Why You Should Take Your Yoga Practice to the Pool

May 13th, 2015

Guest Post

Picture via Flickr — by Jon Olav Eikenes

Written by Patricia Sarmiento, guest blogger

I haven’t always consistently practiced yoga and meditation, but I have always appreciated what they did for my body – emotionally, physically and mentally.

Following the birth of my daughter, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, I began to struggle with depression. My first instinct was to jump in the pool. Swimming has always served as a great way for me to clear my head. And as this article explains—“Depression & Swimming”—it has a proven ability to relieve depression symptoms. However, I also knew that yoga and meditation would be a huge help to me so I thought about how I could combine the healing powers of all three.

First, I did a little research. Then, one day after a swim, when I had the pool to myself, I ran through a few water poses I had seen online. And it was fantastic. I knew that day that for me swimming, yoga, and meditation were the trifecta that could get me back on my feet and feeling happy and positive.

Here are a few benefits of doing yoga and meditation in the pool:

Improve your breathing. Learning proper breathing techniques is a key aspect of swimming, yoga, and meditation. And focused breathing is one reason why they all help with anxiety and depression. HowStuffWorks.com points out that the deep, rhythmic breathing needed for swimming can actually trigger a physiological relaxation response. It has worked wonders for me in my yoga practice. I find that it’s much easier for me to focus on my breathing after I’ve been swimming than if I jump right into a yoga routine.

Experience meditation in calm waters. The sound, the feel, the weightlessness. These are all reasons I’ve found swimming to be such a mental booster. I’ve also found that those calm waters are a great place to meditate. When I was researching water yoga routines, I came across this excellent resource. It opened my eyes to two ways of meditating in the pool, floating and sinking. I think being in the water actually helps me get to a place where I can truly free my mind of thought much more quickly than when I meditate on land.

Achieve those challenging poses. I’m not super flexible, so, there were several yoga poses that I would dread whenever I took a yoga class. I knew I just wouldn’t be able to bend my way into them. And while being in the water doesn’t mean I get every pose on the first try, it has certainly made them more attainable. The added benefit is the self-confidence boost I get whenever I successfully do a new pose. That feeling of achievement has been great for my mental health.

Get a positivity boost. The reason exercise of any kind can be so effective at helping with depression is because it releases endorphins that make us feel good. And that’s why I like to swim a few laps to clear my mind before I do yoga, whether it’s inside or outside the pool. I find that the swim gets me in the right place mentally so that I can get the full anxiety-relieving benefits of my yoga and meditation practice.

I can’t stress enough how valuable incorporating yoga and meditation into my swimming routine has been for me. They helped me get back on my feet after my daughter was born, and they continue to help me stay focused, positive, and healthy.

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Patricia Sarmiento is an avid swimmer and runner. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into blogging about health and health-related topics. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.

New Yoga Man and Yoga Woman t-shirts now available!

January 9th, 2014

Click on the Store link to check out these gorgeous tees. They are Hanes tagless short-sleeve t-shirts, 100% cotton, with the Lay-Flat collar. Made in the Dominican Republic. Sizes L-XXXL

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Upcoming workshop

July 5th, 2011

On 7/23/11, I’m teaching a Beginner’s Kundalini Yoga workshop at the Sana Vida Wellness Spa and Tea Bar in Marble Falls, TX. It’s two hours starting at 10:30 a.m.

What is Kundalini Yoga? It’s yoga and meditation that is a highly evolved technology using posture, breath, sound, hand position and movement to create an optimum balance between all the body’s systems.

Take some time for yourself and reduce your stress and become more relaxed. Increase your focus and connection to the world around you. Take care.

Resistance to Resistance is Futile

June 4th, 2010

Resistance. It’s something we all feel and deal with. There’s an activity we’re supposed to do or even want to do and yet we resist doing it. Sometimes it doesn’t even make sense why we are resisting. We know what we are supposed to be doing is beneficial to us and yet there’s that feeling in the pit of our stomach and we just can’t bring ourselves to performing the task at hand. How can we deal with the resistance that blocks us?

In May of 2009, I was feeling frustrated in writing my book. Everything seemed to be going wrong. It was taking too long. I had to add multiple chapters. I had more and more to do and was getting less and less done. The writing was slowly coming along but I hadn’t even addressed the publishing side concerning the book. I couldn’t even conceive of dealing with publishing the book. Too scary. Every day was a challenge to get motivated to work. The dodgeball of resistance in the pit of my stomach was solidifying until one afternoon I couldn’t fight it anymore. It was rock-hard.

That was it, I was done. I would never work on the book again. It was too hard. I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this, I’ll never even look at the manuscript ever again. To hell with how far I’d come and how hard I’d worked. I can’t win a dodgeball game with a rock! I quit!

In less than a minute, the rock had disintegrated. My stomach felt fine. I was rock-free. My inertia had ended. I felt like working again. I picked up this publishing trade magazine that I had been avoiding for a long time. I opened it up and there it was…Publishing University. In 10 days, a series of classes to help educate authors and independent publishers was to start in New York. I signed up within the hour. The answer to my resistance had been sitting on my end table for the last two months but I couldn’t bring myself to look at it. Until…I gave up.

Yes it is counter-intuitive but I’ve come to the conclusion that as soon as one tries to fight the resistance they’re feeling that the resistance strengthens. The longer you fight it the stronger it gets. As I continue to test this, like the spiritual scientist I am, I am convinced that giving up will inevitably free you from your inertia and you will accelerate and progress in your chosen endeavor.

