From hatha to ashtanga, bikram to lyengar, there are a range of traditional yoga formats practiced all over. But as with all things wellness, people are pushing the yoga experience to its limits and creating new and original ways to twist and stretch on the mat. Ever tried a standard vinyasa sequence between gulps of beer? Or possibly a hatha flow in the open air with a baby goat nibbling at your mat? If you’re looking to shake up your flow, here are five unconventional yoga types to consider.
The age-old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” takes on a new twist via the ancient practice of Hasyayoga, aka Laughter Yoga. Combining prolonged laughter with yogic breathing, this joyous yoga practice is a single exercise that deals with physical, mental and emotional stress simultaneously and also helps to tone the circulatory system in the body. Started by Dr. Madan Kataria in India, laughing relaxes the body and triggers the release of endorphins, which in turn lowers blood pressure and strengthens the immune system. To get the scientifically proven health benefits of laughter, we need to laugh continuously for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re keen to try, there are Laughter Clubs all over the 852. #laughterislife
Yes it’s true, beer salutations is a thing! BierYoga was founded in Berlin by two certified yoga instructors and avid beer enthusiasts. As they explain on their website, they’ve taken “the philosophies of yoga and paired it with the pleasure of beer-drinking to reach your highest level of consciousness.” Inspired by the concept at Burning Man, co-founder Jhula is now running packed classes in Germany. BierYoga has even taken off down under in Australia to widespread fanfare. For beer lovers who enjoy yoga and yogis who love a good hoppy beverage, BierYoga is taught at a beginner-friendly pace with an open mind and love for the brewski. While we don’t have the original BierYoga yet, local brewery Young Master Ales hosts yoga sessions in their Wong Chuk Hang locale every so often. #spiritualboozing
Dog lovers will remember this viral video of cute Italian chihuahua Pancho transitioning from sphinx pose to cobra with his owner, Nic Bello. Otherwise known as Doga, canine yoga has been around a while but in recent years has seen a spike in popularity. In fact, Hong Kong broke the Guinness World Record last year with the world’s largest Doga class held in Stanley Plaza. Doga was founded in 2001 by New York-based yoga instructor Suzi Teitelman when she realized that her cocker spaniel liked joining in on her home yoga sessions, Teitelman began implementing doga at her studios and the idea has since spread worldwide. Seeking to strengthen the harmony between owner and pet, doga practitioners combine massage and meditation with gentle stretches for dogs. So if weather conditions aren’t ideal to walk, run, or bike alongside your pooch, consider practicing yoga in your living room. #zendoga
Move over teacup poms, micro pigs, and miniature donkeys. The interwebs collectively freaked out when baby goats leapt onto our screens so it stands to reason that Goat Yoga was a brilliant concept from the getgo. (It is, and it has captured the globe (and our hearts) by storm.) Started by Lainey Morse in Oregon last year, goat yoga is now so popular that her classes have 100+ waitlists- everyone wants the chance to om with her goats. Though the concept may seem a bit foolish, it is anything but. Goat Yoga focuses on disconnecting from day-to-day stress, anxiety and depression in a natural, urban environment surrounded by loving, adorable, friendly little goats. The happy distraction these furry critters provide is a truly therapeutic solution for those seeking alternative yoga options. #goattherapy
Yoga is an incredibly personal spiritual practice, so it’s no surprise that naked yoga can help you discover a brand new way of looking deeper within your own self. While this type of yoga can easily be misunderstood due to society’s preconceived notions of eroticism, naked yoga in its true form allows yogis to feel uninhibited, unrestrained, and further their mind-body-spirit connection. In addition to the well known benefits of yoga, naked yoga practitioners are able to experience greater self-acceptance, appreciation and self-actualization. #beboldandfree
Images courtesy of Pexels, Yoganonymous, BierYoga, Yoga Digest, New York Times and Petter Hegre.