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Namaste in the pool this summer

Ann Walton, right, leads a water yoga class at the Tennis Club of Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Ann Walton grew up with a love for tennis. By the time she reached adulthood she had become a highly successful high school tennis coach. Her girls’ tennis teams at Sandia High School won state championships four years in a row.

However, too much tennis eventually caused chronic bursitis in Walton’s right hip. So, at age 70, she felt she needed a new challenge.

She signed on for physical therapy. That helped, but it didn’t seem to give her what she wanted.

Eventually she decided to get her on-land yoga teacher certification and for seven years taught yoga at the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque.

However, she realized “I wanted something very different.”

The unusualness of that test grabbed her right away when she heard about water yoga.

Water yoga, the gentle stretching your body, all while wearing a bathing suit.

In 2018 a friend, John Feldman, told her about a water yoga program near Dallas. Almost immediately, Walton took off for Plano, Texas, where she earned certification in teaching water yoga.

With that background under her belt, she talked her way into the Tennis Club of Albuquerque, where she had been a member since 1973.

Happily for Walton, a swimming pool at the Tennis Club of Albuquerque is 25-meters in length and the depth varies from 3 feet to 10 feet, with the water at a comfortable 83 degrees.

“I first start things on land and then water,” which she says, isn’t easy at least at first. Soon students like to be in the middle of it.

“It’s fun, people laugh, it’s playful,” she says. “It gives you good water buoyancy.”

Walton typically begins having the yogis (students) warm-up in the center of the pool.

“I have taught water yoga with or without lane lines.”

She likes lane lines up because it keeps the yogis centered, which helps pose alignment.

Dick Minzner, an Albuquerque attorney, has attended in Walton’s water yoga class for two summers and plans to continue this summer.

“I like being in the water for one,” he says. “The stretching routines are great. Those who are with me in the water are a collegial group. I feel much more flexible when I am through with Ann’s exercises.”

Those who try water yoga especially enjoy Shavasana, the last five minutes of a class, which are for complete relaxation in the water on pool noodles.

Walton’s hour-long classes at the Tennis Club of Albuquerque costs $10 and donations of canned goods are accepted.

Walton also authored a book “Water Yoga: New Mexican Style.” The book contains practical advice on how to teach water yoga through text and photographs of actual water yoga classes.

“Water Yoga: New Mexican Style” can be purchased at Retail Therapy ABQ located at 107 Amherst Drive SE. Proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to those in need.

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

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