Alternative Yoga Practices
Yoga is a holistic workout that combines cardio and core-building exercises. If you’ve wanted to try yoga but aren’t into slow, gradual movements and meditative positions, then check out these four fun, extreme yoga fusions. These contrasting yoga alternatives are also great if you want to spice up your routine yoga.
How weird would you feel if you walked in on your yoga class laughing in unison as they got into a pose? That’s what you’ll find in Laughter Yoga classes! Laughter yoga was invented by Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria. It focuses on performing yoga poses with a concentration on deep breathing and laughter. It’s a group-based yoga relying on specialized techniques to spread contagious laughter that keeps you laughing sans jokes or comedy.
Is it good for you? Laughing brings more oxygen to your brain, waking you up and nourishing your brain cells. It also releases endorphins, lifting your mood. Laughter Yoga can thus serve as a psychological and emotional therapy during trying times in your life. In fact, psychologists state that forced laughter boosts your psychological wellbeing when you’re depressed. Also, research shows that fake and real laughter both lower stress hormone levels.
Laughter Yoga’s also good for your career. When implemented in the workplace for 15 minutes for 14 days, employee productivity, competency, motivation, and adaptability levels doubled.
Laughter Yoga makes you happy, invigorates your brain, and makes you more productive and improves your decision-making long after your workout. Since you’re laughing and feeling merry the whole time, it won’t even feel like exercise!
In stark contrast, there’s Rage Yoga, which was created by Lindsay Istace who studied yoga in three different countries including Beijing, China. If you enjoy boxing or martial arts more than passive or monotonous exercises like traditional yoga, then rage yoga is for you. Here you’re screaming, stomping, and throwing tantrums while doing your yoga poses. You can vent out your stresses if laughing them away isn’t your style.
Is raging healthy? Studies show that repressing anger and frustration is bad for you, but also found that yelling or screaming uncontrollably is bad for your heart and general health. Moderation is the key – which rage yoga carefully focuses on.
Aerial Yoga was founded by Michelle Dortignac. It involves doing yoga – in the air! You’re suspended in the air by yards-long nylon hammocks the whole session. You’re no longer limited by gravity or having to support yourself. You can go into poses with more depth, fully pushing your body’s flexibility to the max as you enjoy a greater range of movement.
Aerial Yoga is great for joint and back issues too. You’re better able to stretch and flex your joints, increasing their mobility and your agility. You can do new inversions that aren’t possible on the ground since you’re now freely flying through the air, allowing for better spine decompression.
Is it safe? One hammock can support up to 2,000 pounds. Some hammocks are even made from parachute fabrics – if they’re able to keep sky divers safe as they plummet toward earth, they can certainly keep you from falling a few feet to the matted ground while you’re doing yoga.
Aerial Yoga also helps you lose weight and prevent your risk for diseases if you’re overweight or obese. Research shows that exercises facilitated by anti-gravity equipment increases exercise tolerance and physical activity of disabled and overweight people who have a hard time moving around. Since Aerial Yoga increases your range of movements and allows you to flow through the air with ease, you’ll be able to work out for a longer period of time and burn more calories.
Aerial Yoga’s so exciting and fun that Pink used it in her 2010 Grammy Awards performance. You’ll surely be addicted to flying once you try it!
Take your yoga with you to the beach or lake this summer! While surfing or paddleboarding, you can do yoga right there in the water! The basic premise is to use your board as a yoga mat. While Aerial Yoga frees you from balance, Surfing Yoga makes it your critical priority. Like an extreme game of topsy-turvy, you have to keep your board balanced while you do yoga – and rocky waters and sudden strong waves only make this more challenging!
While Aerial Yoga lets you explore the limits of your poses, Surfing Yoga is about refining and perfecting them. If you’re placing too much pressure on one side of your body, the board will tilt and you’ll find yourself in the water! You’ll have to pay more attention to your movements, making you more aware of your techniques.
Plus, you’re traveling while you do yoga. It’s common for some yoga classes to start offshore and end in another harbor! While enjoying the scenery, you’ll get the added benefits of getting vitamin D from the sun.
If you want to capitalize on Surfing Yoga’s maximum health benefits, do it in the sea rather than a lake. The ocean naturally cleanses your body of toxins and replenishes its vital nutrients via osmosis. This automatically keeps your electrolytes up while you’re working out – no energy drinks needed!
Just don’t forget your sunblock, and remember — if you’re not graceful you’ll get wet!
If traditional yoga is too boring or slow for you, try these four alternatives. Each has an opposite contrast, so you’re sure to find one that suits your style.