Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D., ATRIC

Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi� System

What do you get when you combine three of the most popular exercise Programs and add water - AQUA PI-YO-CHI. The demand for classes featuring Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi continues to grow. For our water exercisers, we take these programs into warm, waist to chest deep water. Yoga and Pilates transition into the water following the principles and guidelines we use on land. Instead of Tai Chi we add Ai Chi to flow the poses and exercises together. Discover how they complement each other in developing strength, range of motion, balance, and relaxation when you combine the three together.

Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi� includes the strength of Pilates, the balance of Yoga, and the energy revitalization of Ai Chi and enhances your breathing, strength, range of motion, alignment, and balance.  Benefits are achieved through correct muscle initiation and use of the breath for movement while maintaining emphasis on the geometric box.  Regular practice leads to improved balance and correct postural alignment, increased core strength, and personal calm. 

Watching AQUA PI-YO-CHI is like watching a dance. The movement is flowing yet bold. Sustaining the yoga poses in the water requires balance and strength of the torso and the legs. Pilates emphasizes core body strength. Ai Chi naturally opens and stretches our body as it slowly moves through the water.

When first preparing to practice in the water, it is best to learn basic yoga poses, Pilates exercises, and Ai Chi movements separately. Once participants are familiar with the movements and positioning, you can begin to combine them together. The key is to determine which movements are similar in positioning. Always try to work opposing muscle groups as you blend elements from each into a flowing whole. You realize the true benefits when you move from the parts into a whole, like fitting pieces of a puzzle together. Yoga and Pilates were first brought to the water by the program developer, Dr. Mary Wykle.

Ai Chi was developed around 1990 in Japan by Jun Konno and popularized in the United States by Ruth Sova. Ai Chi develops the concepts of roundness, continuity, naturalness, and slowness. You use a combination of deep breathing and slow broad movements in chest deep water with an inwardly directed focus. The circular movements create harmony in the body along with improved balance and increased range of motion. The repetition of the movements encourages relaxation and tranquility. Examples of Ai Chi movements include Floating (Flotaci�n), Shifting, Accepting (Aceptar), and Rounding. Examples of Pilates exercises include The Hundred (Los 100), Pull-Backs, Single Leg Circles (C�rculos Con Una Sola Pierna), and the Warrior (Guerrero).
Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi
The Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi� System integrates Yoga, Pilates, and Ai Chi.  It is a specialty certificate program with the Aquatic Exercise Association.  It is a unique innovation that will teach you basic skills and how to use them in the water.  The system is all inclusive regardless of personal limitations.
Fluid Yogalates
Fluid Yogalates intertwines the poses of yoga and exercises of Pilates.  Each movement flows together with assistance from selected Ai chi moves.  Feel the large muscle influence on body positioning in yoga and the isolated muscle initiation of Pilates.  Flow it together with the round movements of Ai Chi.  Energize, stretch, strengthen, and relax in one program.
Aqua Pilates
The basic mat exercises developed by Joseph Pilates move to the water. The side of the pool replaces the mat used in the studio to reinforce the "Powerhouse" surrounding our torso. Advanced Aqua Pilates moves to the center of the pool and to deep water using flotation supports for increased challenge.
Aqua Yoga
Yoga is centuries old, but yoga in the water is still in its infancy.  Using Iyengar style of yoga, poses are transitioned into the water in form and alignment as close to land practice as permitted.  Water adds additional isometric strengthening, range of motion, and depth of breath to your yoga practice.
Aqua Core Contrology
Core Contrology keys on developing core stability using yoga and Pilates with equipment such as noodles, resistance bands, and ankle fins.  Larger pool products such as the water workout station allow you to key in on stabilization and "Powerhouse" muscle development.
Suspended Pilates with a Noodle
Flotation equipment adds a new dimension to Aqua Pilates.  Noodles are our versatile piece of equipment.  Suspended Pilates challenges core strength and provides a great work out.  The basic positions include the noodle providing direct support for suspension by placing it across the back at scapular level.  Maintaining a plank position � prone, or upward plank position � supine, is the ultimate challenge as the arms must be directly under the shoulders.  These can be learned in shallow water with the pool bottom providing needed support and then moved to deep water. 
About the Program Developer, Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D.

Dr. Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D. is an adjunct professor of physical education at Northern Virginia Community College and her company, MW Associates, offers consulting workshops in health and aquatics.  She holds multiple certifications in aquatics and fitness.  Mary is a long-time instructor for the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute and regular presenter for the Aquatic Exercise Association and IAFC and is a member of the AEA Advisory Board.  She is currently developing aquatic rehabilitation training programs for the U.S. Army�s Wounded Warrior Transition Units.    

Mary is known for program development with emphasis on core strength and balance training.  Her Aquatic Pi-Yo-Chi� course with supporting manual and DVD is a specialty certificate for AEA. She also developed the course and wrote the manual for Risk Awareness and Safety Training and the renewal course, Risk Awareness in Therapy Settings. 

Mary's recent recognitions include: the International Swimming Hall of Fame John K. Williams International Adapted Aquatics Award (2007); the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute Aquatic Professional of the Year (2006); and the NVCC Award of Excellence for Service and Teaching (2006-2007).