Your life might be busy and full, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Two wellness practices that can soften the edges around hard days and bridge the gaps in your mind-body presence are hydrotherapy and yoga.
Hydrotherapy alone introduces immense benefits, including management of fatigue and relief from chronic and acute musculoskeletal ailments, while supporting a healthy, active lifestyle. Yoga as a physical practice leads to greater flexibility, strength, and balance. Combined, they help relieve stress and tension and rejuvenate the body while centering the mind on awareness in the present moment.
Pairing hot tub therapy with yoga exercises engages all your senses and opens the door to an empowered daily practice that’s both gentle and accessible for three main reasons:
- The water helps support some of your weight, so the practice is low impact.
- The warm water makes your body more supple and able to achieve deeper stretches.
- The hot tub environment encourages more complete relaxation of the mind.
If you’ve found yoga to be inaccessible in the past, your hot tub may be the key to overcoming your personal yoga barriers. If you already incorporate yoga in your life, your hot tub can help you to take your practice to new levels.
Who Can Benefit from Hot Tub Yoga?
Because hot tub yoga is such an adaptable form of both movement and meditation, nearly anyone can take part and enjoy a greater mind-body connection. When you immerse yourself in the warm water and set the intention of moving, breathing, and relaxing in its flow, disparate parts of yourself find synchronicity. Hot tub yoga can be especially beneficial for the following:
- Athletes and very active adults who want to balance more strenuous fitness activities with simpler ones. A 20-minute hot tub soak before exercise can warm muscles, joints, and ligaments and reduce the risk of injury. A hot tub soak after exercise can help to relax a tired body and relieve soreness and tension.
- Older adults who experience stiffness and other limitations to physical activity. Warm, jet-massaging water softens and supports the body during stretching and strengthening exercises. Many yoga poses are done with the body submerged, so the risk of falling is reduced. Some poses can even help improve balance by strengthening muscles.
- People seeking stress management. From stay-at-home moms and dads to paramedics and heads of state, all sorts of people face stress on a daily basis. But relief can be found by practicing hot tub yoga each morning. Approaching the day from a centered and empowered place can help reduce the anxiety a hectic day promises.
Hot tub yoga can support your daily commitment to wellness while enhancing your physical and mental suppleness and strength.
How to Get Started with Hot Tub Yoga Stretching Exercises
Approach your hot tub yoga practice with gentle movements and awareness, avoiding any positions of pain or discomfort. You might even want to practice the following poses in still water first. Then, when you feel comfortable, add the challenge and stimulation of the hot tub jets.
Merge with the Water
Sit comfortably in your hot tub, with your feet on the floor and with plenty of space in which to move your upper body freely. Close your eyes and feel the water move around you. Slowly wiggle your spine, pushing against the water in every direction. Let your movements start small and then widen as you flow with the water and loosen up your body. Next, bring those natural, flowing movements all the way up into your arms and your neck. After a few minutes, come to stillness again in the water.
Flowing Spinal Twist
Take a few long, slow breaths and sit up tall and straight. Stretch both arms out in front of you, then cross your right arm over your left. Bend both arms and reach your hands to touch opposite shoulders, as if you’re giving yourself a hug. Let your shoulders relax, even as your spine stretches long. Keep hugging yourself as you gently twist from side to side. Look over your left shoulder as you twist to the left, and over your right shoulder as you twist to the right. After a few repetitions, come back to the center. Gently bring your arms to your sides, letting them flow through the water, and relax.
When you’re ready, repeat the exercise, but this time cross your left arm over your right, hugging yourself in the same way as before. Sit up tall and twist from side to side again. Then settle in the center, slowly unwind, and let the water relax you.
Buoyant Staff Pose
Return to an awareness of your breath; your inhales and exhales should be smooth and even. Position yourself in the hot tub so that you’re sitting comfortably at a 90-degree angle, with your back straight, your legs outstretched, and your heels on a seat. If you’re able, stretch your back up even taller, lengthening the muscles that connect throughout your entire back body.
Keeping your back fairly straight, fold at your hips, bringing your heart closer to your knees. Rest your hands on your legs and bend your knees a bit if the stretch is too intense in your legs. Now, breathe smoothly, let the warm water soothe your challenged muscles, and hold the pose for five to 10 long breaths (or longer) to let the stretch deepen. When done, slowly walk your hands up your legs, unfold your back, and bring your feet back down to the hot tub floor.
Sitting tall with your feet on the floor, stretch both arms out in front of you with palms pressed together, just under the water. Drop your chin slightly to gently stretch the back of your neck. Then press the back of each hand against the water as you open your arms, stretching wide. Let your chest expand and tip your chin up and forward slightly to stretch the front of your neck for a least a few full breaths.
As you continue this sequence, exhale as you tilt your head down and bring your arms together, and inhale as you sweep your arms out again, head tipped up.
Grounded, Cross-Legged Twist
From a relaxed, seated position, take a few natural breaths. Cross your right leg over your left, keeping your left foot on the floor of the hot tub. Set your right hand on the seat behind you and reach your left hand over your right thigh. Reach up through the top of your head to lengthen your spine and twist slowly to the right, looking over your right shoulder, if comfortable. Hold for three relaxed breaths, then face forward and uncross your right leg.
Set up in the same way, but this time cross your left leg over your right, and repeat the rest of the sequence.
Taking your time practicing hot tub yoga exercises will allow you to be more mindful of the experience. Some of these exercises may stretch you beyond your comfort zone, but allow the warm spa water to support the process of expansion. You’ll see the best results with daily practice, especially if you merge hot tub yoga with your regular wellness and exercise routine. Soon, as you begin to feel more flexible, energetic, and at peace, you’ll discover how an immersive spa experience each day can open new possibilities in your life.
Are you interested in the many other mind-body benefits of hot tub therapy? Check out more ideas and tips on our blog and on our YouTube video channel. Caldera Spas® is your link to wellness and therapeutic immersion, and your nearby hot tub dealer has the answers to all your questions. To find out more now, download a brochure and request a price quote.