Yes! You can do yoga in the bathtub!
Warning: the tub is not the best place for your standing poses. In fact, PLEASE do not do any standing poses (or inversions!!) in a full bathtub at all. And of course you must exercise caution even still; the tub is a slippery spot.
I will confess–there are some days where I don’t even get onto my mat, and I choose instead to do my practice in the bathtub before bed.
First I fill the tub with hot water, epsom salts and baking soda. After it has filled, I add the essential oil (or mixture) of my choice: lavender and vanilla are favorites.
I soak and relax for a few minutes, a big glass of water at hand, then begin a sequence something like the following:
1. & 2. Cat & Cow poses: inhaling deeply as you arch, and exhaling as your spine rounds
3. Lunges: front knee touches the front of the tub (my little tub, anyway), and reach through the big toe side of back leg, pressing it against the back of the tub. Throw in a little crescent/back bend if you’re moved to. You can hold on in front for security
4. Twisted Lunge: hands on the sides of the tub for leverage in your twist
5. Runner’s Stretch: bend one knee and stretch other leg straight in front; square hips; lean forward over straight leg, keeping a flat back
6. Janu Sirsana: sit back with one leg folded to the side as in Virasana (Hero Pose, step #10 above); twist torso to face straight leg and lean over straight leg; can use side of tub for leverage if twisting
7. Marichyasana–seated twist: from a seated position, bend one leg in front and cross the other one over (see photo above). Inhale, raise opposite arm from lifted knee, and cross it over. Use sides of tub for leverage. Inhale and lengthen the spine, exhale and deepen the twist
8. & 9. Navasana–boat pose: from a seated position, lift both legs up in front of you, forming a V shape with your body. You can rest your feet against the wall, reaching through the inner feet and pressing them against the wall. To test your core strength, lift both arms straight overhead as in photo above
10. Virasana–Hero Pose: from kneeling, allow seat to sink between the knees and touch the bottom of the tub. If this strains your knees, spread them as far apart as the tub will allow–but keep drawing your inner heels toward the sides of your buttocks; don’t let them splay out
11. Gomukhasana (“cow face”) arms: inhale and lift both arms overhead. Bend one elbow around behind your back and reach for midpoint between shoulder blades. Bend other arm from lifted over head and reach down back, trying to grasp the hand that’s between the shoulder blades (see photo above)
12. Seated Forward Bend: stretch both legs out in front of you. Inhale and lift arms overhead. Exhale, and fold forward from the hips with a flat back. You can grasp the faucet with both hands, as shown above, then bend elbows out to the sides as you exhale and deepen the forward bend. Try not to round your spine too much
Final Pose– Legs Up the Wall (headline photo): turn around so your head faces the faucet. Scoot your hips as close as they’ll get to the back of the tub. Raise both legs and rest them against the wall, releasing all effort. Clasp your hands behind your head and cradle it, elbows resting on sides of tub, such that it can sink as low as possible without you drowning (ears are submerged; nose and mouth are not). Breathe deeply and savor this slight inversion.
Then turn back around, put your feet up (lower) on the front edge. Relax completely.
Enjoy your yoga bath, and take care!
P.S. For more on bathtub yoga, visit tubyoga.com by Susan Atkinson