April 16, 2010 / 6:08 AM / 9 years ago

"Cool" postures as yoga takes to water in India

Harish Chaturvedi, a yoga trainer, performs water yoga in a pool in Agra April 13, 2010. Chaturvedi believes water yoga really boosts energy and helps ward off disease. REUTERS/Brijesh Kumar Singh

AGRA, India (Reuters Life!) - You’ve probably heard of hot yoga and power yoga, but now there’s another form of the physical and mental activity that’s gaining in popularity in India — water yoga.

In the city of Agra, famed for the Taj Mahal, legions of locals perform their “asanas,” or postures, in a pool, which makes them more challenging than on land, and also boosts buoyancy and flexibility.

Harish Chaturvedi, a trained lawyer, teaches the unusual form of yoga free of charge. He says water yoga can be performed for much longer than other forms, as the body does not get tired as quickly.

“Everybody can learn swimming, but if they also learn yoga alongside it, they will never feel tired,” he said.

“The level of oxygen is very high in water, and you will not have any breathing problems.”

Chaturvedi believes water yoga really boosts energy and helps ward off disease. He focuses on children, and runs regular classes at the swimming pool of a local sports stadium.

The response to this unusual form of yoga has been positive.

“Pandit Harish Chaturvediji is a lawyer by profession but he is very good at performing yoga in water,” said Sudhir Narayan, a water yoga student. “He is teaching children free of cost and that is a very good thing.”

Yoga, which involves meditation as well as physical activities, has become a mainstream form of exercise around the world, with millions of followers.

Reporting by Reuters Television, writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Sugita Katyal

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