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The Velocity and Viscosity of Yoga

Sitting at the feet of the wise one, Goswami would talk about the “sickness of the velocity of thoughts.”

We never see to have enough time and yet always seem to be in a rush.

He often used to refer to the metaphor of walking through molasses with boots on as we try to navigate the events in our lives but get waylaid and slow down making any progress, because I assume we don’t feel we have the tools or time to do so.

Practicing yoga in the water yields a somewhat similar effect as the viscosity is far greater than we are used to on land.

Instead of the frustration on land as things sometimes don’t progress as soon as we would like them to, in water people embrace the more positive side of viscosity as it slows down any mis-step and gives the practitioner time to adjust, adapt and acclimatize to standing up and strong once again.

One of the benefits of moving in water is that the movement creates drag which helps muscles to tone find balance and strengthen. With the body feeling more relaxed and supported, it can become a beautiful environment to slow the mind down also in order to think of a thought that just might be the solution to a previously un-answered question.

Aqua Yoga is not just for the body.

In a land based exercise program, muscle load decreased when a constant speed is achieved (vinyasa) In water however, muscle load is increased through range of motion. Range of motion increase typically 30% in water.

Whilst moving through water may be overstimulating for some, it can help temper involuntary movement for example in people with MS and Parkinson’s.

People who are taking to a yoga practice in a new medium are experiencing more positive effects they did not perhaps envisage when the first started their practice.

A gravitationally challenged land practice subject to the velocity of movement can give way to the richness of experiential knowledge in the water.

By Camella Nair (Swami Nibhrtananda, C-IAYT, ATRI-C, Ayurvedic Health Educator)

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