The Next Big Thing In Yoga
The practice of yoga provides a multitude of mental and physical benefits for people who maintain a regular routine. From meditation to flexibility, a yoga course covers a variety of fundamentals for any age.
Much like other fitness trends and health crazes, yoga is not immune to the changing demands of the fitness industry. So what is the next big thing in yoga? The answer might not be as complex as you think.
How Has Yoga Changed? Or Has It?
While some individuals perceive yoga as a means to increase flexibility and gain strength, it did not start as strictly an exercise routine. Instead, yoga was a way of life to effectively achieve balance and harmony between the heart and soul on a path to spiritual enlightenment.
Of course, through the years, many have observed the physical benefits of this practice. Soon, other cultures and areas around the world began practicing yoga and offering yoga courses to the masses.
From a means of incorporating daily meditation to an exercise that improves circulation and flexibility, yoga has not changed much. The big change in yoga includes how individuals perceive its benefits and use it effectively.
The Many Styles of Yoga Practiced Today
Of course, yoga is not only sitting still and focusing on breathing for hours, as some people think. Nor is it contorting your body into unnatural positions. While both of these situations fall well within the parameters of yoga, they are not the only elements.
With the many styles of yoga today, there is a practice for everyone. Here are some of the more popular choices of yoga practiced worldwide:
- Yin Yoga
This rigorous yoga practice came about in 1997 and involves using physical movement to follow the Universal Principles of Alignment and find grace while opening the heart.
This style uses the basic principles of traditional yoga practice, involving physically challenging movements to align breath with movements. Ashtanga uses the same poses, and students complete them in the same order with each practice.
This style involves students in an artificially heated room during their practice. Bikram includes poses that follow the same structure in each class but deviate from Ashtanga.
A gentle version of yoga that focuses more on the chanting, meditative aspect rather than physical movements.
This yoga style places meticulous focus on proper alignment within each pose. Students may use an assortment of props to help ensure correct form.
Relatively new to the yoga scene, Jivamukti began in 1984 by including music, chanting, and scripture readings as part of the yoga course to emulate liberation while living principles.
This style uses specialized breathing techniques, chanting, and meditation to help awaken the spine with various postures.
This spiritual practice starts every class with a corpse pose before moving on to breathwork and sun salutations, followed by a set of 12 basic asanas.
Vinyasa flow yoga is one of the more popular styles you will find, especially in beginner classes. It focuses on matching the breath with movement for continuous and meditative flow.
This slow, meditative style centers around circulation and flexibility with poses that the student holds for long periods, anywhere from one minute up to five minutes total.
Alternative Yoga Courses
Other alternative yoga courses becoming more popular than ever include:
- Acro Yoga
- Hot Yoga
- Social Variations including Beer Yoga, Dog/Cat Yoga classes, Nude Yoga
A modern twist on a traditional practice is performing yoga poses with a hanging silk hammock to encourage more inverted poses.
This physically challenging style incorporates a partner into common poses to build stability, communication, and fun into the yoga practice.
Similar to the Bikram yoga style, hot yoga classes follow an alternative sequence, so they do not classify as such. Each practice involves poses in an artificially heated room.
This incredibly challenging yoga style focuses on building strength and flexibility through poses that the student performs at an accelerated rate.
As the name suggests, prenatal yoga is for expecting mothers to help alleviate stress on hip joints and practice breathing techniques and is a low-stress practice to keep active during pregnancy.
This style uses props to help the student into several poses without exerting effort for the ultimate relaxation for overall rejuvenation.
The Next Big Thing In Yoga
With so many different types and styles of yoga already, what could possibly be the next best thing on the yoga scene? One common element of all these yoga styles is a convenience for the student.
As technology adapts and evolves, yoga practices have taken the internet by storm. As a result, many yogis are now converting their living rooms, bedrooms, or basements into yoga studios to perform various styles in the comfort of their homes.
Yoga classes online can give students the chance to explore new styles without being self-conscious or worried about traveling to and from a yoga studio. In addition, for many individuals, an online yoga course is relatively less expensive than in-person classes. Many options range from entirely free to only a fraction of the cost of studio classes.
While an online yoga course is better than doing no yoga at all, it will never replace the benefits a student receives from the in-person guidance of a teacher.
Remember to always check with your health care practitioner before starting any new exercise regime and take care not to overstrain when attempting various poses. The last thing any yoga student wants or needs is to injure themselves while performing breathing and movement work at home.