Yoga’s gone crazy and we are loving it.
A few years ago there were only about 13 types of yoga. And they were actual… you know… yoga. Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyanga, Kriya… you know, the types of yoga that constitute what yoga really is.
Yoga went crazy fast. Like Garry Busey crazy.
Yoga teachers have been having so much fun over the past few years. And yoga is totally in vogue right now. Everyone’s doing it. Even goats, cats, and dogs are doing yoga.
There are 16 alternative forms of yoga that the world has gone crazy for in 2017. These forms of yoga are all over Facebook and social media, and they’re changing the way we do yoga—some for the better, some for the worse.
Come gather around as THE DAILY MEDITATION goes totally bonkers and checks out 16 alternative forms of yoga.
The 16 Alternative Forms Of Yoga The World Is Mad On
You know yoga is great for positivity, right?
Yoga raves are even better.
Yoga raves are crazy fun. And they are totally safe for both youngsters and adults, as The Art Of Living has written about (5).
Yoga raves were created in Argentina by a group of (awesome) volunteers who wanted to do something to help created a more positive experience for people living in areas rife with drug and alcohol problems ().
Yoga raves are now popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, United States, Brazil, Denmark, Sweden and Berlin.
Don’t love rave music? Go to a yoga party that does rock, pop, or whatever genre of music you like.
Most parties also have beginner’s yoga classes so you can get involved even in you’re a yogi-newb. Or just chill and drink a smoothy at the bar. It’s all good.
How to do a Yoga Rave
Yoga Raves are gradually becoming more popular around the world. And if you happen to be in one of the major party cities in the world there will probably be occasional yoga raves nearby. Otherwise, you may very well need to travel. Or host your own yoga party!
The Benefits of Yoga Raves
- Plain and simple, yoga raved are about having fun.
- Yoga raves are also a great place to meet yogis.
- And obviously, you might meet the yogi of your dreams if love is in the air.
Horses have been man’s best friend for centuries. Sorry dogs, but historically speaking it’s the horses who have done most for mankind. Horses have been in wars, they’ve pulled carts to help us travel, they’ve towed loads to help us build early settlements.
And now, horses are doing yoga.
Horse yoga is precisely what it sounds like: doing yoga while riding a horse, and encouraging the horse to get into asanas too.
How to do horse yoga
Horse yoga is literally doing yoga while riding a horse. Of course, it isn’t possible to do all asanas while on horseback. So we recommend you try select few poses so you and the horse are totally safe.
Experts can also get the horse involved by leading the horse into asanas. Although I personally hate this idea because anyone who is not a master could potential injure the horse.
Benefits of horse yoga
It’s been proven that spending time with horses is very relaxing and good for mental health (1). Doing horse yoga can be even more beneficial. It’s a hugely relaxing exercise, even if it does look crazy.
Aerial Yoga / Anti-Gravity Yoga
Gravity be damned. Just because Newton was obsessed with gravity doesn’t mean we yogis need to be.
Aerial Yoga is all about defying gravity.
You’ve seen those insanely talented aerial acrobats who perform beautiful movements dangling from ropes like some dancing-angel-person? Well, Aerial Yoga is that done yoga-style.
Anti-gravity yoga combines yoga, pilates, and dance while using a hammock that is designed to support up to 300 kilos of weight.
The hammock supports the hips, allowing aerial yogis to bend safely while in mid-air. And with all that equipment set up, the yogi is free to perform asanas while dangling above the ground.
How To Do Aerial Yoga
You’ll need to buy an Aerial Yoga Swing from Amazon. It’s a hammock and swing you can set up at home to start doing aerial yoga.
Once you’ve got your Aerial Yoga Swing set up, test it by putting weight on it while you’re standing safely. This is way better than simply Nike-ing (Just Do It) because if you just do it and the hammock breaks you can kiss your asana goodbye.
Once you’ve got your Aerial Yoga Swing set-up, start by doing very basic moves like lunges and Boat Pose and gradually get more advanced.
The Amazing Benefits of Aerial Yoga
There are tons of great benefits of aerial yoga:
- Excellent exercise for strengthening muscles and joints.
- Good workout for rehabilitation after injury
- Increases blood circulation
- Improves digestive system
- Improves respiratory system
- Makes you look and feel like a sexy ninja.
Let’s be honest about this: Cat’s basically do yoga anyway, don’t they? Anyone with a cat (I have three) knows that cats are constantly stretching their body and getting into poses vaguely resembling yoga asanas.
So getting cats involved with yoga really is not that hard.
Simply start doing yoga and your watch as your feline friend get curious and ends up involved in your yoga practice.
