New forms of exercise like beer yoga are in vogue since 2015.
New Delhi: Traditionally, yoga as a form of exercise involves physical and spiritual disciplines to promote wellness.
With quiet ambience, clean air and perhaps some meditative chants, yoga is practised almost like a ritual.
However, in the four years since June 21 began to be celebrated as the International Day of Yoga, the form of exercise has been reinterpreted time and again to make the erstwhile meditative experience more contemoprary and “fun”.
Alternative forms of yoga — beer yoga, dog yoga or ‘Doga’, artistic yoga, aerial yoga, goat yoga and acroyoga among others have caught on since 2015.
Kavita Das Vasak, who owns Delhi-based “The Yoga Chakra”, says people’s curiosity has contributed significantly to the growing popularity of aerial yoga.
“Aerial Yoga adds a fun aspect to yoga. People are apprehensive because it is different but they are also curious,” she said.
Aerial yoga involves defying gravity and practising the postures in air with supporting equipments.
“It is more challenging because you are off the ground. The benefit is that all your muscles are engaged and your entire body is working out, so weight loss is quicker,” Vasak said.
Dog Yoga lets you work out with your favourite pal — your pet. Nandita Sikka, head psychologist at Pawsome Pet Wellness that offers Doga sessions in Delhi said the exercise allows people to bond with their pets while working out.
AcroYoga, or acrobatic yoga brings to the table a combination of acrobatics, yoga and thai massage. A young alternative format that emerged about 10 years ago, AcroYoga has become a trend among Delhiites in the last couple of years, Anuraag Tiwari from The Delhi Rock, a city-based institution, said.
According to Allena Humtsoe, a certified Level 1 AcroVinyasa instructor in the city, the emergence of these alternative forms can be credited to the “static” nature of the conventional practice.
AcroVinyasa combines the traditional vinayasa yoga and the modern inversion training. “Yoga might seem static, so you try other ways and do it as long as you benefit from it. It is not dilution of yoga but a union by adding more things to it,” Humtsoe said.
However, institutions and instructors imparting classical yoga lessons see the alternative forms as merely a fad, and warned against the negative health impacts they might have.
Harshit Mann from the Isha foundation said these trends were a bounce-off from the west, often practised without an understanding of the body and energy.
“There are ways of doing yoga wrong...They only take the physical element... The spiritual element is missing. It has become a fashion and it lacks the essence of yoga,” he said.
Mann who is going to preside over a hatha-yoga session at The Roseate here on Thursday, also added that yoga done wrong could lead to severe health problems like nerve damage and brain haemorrhage.
Nivedita Joshi from the Indian Heritage Society, who also conducts yoga classes at the Iyengar Yoga Centre Yogakshema here, feels the newer practises are a result of a “lack of knowledge”.
“The new ways are diluting Yoga. They are a misinterpretation... Which makes them a joke that can have disastrous results,” she said.