From naked yoga to black light yoga, these classes will reinvigorate your practice
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If you loved those inflatable jumping castles from birthday parties and carnivals as a kid, you’ll love HotPod Yoga, a London-based company that offers Vinyasa in heated, inflatable, and portable studios. The calming purple lighting and cocoon-like environment make for a total mind-body experience. Though the class is heated, the pod's breathable fabric keeps the warmth in and the sticky, stuffy air and smells out. Success in pop-up locations across England has led to an Amsterdam studio and newly announced South Africa studio. Could the U.S. be next?! (Interested in heating things up? Don't miss 9 Things You Need to Know About Bikram Yoga)
Photo: HotPod Yoga
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Developed by West Coast mountain climbers in the late 70s and early 80s, slacklining is similar to tight rope walking, involving a mastery of balance, core strength, and flexibility. Instead of a thin wire, a slackline is slightly wider, allowing for more poses and tricks to be performed. This is no balance beam though—slacklines are roughly one-inch wide and give under weight and pressure, so slackers must use tiny accessory muscles to achieve the perfect balance while the line stretches and bounces. It's not easy, but the muscle tone and awed looks you'll get are worth the work. Casual meet-ups are often held in local parks (or anywhere you can tie a line between two trees), or look for an intro workshop in your area hosted by nationwide groups like the YogaSlackers.
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Forget strobe lights and body paint and think iridescent black lighting combined with heat, instrumental, tribal, house, and dub step music meet asana. So, like a super mellow rave. The brainchild of yogi Goldie Graham, Black Light yoga is taught at Back Bay Yoga in Boston. “This class is not about working up to a postural peak, but rather allowing your external stimuli to enhance your internal experience through what I call a full-body flow,” says Graham. Because you won’t be studying your posture in the mirror, the class can help you learn body awareness through movement and allows you to release inhibitions. Neon and white clothing is encouraged! We’re betting versions of Graham’s fun and funky flow will start popping up in studios across the country.
Photo: Courtesy of Goldie Graham
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Naked yoga is not a hippie-era revival and it’s also not entirely new to the yoga world. In fact, asanas in the nude date back to around the 8th century BC, with a yogic sect in India who renounced material things—including clothing. Modern-day classes are all about embracing your body and developing a deeper connection to it. Brave souls can find coed classes, but single-sex classes are also available. Test the practice in your own home with videos from Yoga Undressed. While this may not be for everybody, it might be nice to not worry about tugging down your shirt during inversions or showing your thong in downward dog, don't you think?
Photo: Yoga Undressed
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AcroYoga combines the spiritual nature of yoga, therapeutic elements of Thai massage, and grace and athleticism of acrobatics. While most of the work involves partnering exercises, you don’t need to show up with a partner to participate in class. AcroYoga practice is an exercise in trust, no matter whom you’re partnering with, and involves a lot of communication, so it’s great for social yogis who want to form connections in the yoga community. It’s often used as a performance art—maybe you’ve even seen partners Chelsey Korus and Matt Giordano (pictured above) at yoga events like Wanderlust Festival. Despite how difficult it may look, you can start at any level. Newbies should be ready to work on inversions and increase strength needed before moving on to more difficult partner work. Ticklish need not apply. (Will this craze catch on? Check out The 15 Next Big Fitness Trends.)