In a perfect world, there would be nothing to keep paddlers from the water. No work. No stress. No injured shoulders and backs.

While you probably won’t be able to get out of the work part, there may be some help for you in the stress and injuries departments. How about trying yoga?

You don’t have to sit like a pretzel and burn incense to enjoy some of the benefits of this art that is thousands of years old. Yoga is no longer considered on the fringe, as it was 30 or 40 years ago. Millions of people in our society have realized the benefits of practicing yoga poses. And you can, too.

Yoga, which originated in India, means union of the body, mind, and spirit. In just a few minutes each day, you can practice yoga poses to improve flexibility and increase strength in the body. And all that will help you become a healthier paddler.

The poses or exercises, also known as asanas, can ease tight muscles, increase flexibility in the joints, and massage internal organs. You can try them at any hour of the day, especially before or after time in your boat.

You don’t need any special equipment to practice yoga poses, either. Yoga mats cost about $20 at most sporting goods stores, but spreading out a towel on the ground works, too. You can buy blocks and straps to help with poses that may be challenging. You can even use your boat or paddle to assist in some of the stretches.