Most people take baths to relax — not to practice yoga. But why not put the two together for a super creative way to relax and rejuvenate both the mind and body?
This isn’t a suggestion to take your full vinyasa flow practice to the small, slippery space that is your bathtub. Instead, it’s meant to inspire you to combine the relaxing effects of taking a bath with the some of the more restorative (and seated) yoga poses for enhanced mind-body integration.
For example, some safe, seated poses to try in the tub might include:
- Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
- Bound Ankle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
These poses are all seated stretches so they won’t have you slipping and sliding all over the tub. Here are some of the surprising benefits of doing them in the bath!
Adding essential oils to the bathwater can enhance the calming effect.
Aromatherapy and bath time definitely go hand in hand. By choosing essential oils known to have a calming effect on the mind, you’ll naturally make room to connect more closely with your body and the present moment.
Essential oils known to have the best calming effects include lavender, rose, ylang ylang, chamomile, frankincense, velvetir and bergamot. After making sure you won’t have any allergic reactions, add a few drops to the bathwater and enjoy the aroma as you relax and stretch it out with some yoga.
Your muscles will relax more in the warm water.
You probably know what it’s like to stretch cold, stiff muscles. The benefit of taking a bath is that the warm water helps increase body temperature, improving blood circulation and relieving muscle tension so that they can be stretched and lengthened more effectively.
You can supercharge this muscle relaxing effect by adding Epsom salts to your bathwater, which works to soothe muscle tension as it’s absorbed through the skin. Let yourself soak for 5 to 10 minutes and your muscles will be all warmed up to do a few seated yoga poses.
Minor aches and pains can be relieved by the warm water.
In addition to muscle relaxation, the warm water can even help with minor aches and pains in your joints. Even in just a few inches of water, the extra buoyancy makes it easier to move sore ankles, feet, knees, wrists, and other joints with the added benefit of the warmth to improve blood flow.
Epsom salts may also soothe minor joint pain by helping to reduce inflammation. So if you’re feeling the need to stretch but are worried about pushing it too far to be painful, going super slow with some gentle seated yoga in the bath may be a slightly better option for the enhanced muscle and joint relaxation.
The steam will help relieve any congestion so you can breathe better.
Breathing is a super important component of yoga, but taking long, deep breaths through your nose might seem impossible when you’re stuffed up and congested. The steam from bathwater can help clear your nasal passages or aid in treatment of respiratory problems related to the common cold, flu, asthma, allergies, and other mild conditions.
Spend a few minutes sitting in the warm bathwater as you practice breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Once you feel your nose and throat clearing up, you’ll be able to practice your seated yoga poses in the bath and stretch deeper into them with fuller, deeper breaths.
You’ll get more deeply in touch with your body.
Lastly, there’s perhaps no better way to become more aware, accepting, and loving of your own body by observing and experiencing its movement while nude. And in the bath, of course you’ll be nude!
Become mindful of all the aspects of your body that you don’t typically get to see or feel while moving your body under clothing in your regular practice. Getting more deeply in touch with your physical body this way can help reinforce a positive body image that will give you a natural confidence boost both on and off the mat!