By Chrissa Hardy
Do you find traditional yoga intimidating? Are the Sanskrit names of poses and the chanting keeping you away from your local studio? Or, maybe the whole “just you and your mat” thing is getting stale. If you’re interested in trying yoga, but want to add a unique twist to your workout, these trendy yoga hybrids might be just the ticket!
Fitness level: Great for beginners as this style involves a lot of massaging and light stretching.
Doga is yoga with your dog. In a Doga class, you move through a series of poses while trying to maintain yogic breath and calming of the mind. You involve your canine companion by positioning him/her in certain “dog versions” of yoga poses while also gently massaging them throughout the class. Your dog will alternate between acting as your partner in certain poses and as a prop in others. For example, in a resting pose, the person reclines, with legs slightly bent over the dog’s torso, bolster-style, to relieve pressure on the spine.
The idea of this class may sound silly and unrealistic; how can you focus on perfecting your Tree Pose if Fido is barking at you? While some classes can become chaotic or distracting because of the presence of the pups, the main goal behind this yoga hybrid is to have fun exercising and bonding with your pet. You can also practice this style at home with free videos and pose guides here.
Fitness level: This hybrid has a strong cardio component, but modifications are available for beginners and advanced yogis and hikers.
Hiking Yoga is the practice of moving through traditional yoga poses at different times and locations throughout a hike. Out of all the yoga hybrids, this one speaks to me the most. How can you be anything but calm and tranquil when you are in Mountain Pose on an actual mountain? Scenes and sounds in nature have a calming effect on people already, adding yoga poses to the mix seems like a match made in heaven. If you enjoy hiking and yoga, this is the workout for you. Find a yoga hike near you!
Fitness level: Great for beginners or yogis of any skill level.
What? Yes, this hybrid is exactly how it sounds. The concept behind this style is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. The physiological and psychological benefits are the same. In a Laughter Yoga session, you begin with fake laughter and eye contact with your classmates. The fake laughter will then turn to real, contagious laughter that should be combined with yogic breath. You might feel silly participating at first, but regular participants of this style have noticed a reduction in stress, less frequent bouts of the cold or flu, and an increase in an overall positive and hopeful attitude. Laughter Yoga clubs are free and are popping up all over the world. Find a local club here.
These are just a few of the latest yoga hybrid styles. If you’re looking for other ways to spice up your practice, check out YogAqua (Yoga meets Stand-Up Paddle-Boarding), Aqua Yoga (Yoga poses in water), Yogilates (Yoga/Pilates mix) and Yogic Arts (Yoga and Martial Arts fusion).
Some may feel that these new yoga trends take away from the original values and intentions of traditional yoga. While that may be these for some of these trends, I think it’s important to find new and innovative ways to make daily exercise fun. If that means spending an hour doing light stretches with your dog, so be it.
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image via CBSNews
September 10th, 2012