Yoga is one of the fastest-growing wellness trends, and its popularity is only expected to climb. 300 million people are believed to practice yoga worldwide, according to TheGoodBody.com. Some practices are more popular than others, with vinyasa and hatha ranked as the first and second most popular styles, respectively, according to DoYouYoga. That said, there are a variety of unique and exciting forms of yoga for experienced practitioners and new yogis to try. We compiled some information about the latest yoga trends of the year, including forms of yoga that are in their early stages, as well as practices that have existed for years but are gaining more popularity now.
- The number of yoga practitioners over the age of fifty has tripled in the last three years, , according to TheGoodBody.com
- Out of every country in the world, yoga is growing fastest in Japan, where the activity experienced a 413% growth in a five-year period, according to Yoga Times
- 98% of people who practice yoga expect it to improve their health, according to the same article
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From beach yoga to fancy retreats in far-flung locales to yoga in the park, many practitioners are taking their downward dogs out of the studio and into the fresh air. When you’re stuck in an office all week, outdoor yoga is the perfect remedy to stress and sluggishness. According to Business Insider, spending time outside contributes to improved short-term memory, restored mental energy, reduced stress, reduced inflammation, improved vision, better concentration, sharper thinking and creativity, and the possible stimulation of anti-cancer proteins. Spending time in nature is also linked to improved mental health and improved self-esteem and mood. What better way to take advantage of the mental health benefits of yoga than to combine them with the many benefits of spending time in nature?
Aerial yoga is a form of yoga in which participants balance on a sling-like hammock that supports their body weight while they complete poses. The sling provides added stability, which helps yogis hold their poses longer and stretch more deeply. According to US News, aerial isn’t specific to a certain school of yoga, such as hatha, yin or kundalini. Instead, “it’s a practice that can incorporate different aspects of yoga, like certain poses and meditation,” according to Virginia-based instructor Susan Lowry.
One of the newest trends in yoga is Chroma, or light therapy yoga. Chroma is similar to other types of yoga, but it takes place in a studio that’s lit up with colored lights. Depending on the time of day the studio might be blue-lit to promote alertness and energy, or red- or orange-lit to encourage relaxation. According to an article by Healthista, different colors of light have science-backed effects on our brain. Blue light is shown to make subjects feel more alert than a cup of coffee, while red light boosts circulation and aids digestion. Chroma started in the UK, but a studio recently opened up in New York City, and studios are expected to pop up in more and more locations as the practice gains popularity.
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One trend that’s grown rapidly is the proliferation of online yoga on YouTube and other social media platforms. From personalities like Rachel Brethen (@yoga_girl) accruing 1.6 million followers on Instagram to YouTube stars like Yoga With Adriene, who has over 5.6 million subscribers, more yogis are connecting online than ever before. Many teachers have found that social media presents a unique opportunity to reach yoga enthusiasts all over the world and share their experience and knowledge with followers in places they’ll never get to visit. Many practitioners find that online yoga is a great tool to keep up their practice on busy days when they can’t get to the studio, or a vital way of practicing a form of yoga that isn’t available where they live. 24% of regular yoga practitioners turn to yoga guided by a video to destress, according to the Eventbrite blog.
Acroyoga is a physical practice that combines elements of yoga and acrobatics. Acroyoga is partner-based, meaning two yogis perform the movements together, with one partner in the lifting role and the other participant flying. While you might expect the smaller partner to fly every class, many participants can counterbalance a partner over twice their weight. Technique is more important to successful practice than strength, according to an article by MindBodyGreen. One benefit of acroyoga is the social element of practicing with a partner. Practicing with a loved one, friend, or someone you haven’t met yet encourages trust and bonding. Other forms of yoga can be much less social; acroyoga is a great way to make a new friend or connect with loved ones.
Laughter yoga is a form of yoga practice that places special focus on certain types of breathing, including laughter. The practice was developed by an Indian doctor named Madan Kataria in 1995, and it incorporates diaphragmatic breathing, the kind of breathing that takes place when we laugh. CNN profiled an Atlanta-based laughter yoga studio, where students began with “simulated,” or forced laughter, with the goal of moving toward genuine laughter. The practice is incorporates the science-backed benefits of laughter, which has been documented to relax the body, boost the immune system, trigger the release of endorphins, and possibly even extend your life, according to HelpGuide.