Have fun as you (gently) involve the cat with yoga poses.
For the safest strategy, cat yoga is best done at a specific cat yoga studio.
How to do cat yoga
Unlike horse yoga, there is virtually no challenge to doing cat yoga. You just put a cat in the room with you while you do yoga.
Friendly word of warning: keep an eye out and make sure that you don’t flail a limp out around your cat—you definitely don’t want to do any harm to your beloved kitties!
Benefits of cat yoga
There are tons of benefits of spending time with pets (including both cats and dogs). When you combine the benefits of yoga with the benefits of pets only good things can happen. At least until you find yourself doing Wheel Pose when a cat jumps on top of you, as mine did the other day (naughty, Pumpkin, naughty!).
Karaoke yoga (what I call “Kara-yogi”) is probably the most silly of all these alternative yoga techniques. Utterly bonkers.
No prizes for guessing that this is yoga done while singing.
Tons of funs, Karaoke Yoga is not an advanced technique and it doesn’t require any training, you literally just sing while doing yoga. And yes, you can sing Taylor Swift or Rossetti, it’s totally up to you.
Your flat-mates will thank you for doing this one.
How to do karaoke yoga
Elementary, my dear yogi. Just sing while you’re doing yoga. If you’re a soprano, trill out some Carmen. If you have the voice of a donkey with laryngitis, stick to the pop.
Benefits of Karaoke Yoga
Helps with breathing
Could probably make an argument that it improves pranayama (breathwork).
None of the above have been proven as a shocking lack of scientists are interested in researching Karaoke-Yoga.
Doga (Dog Yoga)
There was no way that puppies were going to stay out of yoga for long.
Dogs yoga exploded onto the scene a few years back and immediately went viral.
Doga is basically yoga that incorporates mindfulness, massage, and yoga into one. Some yogis even do chants with their dogs!
There are two main types of doga. Either we use the dog as a yoga partner or we use the dog as an object. Either way, the point is to work as a team with the dog to find different posts.
But is Doga safe and pet-friendly?
There has been criticism from both the yoga community and -by dog charities who consider it to be unsafe.
You’re probably a loving, caring pet owner. So you probably already know what is best for your puppy. If you want to do Doga, just be mindful of how the dog is feeling when you practice.
How to do Doga
Begin doing yoga and wait for your dog to join you (most dogs will gladly join in).
Do your on yoga practice as usual and let your puppy get involved
Gently encourage your puppy to stretch
Gently incorporate your dog into your asanas (yoga poses) by touching, cuddling etc.
Benefits of doga
- Relaxing for both dog and human
- Potentially helps heal dog injuries
- Good exercise for dogs
- Improves relationship between dog and human
- Great fun!
Laughter yoga has surprisingly little to do with traditional yoga. It’s actually just voluntary laughter done for an extended period of time.
In laughter yoga, yogis get into a group and laugh for a long period of time while exchanging eye contact.
This practice has been going on in the West since the 1990s, when yoga was performed in parks and was popular with the elderly.
How to do laughter yoga
- Start by doing some gentle warm-up stretches for both the body and the throat. You might also like to do some chants.
- Practice breathing meditation for a few minutes.
- Start laughing while being playful.
- Exchange eye-contact with other people in the group.
- Continue for twenty minutes.
Benefits of laughter yoga
- Improves cardiovascular function
- Improves mood
- Heightens pain threshold
- Releases endorphins, making us feel great.
- Promotes social bonding
Ah. Truly the most controversial of all these alternative types of yoga. Cannabis. People either love or hate it And everyone’s got an opinion.
Yogis love arguing about the validity of Canabbis yoga.
Some yogis point out that one of the main yoga texts, Patanjali’s yoga sutra, states, “Cannabis use allows for a quieting of the outside world, and the ability to focus more totally on the interior process of meditation.” And that Kriya Yoga master Swami Satyananda Saraswati stated that cannabis could aid yoga.
Bid you know that Saraswati was also involved in sexual abuse allegations? And he may have raped a seven year old (2). Not the type of “guru” we like to follow here on THE DAILY MEDITATION.
So who is right? Is Canabis yoga legit? We’ll let you make your own mind up.
How to do Cannabis Yoga
Cannabis Yoga is done by passing around a joint while doing yoga. Stop if you do not feel balanced at any time or if you feel like you might pass out due to shortness of breath.
“Benefits” of Marijuana Yoga…?
Supposedly, ganja yoga helps the mind to relax and to clear (supposedly). This even though it has been proven repeatedly that marijuana causes anxiety (3). Marijuana helps with anxiety in people who are already addicted to it (in the same way cigarettes cure the itch for people who are hooked on them—but they cause the itch at the same time).
