Done it here ever?

I do it in bed all the time. I’ve done it on planes, on my bicycle, and even in my mother’s living room. This morning, like many, after dancing tango for hours the night before, I do it to release tension.

I bend at the waist to grab my feet in paschimottanasana. My butt-end rises up like a balloon of hot air. Still, I get a great posterior stretch of my lumbar, hams, calves, and achilles. It is a pleasant feeling, this weightlessness. I breathe steadily the whole time—but only out.

Ahhh, the bearable lightness of yoga. I am doing my asanas suspended under water in the pool where I swim here in Buenos Aires—American Sport on Charcas. The water is a comfortable mid-seventies degree, but I am warmed up, having swum laps for at least twenty minutes. My lungs are expanded and elastic, so I can extend my exhalation longer and longer and slightly hold my breath at the end, remaining in each under-water pose for twenty seconds or longer.

I start at the deep end with the forward stretch. There, I also do a floating bow, or dhanurasana. When up, down, and sideways cease to matter in this near-zero-gravity element,yogalegextension you learn a lot about your own body’s participation in a pose. Years ago, I said to a fellow yoga practitioner that I didn’t like the use of props in my yoga. He said, well, then you better get rid of gravity and the floor, too. And so, I have now. There is only the slight resistance of water pressure evenly dispersed over my whole body. I feel my joints as I never do on land and can more accurately assess from where my own resistance to a pose emanates.

My hips open and acquiesce gently into full lotus as I float around like a celestial body in space. I come up for air, treading with my arms, then go under again on the exhalation and slight hold. I can never mistake when to exhale and when to inhale.

Also at the deep end, I do supta padagusthasana, where you grab your big toe and stretch your leg up and out, like a victory sign. The floating variations of this pose are playful.

Down at the shallow end of the pool, I slip into the eagle pose, entwining my two arms and my two legs, like serpents, easily going into the full, deep-squat position, which on land requires the added concentration of balance. I spin around freely underwater, like a pinwheel, always exhaling.

It is delicious to experience the complexity of the pose this way. My muscles and joints are loose and limber and well lubricated by the essence of a liquid environment. I never overdo a pose—as I am prone to on land.

I do an elbow stand. On land I need my props—-a block for my hands to grab, and the support yogawarriorof a wall. But here in about two-and-half-feet of water, I have just enough gravity to keep my forearms firmly planted on the pool floor and using my own muscle power, go into the pose perfectly, squeezing equally on all abdominal, thigh, and glute muscles. During my exhalation I have time to experience the asana with knees straight and bent. It is illuminating to feel the pose this way.

At the wall in the shallow water, I can do those warrior and triangle poses that give you intense side stretches. Finally, I finish up at the deep end with—what else?—matsyasana, or fish pose, then slip into savasana, corpse pose, face down. I contemplate our fixed meanings of words like prop and yoga. Tango.yogasplit


  1. Camille….I’ve been a Yoga freak for YEARS, but, never tried it under water!! Sounds just glorious!

  2. WOw! Water Yoga. It sounds and looks delicious! IKind of like Watsu massage but more on your own power. Very cool!

  3. You verbiage is so poetic!
    Loved the article.
    Keep writing and practicing!