It seems the number of yoga studios is almost comparable to the number of Starbucks Coffee shops these days. With the steadily growing yoga industry, naturally, new styles begin to pop up, and yoga has begun to take on a life of its own.
Creative types of alternative yoga can be found in many cities across America. There’s beer yoga, paddle board yoga, and even goat yoga (yes, you can do downward dog while baby goats run around – and on! – you). While these nontraditional practices may make the die-hard yogi cringe, they offer a space for people who are looking for an outside-of-the-box way to enjoy all of the benefits of yoga. There are probably hundreds of alternative yoga classes and retreats out there, and we’ve come up with some of the trendiest out there.
5.) ‘Blind’ Yoga
Los Angeles-based yoga teacher and wellness influencer NamasteJenay has developed the unique concept of “blind yoga” and incorporates it into her classes. Blind yoga is the technique that Jenay believes helps yogis to “look within” and dig deep within themselves by keeping their eyes closed during sequences.
“We are constantly in a state of “out” – we look out, speak out, extend out, etc. Everything in our lives is constantly give, give, give, so it can be incredibly tough to really slow down and drop into ourselves,” she says. Jenay often teaches entire flows in her classes, but says that the concentrated energy is amazing even if the eyes are only closed for a few breaths.
“You are giving your eyes, brain and brain stimulation a much-needed break, but you are still fully aware and discerning of the pose.”
After 500 hours of yoga instruction and trying multiple forms of yoga, Jenay has found that blind yoga has been the most rewarding for herself and students alike. For Jenay, when the eyes are closed, one becomes more in tuned with the weight distribution in the body, noticing how every slight movement changes the sensation in the body and mind.
4.) Cannabis Yoga
Yoga is known to relax the mind and body through different poses and breath work. With yoga teachers like Yogi D, cannabis yoga seeks to take relaxation to the ultimate level. With the growing rate of legalization across the country, marijuana is becoming the fastest-growing business in some states. Businesses that incorporate marijuana into everyday activities are starting to pop up everywhere in legal states. 420 Yoga Retreats is a Colorado-based yoga company that incorporates marijuana into its classes. The retreats use marijuana as a way to foster deep relaxation and to encourage laughter.
This retreat is definitely for free spirits who are looking for a practice that will open their mind and elevate them to a higher level. 420 Yoga offers yogis a “soul-altering” experience with the beautiful Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. When yogis arrive to the retreat they receive a 420 goodie bag filled with joints and ganja medicinals to enjoy. Classes that you can expect are restorative,flow and partner yoga and a unique “elevated laughter yoga” for the more energetic yogi. Either way, a cannabis yoga retreat is a fun alternative way to enjoy yoga.
3.) Aqua Yoga
Yoga in water makes a lot of sense. After all, yoga is all about the mind and body flowing together, and what better substance than water to enhance that? Aqua yoga, or yoga in the pool, is a way that you can combine the traditional techniques of yoga with the physics of working in water to create a new way to practice yoga. Christa Fairbrother, aqua yoga instructor, offers classes to people who are looking for classes that are stress-relieving, pain-relieving and looking to venture out from the traditional practice of yoga.
If you’re familiar with aqua exercises, the buoyancy of the water helps to relieve stress on the joints and keep pain to a minimum. How exactly does this incorporate yoga? Aqua yoga uses adaptations of traditional postures, breath work and meditations to help people “find their bliss.”
2.) Yoga and Wine
Wine can go with just about anything, and even now you can enjoy learning about wine while perfecting your downward dog. Combining yoga with drinking is something that is pretty popular in the alternative yoga world. A quick search will show you several classes and retreats that combine beer and/or wine and yoga, which is a growing trend for wine lovers and yogis around the country. Companies like Yoga Unwined offer the happy medium between wine tasting and a yoga class. Instead of just offering wine after the yoga class, Yoga Unwined teaches facts during and between the different poses.
Founder Morgan Perry created the fun alternative yoga classes to combine all of the things she loves: yoga, wine and education. “You’ll hold a warrior 2 for three breaths, and I will give you a quick fact. Then we’ll flow through a vinyasa, and when you hold downward dog, I give another fact.”
After the vinyasa-based class, you can enjoy a nice wine tasting after savasana. Yoga Unwined is a unique way to merge two amazing concepts to create a relaxing yet educational experience, and it will definitely leave you feeling more than relaxed.
1.) Trap Yoga
Trap music and yoga seem like polar opposites. One of the intrinsic qualities of traditional yoga is the peace and quiet nature, which is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of trap. Trap yoga is a newer type of alternative yoga that is taking the quiet nature of yoga and completely flipping it, changing how you view yoga.
Brandon Copeland of Washington D.C. is credited with starting the first trap yoga classes. Copeland created the classes after videos of him doing traditional yoga poses to trap songs began circulating on the internet. Trap yoga was created to open the door to promoting wellness by merging nontraditional and traditional practices of yoga, and caters to trap music fans who want to find namaste their own way. It combines techniques of Ashtanga yoga, or a faster-paced, physically based yoga, with elements of trap music. Trap yoga was designed to be for all types of yogis. Whether you’re new to the practice or a seasoned yogi looking to spice things up, trap yoga was made for people who want to explore what it’s like to remove the quiet aspect of yoga.
Have you tried any of-the-moment nontraditional yoga classes? Comment with your favorite class below!