If you’re willing to look at this from a spiritual perspective, this act is called surrender. Sounds very formal, doesn’t it? I’ve always considered surrender as a conscious choice. My ego sits down with the Universe at a long rectangular table with flags at each end, inside a big tent. There’s special pens to sign the official documents. We sign and exchange documents and sign again. It’s over. The armistice is in place. My ego agrees to turn over the issue plaguing me to the Universe. The Universe is now in charge of my resistance/problem/issue. But I didn’t consciously hand this over. I quit. The Universe solved my problem anyway. Surrender or quitting, in essence I was asking for help. Your ego may not be comfortable with this practice but it will see the success that it yearns for. It will get easier.

Consider giving this a chance. What do you have to lose? You weren’t getting anywhere anyway…

The Wake-Up Call

April 16th, 2010

In my previous blog, I talked about beginning again. You know when everyday life gets in the way of your goals then guilt and shame prevent you from restarting. That’s one level. Then there is a completely different and more serious level…the Wake-Up Call.

The Wake-Up Call usually involves a near life-threatening situation. It doesn’t matter what the situation is as long as your mortality comes into question. It can be from illness, accidents or even a crime perpetrated against you. In my case, it was illness.

I contracted pneumonia. I knew the moment it happened. I could feel something happening in my lungs. By the next day, I had a 101° fever and was down to approximately 15% breath capacity. I could inhale shallowly for 1.5 seconds. And it was not sore but painful to breathe. I actually went to bed that night wondering if I was going to wake up the next morning. The following night and I wondered the same thing. It had never occurred to me before that I wouldn’t wake up the following morning.

This probably shouldn’t have been a surprise to me because the Universe had been sending me messages for at least six months that I needed to take better care of myself. For the previous three years, I’d been putting my book and business first and my health second. For the next three weeks, I dropped everything and focused purely on my health. I was left no choice.

When I related my feelings before going to bed those two nights to my sister, she quoted some advice I’d given in her couple months prior. There is nothing like getting advice back that you’ve already given. It’s a slap in the face. Another component of the Wake-Up Call.

I made the necessary changes. My health comes first and my book and business come second. I’m doing yoga and meditation everyday. I make sure that I drink enough water to stay properly hydrated. I eat well. I exercise at least three times a week. I get enough sleep. I do my spiritual reading every day. I take my vitamins. All of this takes priority…period. And my thinking now is that that this priority will ultimately benefit my book and business, not hinder it. So, my suggestion to you would be make the appropriate changes in your life now before the Universe presents you with a Wake-Up Call. Don’t be left without a choice.

Beginning again…

March 11th, 2010

What a beautiful day! I just saw the first roadrunner of spring (it’s a Texas thing). Spring is here and another Earth cycle around the Sun begins again. Winter has subsided and nature’s rest break is over.

But we humans have different cycles. We have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly cycles depending on physical, mental and financial needs. What happens when those cycles are interrupted? What takes place when life happens and our expectations are overpowered? How do you react?

For me personally, sometimes it’s easy to get back on track and sometimes it’s not. For example, I just got back from a 4-day weekend. I expected to jump right back into work. I ate well, slept well and had a great time on my vacation yet I couldn’t get restarted yesterday. I did the bare minimum of communication and that was it. I felt such resistance and fear, that I was practically immobilized.

I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. And yet, I didn’t even know why. It didn’t make sense. Everything was in place to proceed. Yes, I have a daunting task to let enough people know about my book so as to build sales. But that didn’t stop me last week or the week before.

This has happened to me before and I’m sure it will happen again. Something happens that produces guilt or shame in me and I come to a stop. The key is working through these feelings as soon as possible. How does one do that?

Did I feel guilty about taking some time off? Probably. Did I feel ashamed that I left a large sum in the hotel safe where I stayed? Definitely (yes I went to Las Vegas and yes, I’m getting the money back). Or did I need another day of rest? Who doesn’t?

The Universe introduces a myriad of ways to get us to learn about ourselves. Sometimes it’s by forcing us to rest. Sometimes it’s by introducing situations that bring up difficult to deal with feelings. And usually that conflicts with our expectations of what we want. Challenges come up all the time and our diets, exercise programs, work and play get interrupted. For me to get re-centered, it took dealing with my feelings, reflected on all I had to grateful about, forgiving myself and doing some yoga and meditation yesterday. It worked and today, I begin again.


February 16th, 2010

Welcome! This is the website for the book, “Plus-Sized Yoga: Beginners Yoga for People of All Sizes.” It’s a beginner’s Kundalini Yoga and Meditation book for the plus-sized but people of any size will find this book valuable. The book is divided into three sections: In a Class by Yourself – the components of Kundalini Yoga, how to practice yoga and meditation at home, relaxing during your practice and tuning in to your inner teacher; The Yoga and Meditations – where to start, nine postures, seven yoga sets and eight meditations; and Be Happier Now – a new approach to dealing with personal issues of the plus-sized that includes dealing with self-judgment, dealing with the judgment of others and living a life in balance.

Yoga and meditation are very positive ways of dealing with stress and will help you with life’s ups and downs. My feeling is that no matter what project or issue you’re tackling that you’ll have a greater chance of success if you’re less stressed and more peaceful. A personal practice of yoga and meditation will only enhance your chance at success.

I have been a “spiritual” scientist for the last 25 years. I blog about the issues that one encounters in daily life. I hope that you find them of value. Take care.  Keith.