Yoga is more than 5,000 years old. But, staying true to form, this practice is ever-so-flexible, adapting to new trends that come along. And, there have been a lot recently — incorporating everything from adorable farm animals to techno music to paddleboards.
We asked Rebecca Weible, founder of Yo Yoga!, a New York-based studio, what it is about yoga that allows it to be so nimble to incorporating new trends.
Yoga, she says, is all about the union of the mind and body through mindfulness and being present. “Part of that is appreciating or accepting the circumstances influencing those moments and making that a part of your practice, like keeping calm and still while a goat climbs up your back in down dog,” Weible says.
Also, more people are learning the benefits of yoga, Weible says. “Incorporating trends can make yoga appealing to a wider range of people, giving them one more reason to try it,” she says.
There are also perks of doing different yoga practices throughout the week, Weible notes.
Adding a twist to your practice may make you more likely to hit the mat than to blow off class in favor of brunch or happy hour, she says.
“Another advantage is that it can give your practice a new focus when you break out of your routine,” Weible says.
So, without further ado, here are seven of our favorite yoga trends of 2017. They’re so good that we’re hoping they nama-stay around for a long time (sorry, we had to do it).
The Trend: Wall Yoga
These classes incorporate harnesses or ropes to help you strike a yoga pose with an assist from the wall, ultimately helping you work different muscle groups and hold your poses for a longer time. Plus, hanging upside down can just feel fun.
The benefits: Vertical Wall Yoga is great for injury prevention and recovery, says Jennifer Stuber, a yoga instructor with The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being near Las Vegas, Nevada. Because there’s no compression on the spine or joints, this practice is especially great for those who can’t bear weight on the head or shoulders. In the spa’s classes, for example, most stretches are very passive, simply allowing one’s body weight to give in to gravity. The wall acts as a great prop because it naturally allows bones, joints and muscles to let go of tension, without being forced into a stretch, Stuber explains. Most participants find that their mat and floor practice improves as a result of using the wall as a prop, she says.
Where to try it in the Chicago area: Prairie Yoga, 4701 Auvergne Ave., Suite No. 104 in Lisle has a state-of-the-art yoga center, with two studio spaces that are well-stocked with yoga props and wall rope systems.
Love it? Go here next: What better place to have a Cirque du Soleil moment than Las Vegas? It’s not an oxymoron. You can have a super-healthy vacation near Las Vegas at The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being. After you’ve gotten your share of Vertical Wall Yoga, the hotel’s Bod Pod can get a precise measurement of your fat versus lean muscle composition (the NFL uses the same device).
The Trend: Paddleboard Yoga
Over the past five years or so, paddleboarding has been picking up in popularity. Now, you can combine yoga with the water sport because there’s something especially zen about performing poses on a still body of water.
The benefits: Aside from the stunning views? Doing workouts on paddleboards helps engage your stabilizer muscles, explains Melissa Lewis, a fitness trainer who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and is the operations manager at Rocky Mountain Paddleboard in Boulder, Colorado. When you’re holding a plank position, for example, the instability of being on the water will make your core work even harder, she says.
Where to try it in Chicago: Chicago SUP Yoga leads classes on Lake Michigan at Montrose Beach.
Love it? Go here next: Really, just about anywhere you go on vacation, you can go paddleboarding, so long as there’s a nearby body of water. But an especially cool place to do paddleboard yoga? Homestead Crater, near Park City, Utah. It’s a beehive-shaped crater that was formed by melting snow. Inside of it is a geothermal hot spring where you can do paddleboard yoga inside the crater with Park City Yoga Adventures.
The Trend: Buti Yoga
This high-energy, up-and-coming yoga practice is all about unleashing feminine energy. It’s raw. It’s primal. And, it blends tribal dance, plyometrics and Vinyasa-style yoga into one dynamic class.
The benefits: The ab sequences will chisel your core. And, banging out drum beats on your mat will help unleash your stress, as well, says Emily Dison, a former NBA dancer who teaches Buti yoga in the Memphis, Tennessee area. The best way to put it: “If you feel weird, you’re doing it right,” she says.
Where to try it in Chicago: Buti Yoga is just starting to gain traction here in Chicago. Yoga Loft Studios offers a Buti yoga class at its Oak Park studio, 105 N. Oak Park Ave., 2nd Floor in Oak Park.
Love it? Go here next: Online! If you get hooked on Buti yoga, you can subscribe to live classes and access a library of 100-plus sessions online for $39.95 a month.
The Trend: Jock Yoga, or Joga
We’re starting to see more pro athletes, like Chicago Bears player Victor Cruz, open up about their yoga routines. Now, there’s a yoga class tailored to everyday athletes.
The benefits: A Joga assurance: Don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes. They’ll meet you where you’re at. But the idea here is that adding yoga into your training can boost your athletic performance as the practice boosts strength, balance, flexibility and agility.
