Looking to try something new? Far from traditional Yoga’s ancient roots and mainstream modern adaptations, many alternative forms of yoga have become established in recent years. Here are some of the interesting types of yoga you can find across North America today:
Also called Anti-Gravity Yoga, Ariel Yoga is one of the most widely-practiced forms mentioned here and involves traditional yoga poses combined with Pilates and gymnastics, all while being suspended above the ground through the use of different hammocks. Classes are usually small to ensure each participant has sufficient space to swing and move, and also adequate support from the instructor. In what can look like a Cirque-du-soleil performance, Ariel Yoga allows blood to flow in new ways and removes some resistance found when practising on the ground, allowing more advanced poses to be performed with relative ease.
Dog Yoga (Doga)
Doga is a form of yoga that, as the name suggests, is practiced by owners along-side their dogs. While sounding strange at first, it’s important to understand that the idea behind this style of yoga is less to have canines perform yoga, and more to help increase the connection between the pet and the owner. Classes move through traditional poses, with each dog owner working with their dog to move their bodies, stretching and massaging them, and even occasionally using fido as yoga props in some poses. Fans of this form of yoga say it strengthens bonds with their dogs, and improves their health as well.
Taking elements from various party scenes and electronic music gatherings, Yoga Raves focus on stimulus from music and lights in a club-like environment. Classes often take place in the morning, with non-alcoholic beverages being served. Pupils often start in slow stretches with more instruction and quickly evolve into a more freestyle dance party. The growing trend of Yoga Raves has been described as a healthy alternative to clubbing, and a high-energy way to start the day.
Focused on a lighter approach yoga, and often self-described as “wacky” or “silly”, Karaoke Yoga, as it sounds, involves singing as a group while performing yoga poses. Originating from Los Angles, Karaoke Yoga is said to connect groups in new ways through singing. Classes pride themselves on not taking the activity too seriously, and although the music can vary, most commonly, sweaty renditions of Top-40 and classic pop songs are performed.
Based on the beneif that in order to support you, your feet should be one of the strongest and most flexible parts of your body, Yamuna Zake’s New York-based Stilleto Yoga class may represent one of the most recent new and trending forms of yoga. As the name suggests, poses are primarily focused on building strength and flexibility through the feet, the practice claiming to improve balance and make walking in high-heeled shoes easy. Although somewhat controversial, advocates claim the benefits are worthwhile, and that other forms of exercise are less focused on the health and flexibility of your feet.
Are these forms of yoga legitimate, or are they just trendy fads? Do ‘real’ yogis practice? These alternative methods very clearly aren’t for everyone and most are even promoted as being very niche, but the principles and ideals of Yoga are often represented regardless. Many of these classes introduce those who may not practice traditionally, which we always think is great as well. Every form of yoga can bring us together and offer a unique sense of community — depending on the instructor and the students on a individual level, there may be just as much to gain from practising well outside of the traditional, and outside of our immediate comfort zone as well.
Keep moving, Be versatile