The world of yoga grew a lot in 2016, and some branches were more off-kilter and unconventional than others.
As yoga continues to grow in popularity around the world, many are putting their own unique spin on the ancient practice. Here are 10 of our favorite non-traditional yoga class trends we featured in 2016.
10. Yoga with a View
Most Westerners were introduced to yoga in a studio or indoor class with mirrors, mats, and even artificial heat. But many are taking yoga back into the great outdoors to enjoy nature and great views.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, HeliYoga classes take you to an exclusive spot on the highest peak of the Valley of Fire. On the other side of the world in Jakarta, yoga practitioners don’t get quite as high but they get to enjoy the city scape from rooftop yoga classes.
9. Painted Yoga
Sometimes you have to get messy on the outside in order to clean up the mess that’s inside. Painted Yoga classes let your practice letting our your inner child by doing asana and meditation with bright colors and paint.
8. Sunrise Party Yoga
For those who want to put their days of partying all night behind them, non-alcoholic Sunrise Yoga rave and sound bath parties are on the rise. In Toronto, even grown-ups can have Pyjama Parties before heading off to work where they can dance at dawn, enjoy cold-brew coffee, get a Thai Massage, and of course, do some yoga to start the day right.
7. Kink Yoga
Don’t let the leather-clad, whip bearing yoga teacher/dominatrix scare you off. Kink Yoga in Australia may tackle taboo fetishes but at its heart is a safe place for yoga practitioners to explore facets of themselves that they otherwise would never have the courage to let out.
6. Harry Potter Yoga
Wingardium Leviosana!! Harry Potter Yoga Classes combined the very best of a regular yoga class with Harry Potter. Participants were encouraged to attend in their best robes or Wizarding outfits, and were read passages from the book during Savasana.
5. Yoga With Animals
Those who have beloved pets or companion animals already know the benefits of having a furry friend. The therapeuitic value of being near animals is even more compounded when they join humans in yoga.
Though most classes don’t require actual contact with the animals to enjoy their benefits, such as Goat Yoga or Dog Yoga (Doga) classes, some classes actually have yoga practitioners doing yoga on the animal like Horse Yoga at luxury resorts and farms.
Our favorite Animal Yoga class – Cat Yoga at various animal shelters where you not only get to practice with adorable felines playing around you but also raises awareness on pet adoption.
4. Circus-Inspired Yoga
Circus contortionists already look like they’re doing advance yoga asana by getting their bodies into pretzel-like shapes. But you don’t have to run away to join the circus to have some high-flying fun with yoga.
Even celebrities like Mick Jagger use circus-inspired Aerial Yoga to keep young and in shape. And the First Lady of Canada, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, a yoga teacher, posted about the life lessons she shared with her daughter when they do AcroYoga together.
3. Yoga and Weed
Some scholars suggest that the Hindu god, Krishna, smokes cannabis. As the plant’s medicinal benefits are now being more freely studied, many countries around the world and states in the US are beginning to legalize the use of cannabis, aka marijuana or weed, for medicinal and even recreational use.
Some yoga and weed enthusiasts are jumping on the opportunity to offer yoga retreats that feature flee flowing weed. But just like any medicine, too much can also be negative, so some classes which match the best weed for your particular dosha have also been developed.
One of the most popular fusions of yoga with pop culture in 2016 were Namasdrake classses which featured playlists from the Canadian RnB artists albums. The Drake-inspired vinyasa classes began in Los Angeles and were so hugely popular that it even went on the road to Philadelphia and other US cities.
1. Multi-Cultural Yoga
Yoga began as a Vedic practice in India, but as it was adopted by other cultures around the world, many have injected their own values and ceremonies into it. In Canada, the elders from First Nations tribes saw that the Eight Limbs of Yoga aligned well with their own Eight Guiding Principles. Down Under in Australia, aboriginal musicians and storytellers are incorporating their rituals into yoga classes to preserve and promote their own ancient culture.