Even the most dedicated yogi can find that sometimes their practice gets a little, shall we say, vinyawnsa. If you’re feeling bored with your regular flow classes, why not use National Yoga Month as an opportunity to try something new?
Here are 4 suggestions for specialized yoga classes that could complement your current practice or provide a chance to mix it up a bit:
Aerial Yoga: Sure, you do inversions all the time, but aerial yoga takes “downward-facing” to a whole new level. Students are suspended from hammocks hung from the studio ceiling and use their body weight to twist, flip, and fly, acrobat style. It has all the benefits of a standard flow class but is less stressful on the joints and tough on the core. Also moving while working against gravity requires students “to recruit more muscle fibers, which means you'll get a more full-body workout that burns more calories," clinical exercise physiologist Jacqueline Shahar told Harper’s Bazaar.
SUP Yoga: Combine surfing, kayaking, and yoga into one water-based workout and you’ve got SUP yoga. Performed on a stand-up paddleboard, this type of yoga requires the student to simultaneously keep the board stable and hold yoga positions. It’s killer for the core and promotes mindfulness, not to mention the added calming effect of being on a body of water. “Even plank pose is more challenging because your board is moving a little back and forth, and that added tipsiness activates your core and arms,” California teacher Gillian Gibre told Yoga Journal.
Doga: Downward-facing dog gets an all-too-literal twist with dog yoga, known as Doga. In these classes, students bring their four-legged friends and go through a series of movements meant to bond and relax both human and canine parties. “People always ask me, ‘Do dogs need yoga?’” NYC Doga teacher Kari Harendorf told the New York Times. “I say, ‘No, you need yoga. But your dog needs your attention, and bonding with your pet is good for your health.’” Don’t expect much of a cardio workout here—poses are often stretches or massages meant to relieve pressure. And if you’re lucky, you might get to end Savasana with a big slobbery kiss!
Yoga Tune Up: We all get tension from emotional or physical stresses and Yoga Tune Up classes can help. Using specially designed rubber balls about the size of tennis balls, the teacher will lead a class in poses that will roll out soreness, like a DIY massage. “It can be effective to get into those places of your body that classical yoga poses don’t quite reach,” says NYC-based Yoga Tune Up teacher Giancarla Boyle. “It can release myofascial deep tissue tension, initiate a mind–body connection and empower students to be responsible for eradicating pain and misalignment in the body.”
Have you tried any of these alternative yoga classes? Tell us about your experience below.