5 Unconventional New Ways to Practice Yoga

Downward dog with a twist.

Jun 7, 2016

Tags:

Yoga, Wellness
SUP Yoga

(Luna Vandoorne / Shutterstock.com)

Loyal yogis the world over have adopted yoga as their preferred form of exercise and meditation. But we are a modern people who love to mix it up, and taking something tried-and-true and adding an extra, unexpected dose of fun only adds to yoga's benefits. For those chameleons who love to try something new, or jump on the latest wellness trends, these are five unconventional ways to practice yoga.

1. SCUBA YOGA

Scuba diving and yoga both depend on calm, focused breathing to enable optimal enjoyment and technique. So it's no surprise that the two are being combined for double the fun. Practicing yoga's meditative breathing benefits under water allows for a more controlled diving experience, preventing sore muscles, exhaustion and panicky moments. Scuba yogis use less oxygen - which translates to more time to explore the big blue. Applying yoga's approach of surrendering into the unknown perfectly complements the unexpected circumstances that may arise while diving. It's a win-win.

2. LAUGHTER YOGA

If you've ever witnessed a gaggle of toddlers hysterically laughing in unison at seemingly nothing, you have experienced the essence of laughter yoga. It's contagious. Practiced in groups, with eye contact, awareness and playfulness, the funny concept is actually steeped in heightening the beneficial physiological and psychological properties of laughter - including cardiovascular health and releasing endorphins that up one's mood considerably. The group setting also encourages social bonding, while shedding nervous energy and anxieties.

3. NAKED YOGA

Also known as nagna yoga, naked yoga has been practiced since ancient times as a way to fully connect with one's physical body and disregard material goods and conditions. Today it is popular for similar reasons - spiritually honing in on yoga's philosophies of accepting oneself wholeheartedly. As symbolic as it may be, there is something to be said for entirely freeing one's mind and body and letting go physically, mentally and emotionally. Zen, indeed.

4. YOGA WITH YOUR DOG

Downward dog takes on a whole new meaning when you are practicing the pose with your pooch. Aside from building strong bonds, Doga Yoga also teaches trust between companions, aids in relaxation and stress relief for both parties, can calm hyperactive furry friends and improves their circulation and range of motion. Now all you have to do is teach 'em how to bark 'Namaste'.

5. SUP YOGA

Stand Up Paddleboarding has become a mainstream water sport as of late, so why not make it even better with a yoga twist? SUP is essentially a surfing/kayaking hybrid of standing up on a board on the surface of the water and propelling forward with a paddle. Just like the scuba/yoga combo, both activities require the essentials of the other, in this case - supreme focus, balance and core strength. Swapping a mat for a paddleboard on water significantly intensifies the yoga routine. And being surrounded by nature is always a plus.

ELIANNA BAR-EL, CONTRIBUTOR
Elianna has a background in English literature and psychology and works as an editor and freelance wardrobe stylist. She writes on travel, fashion, food and inspiring people.