground, then lift them further while keeping your back straight so that your body assumes a V-shaped position.
You may bend your knees if your hamstrings aren’t yet flexible enough to achieve a full V-shape.
You should be resting your weight comfortably on your tailbone and sitting bones, with your hands placed on either side of you. Once you feel confident in the pose, lift your arms up straight in front of you so your hands are reaching toward your knees. See the above photo from Yoga Journal for reference.
Whether you keep your arms by your side or extend them in front of you, hold this pose for several breaths before lowering your legs and arms and sitting up straight once more.
These poses are just the beginning: There are hundreds of poses from basic to advanced, many of which can be modified to be performed in a hot tub.
Although you may start slowly, regular practice of hot tub yoga will effectively strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, improve balance and calm your mind.