Expecting an authentic experience at any yoga studio in the West is probably a tall order. There's a sliding scale of quality, depending on what you're looking for, and an instructor who knows the difference between Vinyasa and Ashtanga is a definite must! Beyond that, how do you decipher what's a good practice and what's a gimmick? There are a million different yoga hybrids cropping up everywhere, with each one claiming to have an intrinsic understanding and insight into the craft. Let's take a look at some new yoga practices to separate fad from fact!
There has been many a heated discussion over whether or not Bikram Yoga is legitimate. It's been around for a long time, with some yoga devotees and athletes swearing that it loosens them up and gives them a workout like no other. With studios temperatures in the double digits, Bikram Yoga practitioners sweat profusely, something that some claim is a great body detox. Others have claimed it to be unnecessarily torturous and even the product of a "cult-like mentality". Is Bikram the Cross-Fit of the yoga world? Yes and no. The hot temperatures will make you slightly more limber and add a distinct element of difficulty to otherwise easy poses, so Bikram is a challenge, but it is by no means the miracle yoga that some claim it to be. If the Bikram studio is too hot for you, don't worry and just roll our your mat elsewhere!
Dare to bare it all? If so, Nude Yoga might be perfect for you. This yoga embraces standard practices but does them, you guessed it, butt naked. The idea is to foster body confidence and instill a sense of group belonging. Some people swear by it and say that in the accepting chamber of the yoga studio it doesn't matter whose butt is saggy and whose is not. Nude yoga isn't for everything, so if you prefer to practice clothed, grab some figure friendly yoga pants and head to a studio more inclined towards your style.
Paddleboard yoga is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of practicing on a mat, you're practicing on the open water on a wobbly paddleboard. It's supposed to be incredible for posture and balance and devotees cite the mood-boosting benefits of working out in the fresh air. It forces you to concentrate like no other variation of yoga and requires a supremely fine-tuned sense of balance. Paddleboard Yoga might not be an ancient practice, but it's an offshoot that certainly builds upon the traditional study of yoga and takes it to the next level!
Now you can have your yoga and pint too! Beer Yoga was designed in Germany to cater to your inclination to be healthy and your desire to reward yourself for a job well done. Although websites touting the benefits of beer yoga state that a frosty brew actually takes you to a different plane of consciousness, that's a little tough to believe. This one might be a little more gimmick than genuine.
Coming straight on the heels of Beer Yoga is Rage Yoga, it's more riotous sister. Instead of seeking calm, participants are encouraged to yell and swear and classes are conducted to the tune of throbbing heavy metal music. Intense!
Ultimately, all that matters is that you get out there and move your muscles! If a type of yoga works for you, go for it.