Supposedly, ganja yoga helps people with muscular problems There is evidence that suggests that marijuana helps with pain relief (4). However, there is zero evidence that ganja yoga helps with pain relief. So you might prefer to do an alternative exercise for relaxation. Personally I’ll do Tai Chi instead of Cannabis yoga. Why? Take a look at these 9 amazing benefits of Tai Chi.
Hands up who loves it when a kid throws a temper tantrum?
So you might wonder just why the hot-cakes you would ever want to do Tantrum Yoga, the style of yoga modelled after whining kids.
Then again, there are reasons why kids throw temper tantrums. They let out steam and release emotions. Which is very similar to what happens in Dynamic Meditation.
Yoga teacher Hemalayaa wanted to give adults the opportunity to throw a tantrum like kids do. So she invented Tantrum Yoga, an exercise in which we let it all out.
How to do Tantrum Yoga
Visit Hemalayaa’s blog to learn about laughter yoga.
Benefits of tantrum yoga
- Releases emotions
Mommy And Me Yoga
Actually, for a list of alternative yoga techniques, this, er, isn’t really that alternative.
Mommy And Me Yoga is simply about doing yoga with a kid. It can be done with one kid or with a group. And as for the Mommy bit… well… daddies are free to do it too.
How to do Mommy And Me Yoga
Simple. Practice yoga with a kid. It’s best to do simple yoga that kids will enjoy.
Benefits of Mommy And Me Yoga
- Great exercise for both kids and adults
- Strengthens bond between kids and adults
- Fun for the family or for groups
- Helps with many common kids problems such as anxiety, ADHD, and mood.
Paddle Board Yoga
Quick maths question.
If ocean = beautiful
And yoga = awesome
What is Ocean + Yoga?
Awesomely beautiful, that’s what.
Paddle Board Yoga is all about doing yoga in the ocean (or a pool, or the sea, or… you know, general H20-type environments).
The challenge is to stay afloat on the paddleboard while also doing yoga. Naturally, you’re going to need pretty darned good balance to pull that off. And that’s why paddleboard yoga is popular. It’s beautiful, relaxing, and it’s a challenge.
So how do you do it?
How to do paddle board yoga
- Get a paddleboard that is suitable for yoga (I recommend this one from Airtech).
- Visit your local ocean.
- Get out in the water on the paddle board.
- Practice simple asanas like Downward Dog, Camel Pose, and Bow Pose).
- Take a look at Yoga Journal’s guide for more on this.
- Remember to laugh everytime you fall off.
Benefits of Paddle Board Yoga
Excellent exercise for balance and cooordinations
Spending time at the beach is very healthy (take a look at this list of the healthiest hobbies for more on this).
As an Englishman I’m relatively keen on drinking the occasional beer. And naturally, I love yoga.
Put beer and yoga together and what do you get?
Actually, you get indigestion quite often. But you also get a fun alternative form of yoga.
When doing beer bottle you place a bottle of beer at the front of your yoga mat, meditate on it, and then proceed to do yoga while taking the occasional sip of beer.
How to do beer yoga
- Get some friends together or go to a beer-yoga group.
- Grab yourself your favorite brew (go local craft beer for bonus points).
- Put the beer in front of the mat.
- Spend five minutes meditating on the beer
- Begin doing regular yoga (Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyanga, whatever your favorite style of yoga is).
- Whet your whistle when you feel like it (take a swig of beer).
- Stop if you feel nauseous—you’ve drunk too much.
Benefits of beer yoga
Diddly squat. Nada. Zip. Nothing. Just fun. And beer.
The name says it all.
Nude yoga has become pretty darned popular over recent times and there are tons of Instagrammers looking for Insta-fame by doing nude yoga and taking selfies.
The notion is that nude yoga helps with body image. And perhaps that’s true, though there is zero research so far proving it.
How to do nude yoga
… if you don’t know how to be naked I don’t know what to tell you.
Benefits of nude yoga
There are no proven health benefits of naked yoga. However, Nude yoga enthusiasts point to the fact that there are many health benefits of being naked (6). The simple act of being naked connects us with our natural self and improves our self worth in this modern day when every poster is Photoshopped and when most people are made to feel like crap for having a perfectly imperfect body.
Hands up who loves weird but wonderful things? If so I’m willing to bet you love goat yoga and probably share a lot of goat-yoga-related stories on Facebook, right?
Goat yoga is one of the most popular alternative types of yoga. Why? Because GOATS! That’s why [insert extremely happy emoji].
