Offbeat Confessions: “Yoga and….” The Rise of Novelty Yoga

Yoga events are becoming more and more unique. The "Yoga and ___" trend is becoming the new normal, and I'm over it.

In the yoga world, it's hard to set yourself a part. It's actually an awesome problem to have-- there are so many great yoga teachers and ready yogis willing to attend classes. However, the niche market of yoga has taken some deep dives that I just have to highlight. My friends, is yoga turning into a fad?

A few examples to illustrate this question that were actually lifted from real life yoga events:

  • Goat yoga, dog yoga, horse yoga... any animal + yoga
  • Ganja yoga- sounds enlightening
  • Naked yoga or topless yoga (for the more modest)
  • Yoga raves- I'm actually down to go to this
  • Yoga Healing Ritual- whatever that means
  • Black Metal Yoga, Hip Hop Yoga
  • Aqua Yoga
  • Tantrum Yoga- you legitimately have a temper tantrum during class
  • Harmonica Yoga- played during Dancer pose of course
  • Karaoke Yoga- forget chanting om!
And then there's this...

By no means am I trying to poo poo all these events. In fact, I would even attend a few of them. These yoga events market themselves as fresh and unique just like Jazzercise and Step Aerobics once did, but like all fads, they'll fade.

Yes, call me a curmudgeon, but I'm tired of novelty yoga. For a long time, I too, wanted to create a new genre of yoga-- a mix of dance and yoga choreographed to electronic music. I still think about creating this event from time to time, but ultimately it would fade into the noise along with other similar events. I'm a natural contrarian, so if someone tells me I have to adopt bells and whistles to sell tickets to an event, I'm going to do the opposite. I don't have to trademark a new yoga style and franchise it across the country. I just want teach a good class.

Of course, a good class for me looks different than your definition. I teach my yoga classes with a combination of yin and yang. I like free form flow and creative movements paired with passive stretching and meditation. I prefer intimate classes where I can connect and learn about my students.

I recently talked with a woman who asked me, "What is Offbeat Yoga?"

"Well," I replied readily prepared with the answer after countless times rehearsing, "We are a traveling yoga studio that focuses on music, movement, and meditation to inspire your practice. Our classes are for any level."

"But what kind of yoga is Offbeat Yoga?"

What kind?? I wasn't sure what she meant by that, it wasn't like I invented a new style of yoga like Iyengar or Viniyoga. I ain't no Patanjali, mam'.

She must have seen my confusion and clarified, "I mean is it a special kind of yoga? Like yoga and... sort of thing?"

"Oh no, it's just yoga with a fun mix of music." I was almost embarrassed that I didn't have something more special to offer...

The lady smiled looking relieved. "Ok great! I've been practicing on and off for over 15 years and just want to do some regular yoga."

Wow, I thought, is regular yoga in short supply? Has the yoga community gone so overboard on creating a yoga niches that we've alienated our students by adding modifiers to the word yoga?

It's fun to try new things, but yoga isn't about the special effect lighting. Each practice is new, because you are different from day to day. You change physically, you change mentally. What will keep you going in your practice? Probably not goats. You go to yoga to pause, you go to vitalize your mind and body, you go to share energy with others, and yes-- you go to have a good time! If the occasional yoga rave is how you accomplish that, do it. However, a yoga practice is more about routine than trendiness. With a consistent practice, you can train your brain over time to seek nuance internally rather than externally. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think novelty yoga is here to stay? Leave a comment below!

Finally, here's a little treat for you for reading. You get a "Blog Post and Video"!

2 thoughts on “Offbeat Confessions: “Yoga and….” The Rise of Novelty Yoga

  1. Funny you posted this today. My friend asked me yesterday if I wanted to go to ‘cat yoga’. I said what the hell is cat yoga and why would I want a cat crawling on me when I’m trying to be zen or strong. What a distraction!

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