Deep Water Yoga Core Workout

Sunday, February 06 2022

Aqua Yoga is a popular way for people to enjoy a mind & body practice without the fear of falling or achieving unattainable body positions.  Poolfit has showcased shallow water yoga, but now Jackie Lebeau transitions a yoga practice into the deep end of the pool.  Grab a flotation belt and two noodles and join Jackie for a 45 -minute deep-water yoga core challenge. 

A true water baby, Jackie was enrolled in Baby & Me swim lessons with her dad before she could even walk.   She grew up competing on various swim teams, teaching swim lessons, life guarding and playing water polo. Jackie started teaching water exercise classes in high school and then obtained her water fitness certification in college where she majored in Exercise & Health Promotion at Virginia Tech.  Pursuing a career in fitness, she quickly obtained several certifications, including yoga, in which she logged 200-hours as a Registered Yoga Teacher through the school of YogaFit.  Jackie is currently the senior fitness director at the University of Virginia (UVA).

The inspiration for this video came from Jackie’s passion for teaching and participating in yoga. “I have been teaching aqua yoga for 10 years, but have never taught it in deep water and nor have I experienced it in the deep end as a participant,” says Jackie.  Consequently, she became intrigued by the thought of recreating a traditional studio yoga class in deep water.  “Yoga has so many benefits, including improved flexibility, strength and posture, and I wanted to share these benefits with my deep-water class participants.”  Her first challenge was to create a way to ground the exercises.  “In studio yoga, the exercises are grounded by the floor and so I had to figure out a way to ground the postures in deep water.”  Jackie discovered that not only could you ground the exercises with a noodle, but you could also deliver an incredible core challenge while doing so. 

Balance Challenge
Grounding yoga exercises is possible in deep water by standing on a noodle with both feet or on one foot.  If you have ever attempted to stand on a noodle in the pool, you probably know just how hard it is to balance and stay upright. Overcoming this instability requires a great deal of core stabilization, hence the focus on core training in Deep Water Yoga Core Workout.  Transitioning between two-footed and one-footed postures provides plenty of exercise variety and balance challenges.

Buoyant Support
A swim noodle provides neutral buoyant support when placed under your arms or behind your back.  Placed under the arms in front of you, the legs are freed up to perform yoga exercises.  Placed behind the back, supine yoga poses can be performed in a modified supine position.  The noodle can also be straddled for additional exercise possibilities. 

Another way to ground yoga postures in deep water is by planking.  In the video, Jackie demonstrates a very challenging “Balanced Half Moon” pose in a noodle side plank position. Front plank position with a noodle is utilized extensively throughout the video as Jackie repeats the same Vinyasa flow of moves.
Watch Jackie talk more about grounding and the Deep Water Yoga Core Workout.

As mentioned above, balancing on the noodle can be a rather daunting task.  Losing balance or alignment is rather common and so Jackie devotes an entire segment of the video to practicing vertical recovery.  This in itself is a huge core challenge.  Additionally, moving the body in all directions and using a great deal of core strength helps keep the body warm in this slower paced water workout.  However, you would want to avoid doing this yoga workout in a chilly pool as there isn’t enough vigorous movement to maintain thermal warmth. 

In addition to pool noodles, a flotation belt is also required for this workout.  The flotation belt provides fixated neutral buoyancy to your waist so that your arms and legs can actively participate in the exercises, rather than just sculling and performing egg beaters to keep you afloat.  Aside from safety considerations, a flotation belt really does allow you to participate in a deep-water workout more fully by freeing up your arms and legs to perform specific exercises with optimal form and execution.  Once again, for the benefit of the naysayers, I will post the video below, which outlines the reasons WHY a flotation belt improves your deep-water fitness performance.

Stay tuned, it’s Yoga Week on Poolfit, or more specifically Yoga Week with Jackie.  Up next, Jackie presents a 30-minute seated yoga workout for your in-home fitness needs.  As always, Poolfit extends a big thank you to Jackie for sharing her fitness passion with subscribers. 

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.