What is goat yoga? It’s doing yoga (usually at a farm or yoga studio) while surrounded by goats. Some people actually get the goats involved with the yoga poses even though this is potentially dangerous for the goat (which is why I personally advocate just letting that cute little goat roan around of its own volition).
How to do goat yoga
Goat yoga is usually practiced at a yoga studio or farm. Look for a goat yoga class in your area.
Benefits of Goat Yoga
- So cute you will vomit
- Great for relaxation
- Connects you with nature
- Goats love it too!
Harry Potter Yoga
Blimey, Harry, this yoga thing looks a bit strange.
Harry Potter yoga is all about doing yoga while holding a wand and pretending you’re in Hogwarts.
This is probably the mentalist crap you’ve ever witnessed in your life. There is actually a yoga instructor who leads you through a Harry Potter story that you interact with by doing yoga.
Take a look:
How to do Harry Potter yoga
To do Harry Potter yoga, either grab a wand and start doig yoga while pretending to be whooping Voldermort’s butt, or book a lesson (seriously though, book a lesson, madness is more tolerable when done as a group).
Benefits of Harry Potter Yoga
You will kick Voldermort’s asana.
Hoop yoga is a fun alternative yoga exercise perfect for kids and bigger kids.
Actually, there is a lot more to hoop yoga than meets the eye and it might actually be worth doing.
Playfulness is what it’s all about. The hoop helps us to get into a more jovial, fun state of mind. And that sense of fun is great for relaxing the body. Actually, when you do hoop yoga you might find that you’re more flexible just because you’re more relaxed.
Hoop yoga is especially good at releasing tension in areas of the body that hold emotion: mostly the hips.
When you do hoop yoga your hips are freed and your emotions are released. This created flexibility for both body and mind.
How to do hoop yoga
Grab a hula hoop.
- Start by practicing traditional hooping if you haven’t done it before or are out of practice (take a look at Hoop Lovers Tutorial)
- While hooping, start to do gentle and easy yoga asanas while keeping the hoop rotating.
- Focus on the state of flow and be playful.
- If you find any areas of your body that are stiff, stop and do traditional yoga to get your flow back. Then return to hooping.
- Above all, have tons of fun!
Benefits of hoop yoga
- Tons of fun
- Boost your playfulness and creativity
- Improves overall yoga skills
- Increases flexbibility
- Loosens the hips
Which of these alternative yoga styles is your favorite?
16 crazy alternative forms of yoga. Have you tried them all? What did you think about them? Which are your favorites? And which do you think are just plain stupid?
Turns out, some yoga gurus really hate new forms of yoga
Yoga has become a very lucrative business in the Twenty First Century, with many once small businesses blooming to the multi-national institution level. However, one Yoga teacher is staying committed to the traditional, local style of teaching: Manju Pattabhi Jois, a Yoga guru fully commited to the old-school style—choosing his students rather than allowing his students to choose him.
Manju Pattabhi Jois could easily become a success at any intentional, big city yoga franchise, but he’s not interested in the bright lights, instead he’s touring smaller studios.
So far from accepting just any old student, to be enrolled in Manju Pattabhi Jois’ yoga training, you need “To have had a relationship with him personally, or with his father,” says Tina James, owner of Loka Yoga in Whistler BC Canada. “He’s been offered lots of money and turned it down. He just sticks with his long-term students.”
Jois is so well regarded that his Yoga classes sell-out the moment they are announced. People come from the U.S, the U.K, from Germany, from everywhere, in order to train with Yoga master Jois. He is one of the greatest Yoga teachers alive and has no interest in money; he is the true, legitimate, purist Yoga guru.
The son of the founder of the Ashtanga school of yoga, Pahhabhi Jois, Manju Jois has lived in the U.S since 1975, carrying on his father’s work—work which has included training Sting, Madonna and other celebrities.
What is this old-school Yoga guru’s take on the new style of Yoga teaching? “The tradition is lost,” says Jois. “Everybody is beginning their own style of Yoga and the traditions of Yoga are being lost. My goal is to keep tradition alive.”
Jois makes an excellent point. Creating a new brand of Yoga might be good business, but it’s not good for Yoga itself, for the spirituality and the tradition. “Naked Yoga,” “Hip Hop Yoga,” “Aerial Yoga” and the like might be fun new takes on Yoga—and the novelty good for their individual businesses—but the more Yoga is stretched out of shape, the less recognisable the traditions become.
To truly get the most out of Yoga, it’s vital to learn the traditions and the spirituality of Yoga, to learn the history of Yoga, not just the fun new fads.
Leave a comment.