If you thought yoga was all about de-stressing and finding your inner peace in a calm environment, try looking up a Metal yoga class. Yes, they exist, and yes, they have quite the following.
In the past few years, more and more people have opted for yoga as their chosen form of exercise and de-stressing routine. With more people, come more tastes and preferences. And eventually, these people began experimenting with yoga – how could they enhance their routines to be more suited to their needs, their likes, and dislikes.
And along came the multitudes of unorthodox yoga practices. Starting with yoga classes that just prefer music that’s not commonly associated with the exercise, such as Black Metal Yoga, too far more seemingly ridiculous options like Goat yoga where goats are somehow incorporated into outdoor yoga lessons, the alternatives are endless.
In answer to why these practices have grown up in the first place, the most probable explanation is that these add spice to the otherwise slow-paced and seemingly-boring-to-most activity. People want to exercise, and yoga seems like an easy way to becoming fit, even more so with some added features. Another explanation could be that, these practices and classes are actually more of a method of self-expression for the organizers, and a way to reach out to like-minded people.
Andrew Tanner, chief ambassador for the Yoga Alliance and a yoga teacher for 15 years, called it the “postmodern era of yoga.” “Over the last 20 years, more and more people have started to break away from the traditional system and add their own modern, Westernized views into what they are teaching. And then those [students] started teaching, and their students have added even more layers of complexity,” he said. “That’s why you see people who are able to do these workshops like Goat Yoga.”
Consumer behavior experts also hail this as a marketing stunt on the instructors’ part, who are capitalizing on the consumers’ wish to stay in shape and healthy paired with their need for constant social interaction.
A question that has arisen repeatedly is that whether these alternative yoga practices can be deemed as the real stuff. Traditionalists argue that getting creative when it comes to personal yoga journeys is completely understandable, and up to one’s preferences, but at the end of the day, nobody is comparing or pitching these practices against traditional yoga. Yoga has been popular all across the world for all this time because of its inherently simplistic nature, and experts believe after a few years, it’ll all come back to this again.