When most of us think of yoga classes, the image of tranquil stretching in a quiet studio, perhaps with some faint meditative music in the background, comes to mind.
Well, it turns out there can be a lot more to the ancient Indian discipline. How about throwing some goats into the mix? Or smoking cannabis? Or doing it totally naked? TRAIN for HER has rounded up a selection of some of the strangest yoga sessions available.
1. Goat yoga
There’s a class in Oregon where, as you strike your sun salutation, a fluffy, horned animal might nuzzle your calves. Yep, it’s yoga with goats. On a farm in Willamette Valley, yogis are invited to meditate outside as goats wander around – and it’s supposed to be glorious. Founder, Lainey Morse, sees the classes as being able to offer therapy to participants who might be suffering stress or depression. After all, who can feel sad when there are cute animals bumbling, around keen to be your friend.
2. Naked yoga
Nothing says getting in touch with yourself and feeling liberated more than being legally naked in public and bending into weird positions – honest. In New York, you can do just that at a naked yoga class with the aptly-named company, Bold & Naked Yoga. It does exactly what it says on the tin: yoga while naked. The website promises “an explosive blend of athleticism, artistry, power, style and insight to create an experience that makes you feel alive.” Perhaps not for the body-shy.
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For those who like the high life, heliyoga in Nevada could be just the ticket – albeit one that costs $3499. For this, you get a helicopter that flies you from Las Vagas to the Valley of Fire State Park, which is considered one of the most remote destinations in the southwest of the US. Here, you and your exclusive group (up to six people) will enjoy a yoga class on one of the highest peaks of the state park in full view of the amazing red sandstone formations for which the area is famous. A Champagne toast at the end rounds off the truly luxurious experience. Better get saving.
5. Ganja yoga
Reaching a spiritual high has developed a whole new meaning thanks to yoga classes where participants are actively encouraged to smoke weed. While there are clearly many negatives to puffing pot, there are several health benefits. Researchers writing in Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that taking big drags of the drug can ‘train’ your lungs to be more efficient, while Outside journalist, Gordy Megroz, carried out his own study revealing that taking the anti-inflammatory drug made him perform better in the gym as it aided recovery.
Dee Dussault claims to be the first yoga teacher outside of ancient India to offer public cannabis-enhanced yoga. Based in San Francisco, her company, Ganja Yoga, says it offers “high-quality instruction, based on mindfulness and good alignment for injury-prevention, designed for anybody.” One thing’s for sure, you’ll definitely leave much more relaxed than when you arrived – not that we condone such activities, of course.
4. Dog yoga
Hate being separated from your dog but love yoga? Fear not! There’s a class in Florida called, wait for it… Doga. Because, simply put, it’s yoga with your canine friend. Suzi Teitelman began the unique discipline in 2001 after her cocker spaniel, Coal, repeatedly started joining her on her yoga mat. Doga is said to help the pet and owner bond as well as improving the hound’s circulation and bettering your posture – double win. The pooches can be held in your arms, laid down by your side or helped into their very own yoga pose. Talk about downward dog.
6. Heavy metal yoga
For those bored by the sound of bird call and meditative music, a spot of head banging to Iron Maiden should help wake you up. While the basic yoga moves remain the same, these sessions at Gymbox London (in partnership with StubHub) see attendees listening to heavy metal music as they bend and stretch, with the occasional ‘horns’ hand gesture and head mosh thrown in. Classes promise “to push your body to its sweaty limit and then focus on a heavily meditative state to calm your inner demons”. Band T-shirts optional.
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