Are the Latest Yoga Hybrids for You?

Yoga.  So many connotations for such a small word.  It can be relaxing, empowering, cleansing, and sometimes, a little intimidating.  For instance, the idea that you need to be able to contort into a human mandala can keep a lot of people from trying it. (Not to mention the patience of a Himalayan yogi and the leggings of Gwyneth Paltrow….)

yoga student holding yoga mat

Yoga.  So many connotations for such a small word.  It can be relaxing, empowering, cleansing, and sometimes, a little intimidating.  For instance, the idea that you need to be able to contort into a human mandala can keep a lot of people from trying it. (Not to mention the patience of a Himalayan yogi and the leggings of Gwyneth Paltrow….)

That may be the spark igniting the latest round of yoga spin-offs.  Doing HIIT yoga is an easier entry point for people used to fast-paced exercise than a Sanskrit-filled session of long poses. Or maybe it’s just genius marketing – add in dogs, or beer, and you’ve just doubled your demographic overnight.

Either way, whether you’re new to yoga, or are looking to spice up your traditional practice, there have never been more choices.  Yoga has been fast-evolving since it left India – most recently, aerial yoga and hot yoga were sweeping studios across the world, but the latest ones may surprise you.

For those focused on fitness, the current Athleta catalog spotlights three “yoga power mashups”: Budokon, Afro Flow, and Y7 (incorporating martial arts, African dance, and hip-hop music with freeflow, respectively). These are mainly available in coastal urban centers.

I’ve tried several at-home yoga alternatives: Chalene Johnson’s PiYo from Beachbody (fast-paced Pilates-Yoga combo) and BUTI yoga (tribal dance/yoga fusion), which has taken fire for not being yoga enough

For animal lovers, there’s something for everyone – you can practice with dogs, cats, horses, and even goats.

For those looking to up the “Ahhh” in their Namaste, as mentioned above, there’s substance-aided yoga: beer, wine or whiskey.  These events are often held at breweries, and may or may not involve balancing your pint.

“I refuse to take myself too seriously or do things just because I ‘should.’ I am an adventurer and I use yoga and booze as a tool to meet new friends, enjoy new experiences, and take care of myself.” –  “Just Add Yoga” oath

Some might question if we’ve lost a bit too much seriousness and such hybrids trivialize the history of physical and mental commitment behind yoga. Others might say, come for the dogs, stay for the peace.

Some questions that might arise: Is my end game a cave in Nepal, whip-cord hamstrings, or some flexibility in mind and body? Will I be quizzed on these Sanskrit terms? WAIT. We are doing a HEADSTAND?!

From its ancient origins in India, yoga has been wreathed in mysticism and extreme self-discipline, with stories of advanced yogis spent years meditating in caves pursuing enlightenment – it was a spiritual and mental program as much as a physical one.  Today there are numerous disciplines available.

yoga student holding yoga mat
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