Yoga isn’t just something you do on a mat, so the next time you want to take your practice to a different level (and aren’t yet convinced that goat yoga is for you), consider one of these interesting alternatives. In addition to providing the many benefits of traditional mat yoga, these practices provide their own unique benefit too.
What’s SUP? Stand Up Paddle yoga! Stand up paddle board yoga is great for those who like adventure…and don’t mind the possibility of getting a little wet. In SUP yoga, one must one work on balancing their body while on a body of water, which itself has its own unique flow. The added challenge of a paddle board makes this a great sport for people who are interested in the strengthening aspects of yoga. And because SUP yoga typically takes place on natural bodies of water, it’s meditative too. Tip: if you’re interested in trying it out outside of a class environment, choose a small body of water like a lake or a pond. Rivers have more waves and currents, which are difficult to contend with when concentrating on downward dog.
Aqua yoga is an ultra low-impact yoga practice done entirely in the pool. Not just any pool, though. Many classes take place in a heated pool. Warm water can be restorative by itself, but the addition of various yoga poses enhances its therapeutic value. According to the Aqua Kriya movement philosophy, “by taking the physical practice of yoga into the pool, many can realize periods of ease and access where they normally have little or none. In fact, many progress more rapidly in the water environment. In the freedom that the water brings, these practitioners are no longer distracted by the physical body and can find an alignment deep within themselves.”
Or, give aerial yoga a try. In this practice, the hammock is to aerial yoga what the mat is to traditional yoga, and it’s also what makes aerial yoga so special. Poses are performed with the aid of a specially designed hammock, which is made of sturdy nylon and designed to hold various parts of the body in different ways. The hammock aids in the execution of poses, and provides a unique challenge due to its swinging motion. This swinging motion can also be helpful, as it provides a break from the tension that can come from trying to hold a pose for too long.
Good Feet suggests exploring these activities in a class environment, where trained professionals can help you get the most out of practice in a safe environment. Whether you’re going by water or by air, you’re sure to find a fit with these out-of-the box ways to engage in Yoga Month. There’s still a week of September left!