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12 Worst Yoga Trends That Distort The Tradition

When you think of yoga, you likely don’t think of chowing down on food or yoga instructors who sound more like drill sergeants. Yoga is designed to help your mind and your body, and many of the new trends emerging around the nation don’t really do that or trivialize what yoga is really supposed to be about. Whether you do yoga for your health, peace of mind or just because you love it, keep your eye out for these trends that distort what yoga is all about.

  1. Doga: Think your dog would like to do yoga? Yeah, probably not. That hasn’t stopped pet owners from trying, however, as this dog yoga trend (or Doga) has spread from coast to coast. While it’s all well and good to get your dog a workout, it would probably much rather prefer a run in the park to trying to perfect its downward dog.
  2. Nazi Yoga: If you think what your yoga routine needs more of is some good old-fashioned yelling, then you might enjoy this type of yoga. Named after the iconic "Soup Nazi" on Seinfeld, these yoga classes are run by an instructor who doesn’t take your inflexibility for an answer and demands that students work harder and better, sometimes shaming them in front of the rest of the class. Of course, since yoga isn’t just about body but about mind and concentration, it’s hard to see how this really gives practitioners all the benefits they should be getting from yoga practice.
  3. Yoga Dinners: Nothing goes better with working out than some hors d’oeuvres, right? This trend pairs intense yoga training with a post-workout dinner. If you’re the sweaty type or just don’t feel like eating a gourmet meal in your workout clothes, this trend is definitely not for you. While it does get away from the tradition of yoga, you won’t have to loosen your belt or unzip your pants courtesy of your stretchy yoga attire.
  4. Mobile Yoga: As if rollerblades didn’t already make you look silly enough, this yoga trend asks practitioners to strap on some skates before starting up their yoga routine. While it might be a good workout, it certainly takes away from the relaxation factor in yoga, as you’ll not only have to concentrate on performing your asanas correctly, but also not falling on your rear end.
  5. Funeral Home Yoga: While the dead are pretty much as peaceful and calm as you can get, most people would balk at performing yoga in a funeral home or a cemetery. Yet both of these places are becoming common destinations for yoga studios. If you’d like to meditate on death and your own mortality while doing yoga, then it might work for you. If you prefer something more upbeat, stick with traditional yoga practice.
  6. Yoga Competitions: Yoga is designed to be personal, working with your body and your mind to achieve a sort of harmony. In Western society, however, that drive to achieve balance and harmony often becomes a drive to achieve it better than everyone else in your yoga class. Competitive yoga is a growing phenomenon, taking the practice of yoga and turning into a contest, something that seems entirely contrary to the whole point of yoga in the first place.
  7. Yoga Dating: It’s pretty hard to concentrate on your breathing and your movements when you’re checking out the butt of the person in front of you, but that’s just what yoga dating is all about. This growing trend replaces the coffee or drink date with one centered around yoga. While it’s great to meet people who share your interests, it doesn’t seem conducive to conversation or improving your yoga.
  8. Naked Yoga: Many people can’t go on enough about how great naked yoga is and how it gets you in touch with your real being, without all those pesky clothes to get in the way. While the shedding of the often distracting status symbols is great, the reality is that with nudity comes sex, even if instructors adamantly claim their courses are non-sexual. The fact that many of these courses require students to pair up only further reinforces that there’s an element of sexuality to them. Why is this a bad thing? Because the quality of the yoga is often diminished by the sensuality. There are already enough things to distract you when doing yoga, naked yoga just adds another.
  9. Room Service Yoga: You can order up a massage, a bloody mary and get your dry cleaning done through room service, why not call up a yogi too? Many hotels, resorts and other hospitality facilities now offer yoga on-site either through classes or on-demand. While having access to yoga no matter where you go is great, why pay for something you can do on your own for free? It simply further commercializes the already over-commercialized practice of yoga.
  10. Ski Yoga: You know what hurtling down the mountain at dangerous speeds around trees and rocks needs to make it better? Doing it while in tree pose! Because, of course, everything is made better by adding yoga to it, ski resorts around the nation are now offering a variety of ski yoga classes visitors can take. While stretching out before skiing is a good idea so many places are combining it with everything from skiing to kayaking that it’s hard to concentrate on just the yoga.
  11. Aqua Yoga: Doing yoga outside of the water is great, why not bring it into a pool with you? Doing yoga in water can reduce some of the stress it puts on joints, but it also limits the types of movements you can do. There’s nothing really wrong with aqua yoga per se, it just doesn’t seem particularly necessary and follows a trend of bringing just about every land-based kind of working out into the water.
  12. Yoga hybrids: Some yoga hybrids just make sense, like yoga-pilates classes. Others, seem to cater to the easily bored, pairing up yoga with rock-climbing and golf. Are these classes good workouts? Sure. Do they really help participants gain better focus and really improve their yoga practice? With so many distractions, probably not.

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