For many years, people have enjoyed taking yoga classes at The J. The discipline promotes strength, flexibility, and calmness. But starting next month, The J will be offering a new twist on this old favorite.
The twist is Aqua Yoga. It has all the benefits of a traditional yoga class, but the class will take place in the indoor pool and participants will do their poses on top of paddleboards to incorporate the additional benefits of climbing and balancing to the posing. Mimi Hahn, who has been teaching this type of yoga since April, will lead this class.
“Traditionally people associate yoga with the health benefits of flexibility and calmness of mind,” Hahn says. “Yoga on the boards also emphasizes cardio and strength building. We’re not just holding poses, there are opportunities for us to flow through poses, so we are lifting up our heart rates and creating a challenge on the boards.”
The classes will begin in January, but earlier in December, The J held a demonstration. Both yoga enthusiasts and those who are just curious came out to the pool to see what Aqua Yoga is all about.
Ann Zeman has been doing traditional Yoga classes for more than a decade.
“It was easier than I thought it would be. [The paddle boards] are thicker than a surf board. I thought it would be less stable than it was,” Zeman said. “It was pretty exciting, because I didn’t realize I could balance at all. The hardest part was getting on and off because of strength issues, but it was pretty easy to balance.”
While yoga originated in India, Aqua Yoga is found primarily in California and south Florida. The J is of of the first facilities in Louisville to offer this discipline.
Aquatics Director Johnny Kimberlin said Hahn reached out to The J a few weeks ago. “We’re always looking for new opportunities for aqua fitness,” he said. “Dry land group fitness yoga classes are big here, so I thought that we would have a shot to bring some of them in. People who don’t use the pool very often might come down here and try something new. I know yoga is a big thing so why not try it.”
Aqua Yoga classes will be held Wednesday nights in January. Each class will only have room for six participants, since that is the number of paddle boards that will fit in the pool. There will be an extra charge for the class, $72 dollars for members and $90 dollars for non-members.
Megan Hancock took part in the demonstration. “This is something I’d sign up for. What I’d like to get out of this is more balance, more building the core to get more stability,” she said.
Erica Doyle, another participant in the demonstration, was pleasantly surprised. “It’s a lot more fun than I thought and I was afraid I would fall in the water and constantly try to get back up, but it’s not too terrible,” she said.
Hahn is looking forward to teaching the classes. “I’m not necessarily trying to convert people to this style; and there is a novelty of it. This is for folks who want to mix up their fitness routine, who want to do something different and want to have fun.”
The floating fun begins January 4 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. and 8:45-9:45 p.m. For more information, visit https://jewishlouisville.org/aquayoga.