Aqua Yoga for Lupus

May is Lupus Awareness Month.  In support of World Lupus Day  last week, and Put on Purple Day this week, I’m offering this aqua yoga for lupus sequence for free.  It includes a short 25 minute practice for when you need something mellow and a full 45 minute practice for when you want something longer. 

You can print it out and have it laminated to use poolside.  It has all the directions you need for the postures and is printed large enough you hopefully can do it without your glasses.


I don’t have lupus, can I still use the aqua yoga for lupus sequence?

Yes, absolutely.  There is no such thing as a yoga pose for lupus or any other disease.  Yoga is a system of linking your movement with your breath while focusing your mind on staying in the moment.  As a systemic practice, it has systemic benefits that help anyone, whether or not they have a systemic disease. 


Get the aqua yoga for lupus sequence:


What is lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can effect any organ.  The most common kind is Systemic lupus erythematosus which can vary in severity and attacks the kidneys, heart, and skin.  For more information about lupus or put on purple day, visit the Lupus Foundation of America’s website.

Points to keep in mind while using this sequence if you have lupus or another rheumatological disease:

Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Always work at the level that’s right for.  This sequence has suggestions for practice.  Customize it to make it right for your body.  For example, you might do a pose differently on one side of your body than the other to accommodate joint pain.

The sequence has a built in stop point to check in with yourself.  If you’re having a flare, be kind, stop there.  Some exercise is better than none, and there’s always tomorrow.


How does aqua yoga help lupus or any other disease?

Lupus patients deal with chronic pain, fatigue, and somtimes depression, all of which makes it hard to exercise.  Yet, everyone needs exercise and we all know being a couch potato is not good for us.  Lupus patients need access to exercise that is safe and appropriate.  Some lupus patients have a background in sports and exercise and are triathletes, some need gentle Tai Chi.  There is no “exercise for lupus”.  It’s about choosing the type and level of exercise that fits your needs. 

Aqua yoga is a great option on the gentler side of things if that’s what you’re needing.  There have not been any studies done on the benefits of aqua yoga for lupus so we have to infer from research done on land yoga and research done on aquatics.  I wrote a long bibliography on aqua yoga for arthritis research you can read for that background.   On land, yoga for rheumatic diseases(1) and yoga for arthritis(2) has a limited bit of research available.  If we summarize and extrapolate from what we do have, we can infer aqua yoga has these benefits for people living with rheumatic diseases:

  • reduces pain
  • reduces disease activity
  • improves flexibility
  • improves mood
  • increases self - efficacy
  • improves quality of life
  • improves balance

There was a study published very recently about exercise for lupus patients doing kiniesotherapy.  Kiniesotherapy has some similarities to yoga and it showed increased flexibility and reductions in pain with no increase in disease activity for participants(3).

More info on aqua yoga

If you enjoyed using this sequence or are intrigued by aqua yoga and are looking for more opportunities to practice, I offer an aqua yoga online ecourse.  A new session will start in July and I’d love to see you join.  You can get all the details and enroll with early bird pricing on the aqua yoga course page.

If you’d like to read more about what I’ve written on yoga for lupus see these posts:

Benefits of Yoga for Lupus

How to Choose a Yoga Class with Chronic Illness

Get the Aqua Yoga for Lupus Sequence:

1 Yoga in Rheumatic Diseases

2 Yoga in Sedentary Adults with Arthritis

3 Increased flexibility, pain reduction and unaltered levels of IL-10 and CD11b + lymphocytes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus were associated with kinesiotherapy

Aqua Yoga for Lupus

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I'm a yoga teacher who specializes in making yoga accessible for those with chronic health conditions in the pool and on land. My teaching style is engaging, responsive and fun.  Read my full bio HERE.

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