We tend to think of yoga as old and unchanging, but it's actually far from static. Rather, yoga is constantly evolving as innovators pick up the threads of diverse practices and weave them together. Some types of yoga that now seem well-established were once young upstarts themselves: Ashtanga yoga only caught on in the 1970s, power yoga became trendy in the 1990s, and Anusara was founded in 1997. These days, playful practices that take yoga off the mat are becoming increasingly popular, as are yoga gatherings like festivals and conferences. Let's take a look at what's happening in yoga now.
AcroYoga takes yoga with a partner to a whole new level, as one person performs yoga poses perched atop the other. The AcroYoga method, which includes class protocol, standard poses, and Thai Yoga Massage, was developed by founders Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein in 2003-2004, but has much older roots; yoga guru T. Krishnamacharya can be seen basing his young students in several old films available on YouTube (such as this one, dated 1938). Today's AcroYoga is intended to encourage play, human connection, and community. A mainstay of yoga festivals (see below), AcroYoga workshops and teacher trainings are in-demand throughout the United States and internationally.
AntiGravity Yoga, developed by Christopher Harrison in 2007, caught on swiftly and is becoming more widely available in specialized studios and trend-spotting fitness clubs like New York City-based Crunch. AntiGravity Yoga requires the use of a patented fabric swing, suspended from the ceiling, called the AntiGravity Hammock (natch). With the support of the hammock, you are able to stretch and strengthen without overworking your vulnerable joints. Though the moves may look acrobatic, they are actually fairly accessible and offer a fun way to change up your yoga routine.
Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is a trend in its own right; add yoga to the equation and you've got SUP yoga, a hot commodity. Just taking the paddle board out for a spin is a lot of fun and a good workout for the legs, shoulders, and core. Adding in yoga poses requires balance, concentration, a sense of humor, and a willingness to get wet. Many are also finding serenity and an opportunity to commune with nature. Check it out at your closest body of water.
4. Yoga Conferences & Festivals
Yoga conferences offer a chance to practice and learn with top teachers with expertise in a wide variety of yoga styles. Yoga Journal magazine is the most established sponsor in the United States, offering four national conferences each year, but smaller, regional conferences are also popping up all over. Likewise, summer yoga festivals are multiplying, particularly on the west coast and in Colorado. The perfect excuse for a road trip, these festivals feature a roster of sought-after yoga teachers as well as music, dancing, and, often, AcroYoga (see above), all in a glorious natural settings. Wanderlust is the leader of the pack, ambitiously hosting two major festivals in the summer and numerous smaller events throughout the year.