How yoga has evolved over the years
Wellington: The new styles of “yoga” that are gaining popularity around the world are fun, fast and will make you serene while working on a six-pack, it has been claimed.
While acro-yoga “blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics and the loving kindness of healing arts”, naked yoga, which many may not deem “fun”, is certainly racy.
In hip hop yoga you do sun salutations to the soothing sounds of Eminem and in “Doga” people essentially use their dogs as props to deepen their poses.
Two new recent styles are stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga and hoop yoga.
Charlotte Piho of Work Out On Water paddled into the middle of a lagoon on her paddleboard to do her daily yoga ritual on a day when she found there were no waves to surf and it was too hot to go inside for a yoga class.
Her lessons in Sydney begin with a gentle paddle, but once you``re out on the water it``s yoga as usual.
Similarly, Gloria Tong found a way to fuse yoga with her other passion - hula hooping.
After attending workshops in the United States, where it’s a “big scene”, she began hooping in Sydney.
Tong felt that traditional yoga moves, or asanas, and the flow of hooping were a natural fit.
“I think different types of yoga are making yoga more accessible to everyone,” Stuff.co.nz quoted Tong as saying.
“It always comes back to the same principles of yoga: breathing, connecting and moving with your body,” she said.
However, respected yoga teacher and physiotherapist of over 30 years, Simon Borg Olivier has mixed feelings.
“On the one hand yoga means ‘whole’ or ‘complete’ so you could say that every new style is a valid yoga, and if something is safe and fun then I am all for it,” the owner of Bondi``s Yoga Synergy said.
“On another level yoga means ‘to unify’ or ‘to join’. The best way to do this on a practical level is improve blood flow because it brings energy, in the form of oxygen, to your cells... But, over-stretching or over-tensing muscles inhibits blood flow and the transfer of oxygen to the cells,” he said.
A traditional yogi may sometimes look like they are in very strong or contorted posture, but are not likely to feel like any sense of “stretch” or “tension”.
Yet what is mostly taught as yoga these days is actually over-stretching, over-tensing and over-breathing exercises that are physiologically known to reduce the flow of blood and the delivery of oxygen to the cells.
“People are confused as to what yoga is. The ancient system has been significantly altered.. and it’s been re-imagined in the last 10 to 15 years. The average teacher has only been teaching for four or five years - so [10 to 15 years is] already ancient history, yet most teachers think they are teaching traditional yoga,” Olivier added.