BAC offering free aqua yoga classes

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Lisa Bass
Contributing writer

Photo by Lisa Bass
Instructor Ellen Goldlust leads the aqua yoga class in variations of the yoga warrior poise at the Blacksburg Aquatic Center.

In Balance Yoga has partnered with the Blacksburg Aquatic Center to offer free aqua yoga classes this winter. Aqua Yoga is very low impact, making it an ideal way for people with joint pain or anyone nervous about land versions of yoga to improve their strength, flexibility and range of motion.

A Jan. 26 aqua yoga class was taught by Ellen Goldlust. The class began with participants sitting on the pool side with breathing and warm-up exercises. As participants slipped into the shallow section of the BAC pool, Goldlust told them, “Feel the sensation of the water.”

Goldlust carefully instructed everyone to focus inward, to notice their breathing, to feel the water envelope them and to become aware of their bodies. Each of the exercise movements and poises had an inhale and an exhale cue. Goldlust reminded participants to concentrate on centering their body with small movements, placements or rotations of shoulders, spine, hips and feet.

Water supports a person’s body in a completely different way than air; therefore, some yoga poses become easier while others seem harder. Aqua yoga is low impact, ideal for people with joint pain to improve their strength, flexibility and range of motion.

Participant Mary Ratcliffe said as she hung on the pool’s edge, “I cannot do a cobra-poise on land but I can in the water.”

Goldlust encouraged participants to use the core muscles to find balance because the water supports the body but also challenges that balance. Goldlust said, “This helps work the tiny muscles.”

With busy lives, Goldlust said, “Yoga is a good time out of the day to slow down and concentrate inward for body awareness. With aqua yoga, it is the fluid of water that helps with physically slowing down.”

According to Nicole Boyles, owner and instructor of In Balance Yoga, “We started offering Pool Yoga at the Clay Corner Inn in Blacksburg over the summer. It was one of our favorite classes to teach and when summer came to an end we wanted to continue to offer. We contacted Lynn Krulich, Supervisor of the BAC, and she has been such a pleasure to work with.”

Instead of renting the BAC, Krulich and Boyle agreed to the free community classes to offer the experience of aqua yoga indoors during the cooler, colder months.

In Balance Yoga offers a range of yoga classes at its studio in Clay Court at 401 S. Main St. in downtown Blacksburg. In Balance is currently constructing a new studio on North Main Street. Boyles said. The new studio will be located at 1512 N. Main St. in the Uptown Development with Green Valley Builders. The new studio will open in the summer of 2017. They do no have an exact date yet; sometime mid-June to July 2017.”

The next free aqua yoga classes at the BAC will be Thursday, Feb. 23, March 9 and March 23 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Boyle said, “This class is for all levels and ages. We have had tri—athletes and runners attend after a race to students who have never practiced yoga, have joint limitations, replacements, pre-natal women etc. The water acts as a wonderful prop to support the body for gentle movement.”

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