Etymology: the word “woga” comes from the union between the word “water” and “yoga”. Yoga literally means “to unify”; body and mind are actually the very first elements this discipline is meant to integrate.
Practice typology: yoga consisted of four typologies of practice:
1. physical exercises having a static or slightly dynamic purpose (asana). They reinvigorate the body and enhance its strength and elasticity of the muscles.
2. Breathing exercises (pranayama) to develop awareness and the breathing control.
3. Concentration exercises/focus and relaxation so as to reduce stress.
4. Eutonia exercises in water, which means refining the muscular tone in every muscle.
Main benefits: Aquayoga practice (WOGA) sums benefits from the yoga to those of water and is divided into four main steps.
1. Stretching in water and consequent muscular stretching, revitalization of the body through the stretching of energetic meridians which run along the muscles’ surface.
2. Awareness of the breath exercises comes immediately afterward. They offer the chance to expand the breath range and favor an optimal exchange of gases and efficiency of the immune system. In water, people learn how to handle breathing fluxes (apnea).
3. Focusing, visualizations and concentration exercises allow to calm the continuously working mind and consequently may bring about a profound state of relaxation.
4. In the end, last but not least, there’s the work on the harmonization of the muscles: connected to breathing, it brings ease of movement to joints and muscles. But not only. Yoga movements and stances allow for correction of muscular imbalance and improvement of the dose of strength in the muscles’ usage.
Mechanism of action: there’s a relationship between the body and the mind. When the mind is affected, the body behaves accordingly (for instance, emotions may effect the immune system) and vice versa: when the body is affected, we may relax the mind (relaxing some muscles can reduce stress and anxiety).
Differences with other existing sports and disciplines: compared to traditional yoga - yoga - which is practiced in warm water at a recommended temperature of 33 or 35 degrees - and the water element being a powerful energetic container - it favors a surprisingly efficient static and dynamic meditation.
Moreover, precisely in water, the warmth, the water massage and wellness favor the dissolution of every kind of tension, the release of the spine and a better awareness of the self.
On land, all these movements require a more difficult stance.
Origins and history:
Date and founder: 19.12.1987, Gianni De Stefani.
Effects and benefits. Already mentioned above.
For whom is this practice is recommended: yoga may be recommended for everyone.
For whom is this practice not recommended: general counter-indication to pool water or thermal water.
Particularly efficient if practiced together with stretching and meditation.
Minimum age to start: 15 years old.
Age when it is still possible to practice: 80 years old.
Time of practice to enjoy the benefits:
Minimum time of a session: in order to benefit form the practice, at least 10 lessons are recommended.
Periodicity: weekly frequency of a yoga course for at least 60 minutes.
How a meeting is held:
Individual or in a group: a yoga course is done in a group of people.
Characteristics of the space where the encounter takes place: yoga is practiced in warm water - temperature 33 - 35 degrees.
Encounter phases: a pre-interview with the teacher has to take place only in the occurrence of serious diseases (f.i. prosthesis to the femur, diabetics, medicaments assumption, etc..).
What we need to practice:
Yoga practice requires a swimsuit and, if necessary, a swim cap.
Educational requirement of a good, professional instructor:
Training course ITC WOGA supported by Watsu Italia and WABA (Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association).
How to choose the instructor that suits you best:
Visit the website: www.woga.pro
Recognized professional and representative association:
Important people who practice or have been practicing this discipline:
Harold Dull, Watsu® founder.
Diffusion of the discipline and Italian and worldwide tendency:
Increasing interest spread worldwide.
Most recommended books to know more:
- Watsu, free the body in water by Harold Dull
- Visualization and movement by Eric Franklin
- Matsyoga: yoga in water by Stefania Montagna
- Yoga kundalini, the awakening of vital energy by Lothar-Rüdiger Lütge
- Self-Shiatsu, how to auto-shiatsu by Gioachino Allasia
- Atlas of Human Anatomy di Angelo Farina
- Yoga theory and practice by B.K.S. Iyengar
- Theory and practice of pranayama, the breathing art by B.K.S. Iyengar
- Eutonia di Mariann Kjellrup
- WOGA e AICHI, by Gianni De Stefani, Italo Bertolasi and Roberto Fraioli
Recommended videos and courses:
WOGA, RED Editions, 2009.
www.woga.pro, www.watsu.de, www.watsu.in, www.ecolewatsu.fr, www.wasserzentrum.ch
Recommended music to really enjoy the practice:
Karunesh, Kitaro, Deva Premal, soft classical