When it comes to working out — and yoga, specifically — we can sometimes end up falling into a humdrum routine. We end up doing the same flow, our body expects the same movements, and we end up with the same results. Boring, right? Well, that’s when it can be fun to think and look outside of the box at different (fun) ways to change up our practice! We’re rounding up 5 ways to try your hand — and body — at some fun, unique, and off-the-beaten-path (or yoga mat!) types of yoga!
This alternative type of yoga is pretty well-known and practiced. It involves heat (usually around 80 - 100°F) and humidity, sweat, and a whole lot of staying hydrated! Some of the *benefits of practicing yoga in high temperatures are the ability of your muscles to stretch without the risk of injury (better flexibility), increased circulation and oxygenation of your blood. Plus, it may be helpful to your heart health, and you probably will experience some stress relief (aside from feeling hot and considerably sweaty!). One type of hot yoga — Bikram — is very specific in its rules, including 26 poses and a 90-minute cutoff. Whether you try Bikram, or any other type of hot yoga, one thing’s for sure — you’ll definitely need water and a towel!
*While hot yoga has a number of benefits, it’s highly recommended that you consult a doctor before participating, especially if you are pregnant. According to Mayo Clinic, “If you have nohealth concerns and you want to try a hot yoga class, be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.”
Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… you doing yoga? With the use of a silk hammock, aerial yogis are able to experience a heightened (no pun intended) form of yoga practice. In contrast to conventional mat yoga, and through the movements involved — *inversions and balancing — the benefits are next-level (pun intended)! From increased range of motion and deeper poses to core stabilization and decompressing and lengthening the spine, practicing your flow in the air has its own unique advantages. It’s important to take care while posing upside down, but with the guidance of a teacher, you’ll get the hang of it (last pun)!
*Consult a doctor before participating in aerial yoga.
Laughter Yoga (Hasaya Yoga)
Knock, knock! Who’s there? One of the most unique types of yoga practices we have ever come across is Laughter Yoga. Aside from the obvious namesake, what exactly does Laughter Yoga entail — a side-splitting stand-up comedian instructor? Tickling? Clowns? The answer is none of the above! All you really need is your will to laugh! Created in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, in India, the unusual practice actually has scientifically-proven benefits. Between increased good moods and a positive attitude to reduced blood pressure and a drop in stress levels, it’s literally what the doctor ordered! In addition, according to the Yoga Journal, Laughter Yoga also boosts immunity and fights depression. So, how does one prepare for a Laughter Yoga class? Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to arrive at the class in the best of moods — but, you will probably leave that way! By going in open to being playful, you’ll benefit from the practice of laughter. With special guided techniques and a little key eye contact, you will be well on your way to a laughing (fit) practice!
Baby Goat Yoga (Caprine Vinyasa)
Created in 2016 by Heather Davies at Lainey Morse’s Oregon farm, goat yoga has quickly risen to popularity. Aside from practicing your yoga with a group of adorable baby animals, you still reap the benefits of a regular flow. The challenge — and benefit — of practicing, is in the way you are able to keep focused on your movements. The goats end up climbing on you and distracting you, offering you an extra chance to mindfully overcome these interruptions. The goats have various ways of getting involved, including seeking residence on your mat, playful interaction (including licking the yogis), and even freely dropping ‘deposits’ around the room or area, responding when nature calls! The bottom line with this type of yoga, is that while you still get a good sesh in, you will feel happy and connected to nature, at the same time!
Bottoms up — and we don’t just mean your downward-facing dog! Who would have guessed that you can get your exercise on AND have some drinks? Beer yoga (yes, it’s a thing!) combines a little adulting (always responsibly, of course) with a little working out. Coined by Brooke Roberts (née Larson) in 2014, beer yoga is exactly what you think it is! Established by humble beginnings — picture living room yoga, a boyfriend drinking beer, and a challenge to drink the beer while posing — the practice gives new meaning to ‘happy hour’! Despite having received criticism from experts in the field — calling it gimmicky — beer yogis are essentially combining a good workout with a favorite pastime. And we're here for it!
If you’ve been in a yoga-practice rut, and think you would like to try something really different from your regular routine, one of these uncommon yoga ideas may be just the answer! Gaining the benefits of some good exercise, with a lighthearted twist, can only be a positive all around. You may even end up loving all of them, and keeping them in high rotation!