Where to try it in Chicago: This emerging trend now has a home in Chicagoland. JW Marriott Chicago and the Spa at JW Chicago recently brought on the newest member of the JW Fit Squad, Beth Horn, who is Chicago’s only joga instructor. (Her creds include starring on “American Gladiators.”) The spa team doesn’t usually put the fitness class schedules online because they can vary from week to week. But, at the time of press, Joga with Beth Horn was being offered every Thursday from 12:15-1 p.m. Anyone looking to take a class must sign up by calling 312-660-8250. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to sign up for Spa at JW Chicago’s fitness classes. It’s $20 for a drop-in class (non-members), and $10 for hotel guests.
Love it? Go here next: The beauty of yoga? You can do it just about anywhere. After you take a few joga classes and nail some moves, try it just about anywhere — from the basketball court at your gym between pick-up games to the sidelines of your kids’ soccer game.
The Trend: Goat Yoga
And the award for the most adorable yoga trend of 2017 goes to … goat yoga, hands down — or, hooves down, we should say. If you haven’t seen one of the viral Facebook photos showing off this trend yet, here’s how it works. Barns and farms are opening up their spaces for yoga classes and adorable baby goats are on standby to cuddle or even traipse across you while you’re in a downward-dog pose.
The benefits: Baby goats will take you from zero to zen in no time. How can you not just giggle and let loose when you’re surrounded by nature and adorable animals? Animal therapy offers a wide range of benefits, from reducing blood pressure to increasing mental stimulation.
Where to try it in Chicago: Kamins Farm in Grayslake doesn’t just offer goat yoga, but also barre in the barn. The farm keeps its Facebook page up to date with event information.
Love it? Go here next: Can’t get enough of the goat yoga trend? Head to Goat Yoga in Corvallis, Oregon, where it all started. Here, you can pair your goat yoga session with a wine tasting.
The Trend: Brewery Yoga
More and more breweries and yoga teachers are teaming up for pints and poses sessions where you can stick around for a craft beer after class.
The benefits: You earn your beer. If you weigh 185 pounds, you can burn 178 calories in a 30-minute yoga session, which is just about on par with the number of calories in an IPA. Andy Sparhawk, with the Brewers Association, says breweries have the ability to bring together a community. Breweries have also been popular places for tap room trivia, food trucks, bootcamp-type fitness classes and even fly-tying groups.
Where to try it in Chicago: Several breweries in Chicagoland have begun offering yoga classes. Check the events calendars at these breweries to see if they have any yoga, err, on tap: Baderbrau Brewing Company, Begyle Brewing Company and Temperance Beer Co. in Evanston.
Love it? Go here next: If you’re a beer-loving yogi, make the pilgrimage to Boulder, Colorado. Several breweries in this craft beer-centric college town roll out yoga mats for events. Here, Outlaw Yoga sets up classes at a number of breweries. You can also find swing dancing, book clubs, and art classes in some of Boulder’s bustling breweries.
The Trend: Glo-Ga
There are lots of stereotypes associated with yoga. For starters, let’s debunk the notion that it’s just for early birds who are doing their sun salutations. We’re seeing more and more glow-in-the-dark types of yoga that embrace glowsticks and techno beats.
The benefits: Practicing yoga in the dark requires extra concentration to keep yourself balanced. Plus, this is a great workout for night owls who find their zen after the sun goes down.
Where to try it in Chicago: These classes are more likely to pop up on events calendars rather than weekly class schedules. In the past, Rooted Self-Expression Center has led techno yoga events that have been smash hits. Soul Pose Yoga, which is put on by the same event organizers that do the Color Run, is coming to Chicago at Toyota Park on Sept. 2 and 3. Among the events is a blacklight session at 9 p.m. on Sept. 2, which includes glow-in-the-dark body paint. You can buy tickets online in advance for $20.
Love it? Go here next: W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island in Puerto Rico offers monthly complimentary “Glow in the Dark Yoga” classes for guests, where groups can strike yoga poses while the hotel’s DJ spins upbeat tracks.
Next up! What yoga trends are about to boom?
Curious what yoga trends we’ll be rolling our mats out to next? Weible sees a couple on the horizon.
The first? Cat yoga. While goat yoga is a fan favorite, if you’re outside of a rural area, it may be hard to find, Weible says.
“Cats have a relaxed energy that is perfect for yoga, and there are often an abundance in animal shelters who are often more than happy to lend a few to a yoga class with the hopes that some of them may be adopted,” she says.
The other trend that’s gaining popularity is one that Yo Yoga! is helping propel. It’s called Sound Off Yoga and it uses noise-canceling, bluetooth headphones for yogis to wear throughout class. It blocks out all sound except the music and the instructor’s voice.
“As yoga grows in popularity, so do class sizes and these headphones can help the wearer keep their focus on their mat even in a crowded class. It’s almost like getting a private session,” she says.
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Brittany Anas is a freelance writer who specializes in health, fitness and travel writing. She also contributes to Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, Trip Savvy, Simplemost, Orbitz, and Eat This, Not That! She spent a decade working at daily newspapers, including The Denver Post and the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, and she is a former federal background investigator. In her free time, Brittany enjoys hiking with her gremlin-pot belly pig mix that the rescue described as a “Boston Terrier” and coaching youth basketball. She also works with domestic abuse survivors, helping them regain financial stability through career coaching. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram.