Yoga is as Indian as India can get. A lot of us may finally be realising how helpful it is, but the practice of yoga started nearly 2,500 to 5,000 years ago. With westernisation, the Vedic life lost most of its relevance, but the practice of yoga failed to lose its appeal. In fact, the West has found the yogic lifestyle so spirituality satisfying, that many yogis travelled the globe, and began developing different forms of the practice to suit them.
From a peaceful and detached spiritual activity, the fitness regime has evolved into a billion-dollar industry, with yogis and yoga influencers enjoying a celebrity status. Shammi Gupta, a yoga practitioner, mentor, therapist and naturopath says, “Yoga influencers have the bandwidth to reach a much wider range of young followers than a traditional yoga guru. These influencers have been able to convince the evasive younger generation to partake in this practice. Consequently, yoga, in its applied form, has been able to play a significant role in dealing with psychosomatic problems that have become common today.”
The last hundred years brought drastic changes in the patterns of yoga, thanks to globalisation. In order to adapt to the western lifestyle, it became more about movements and physical postures. Western influencers and yogis have added their own touch to the act. According to Gupta and Dr. Taruna Mehendiratta, an Ayurvedic doctor, here are the most recent yoga trends that are popular worldwide.
Thanks to the hashtag #NYGyoga trending on Instagram, we learnt about a new form of yoga. Nude Yoga is believed to be started by a social media user called Nude Yoga Girl. The movement has led to social media users posting photos of themselves, trying out the new trend.
Dog Yoga or Doga is practised by the pet parent and the pet. The dogs enjoy the stretching and pet massages, even if they can’t actually do yoga. Doga is an amazing way to bond with your pet, especially when you practice together, where you and your pup are partners.
As the name suggests, aqua yoga is a type of yoga in which the asanas are performed in water. It adapts the postures and principles of yoga, to an aquatic environment. It is said to be even more relaxing and soothing, because of how the body feels in water.
Snake yoga is the latest bizarre fad that was started by self-confessed ‘mad snake lady’, Kwali Kumara. She uses tamed snakes in her yoga classes and workshops, in order to help people face their fears, and deepen connection to the spiritual and natural world.
A new way of practicing yoga by combining light and colour therapy techniques. Developed by Nina Ryner, it is a range of multi-sensory experiences which, approaches yoga and wellness in a new and exciting way.
When asked about western yoga trends making any dierence in fitness, Gupta, says, “I, who essentially am a purist, would love to disavow the modern and western yoga trends. But I have to appreciate and acknowledge that these flexible and non-restrictive trends have made yoga more accessible to everyone. It no longer is an elusive concept or an exclusive one. An added advantage is the birth of a new market, with a very high demand, for yoga props and ensembles. My opinion is that these trends are unsustainable. People propagate these only for its ‘fun’ element. The initial demand for the such concepts tapers o very quickly as the practitioners realise its uselessness. Further, I believe, these trends/ fads have nothing much to do with yogic ideology, which has sustained for centuries.”
Gayatri Iyer from SARVA says, “While yoga has always been a part and parcel of Indian practice and tradition, I feel western yoga trends have only catapulted it further, in terms of awareness and adoption. The fact that it can be combined with other workouts augurs well for millennials, since they are always looking out for something new and experimental. Global influencers like JLo practice this holistic workout, and have emerged as role models for millennials.”
YOGASANAS THAT DIDN’T ORIGINATE IN INDIA
Dr. Mehendiratta gives a lowdown on asanas that didn’t originate in India
Super Soldier Pose
Tried mostly by western yoga influencers, this pose asks you to balance on one foot, while hanging upside down, and grabbing the other foot above your butt.
Ninja pose is an advanced yogasana that requires a degree of strength and flexibility, along with a lot of balance. The pose is an excellent exercise for those who have a sedentary lifestyle, as well as for runners and athletes.
Humble Warrior Pose
The humble warrior pose stretches various muscles, like the back muscles that support the spine, the chest, and the abdomen. The pose helps with balance.