yoga article

‘Bored of yoga?’ I’d been skim-reading women’s magazines at the hairdressers, killing time with a head full of highlighting foils, when this headline leapt off the page.

The article dismissed common or garden ‘yoga’ as last season’s trend, along with the baby pink coat or bushy eyebrows, and proceeded to offer a range of newer, more intoxicating alternatives. Fresh from Buenos Aires was clubbing yoga (no alcohol, no drugs and no shoes). Participants gathered not in a silent, white washed studio, but in a dark, throbbing nightclub complete with DJ and strobe lights. Yoga ravers did yoga, danced and spun and conjured up their own good vibes totally unaided by drugs (the only powder on offer presumably being spirulina).

I read on. There was some kind of wet yoga in a swimming pool, the details of which escape me, The magazine also offered the yoga-jaded something called Kickasana, ‘a blend of martial arts and yoga.’ I have to say, I was intrigued by this last hybrid, not least because of the cool name. Then I got to thinking – I suppose yoga has always evolved and morphed into new forms. This is nothing new.

We think of Iyengar, for example, as solid and well established – a foundational form of yoga. But it’s a mere babe in yoga’s 5,000 year history. B.K.S Iyengar, no doubt, broke some boundaries, when he split away with his own style in the 1960s.

I’m not deriding this exploration of yoga, be it aerial or underwater, or its fusion with boxing or martial arts. I would be a hypocrite. I adapt yoga to suit runners, cyclists and other athletes and will happily stir in Pilates or physio techniques if the recipe is right.

At the same time, it’s reassuring to return to the white washed studio and familiar postures. The walls are white and the poses are familiar for a good reason – to allow the mind to settle. The point is to go within, not be bombarded by external light, sound, waterjets or the like.

To ask: ‘Are you bored of yoga?’ is to totally miss the point. Yoga is supposed to demand a degree of patience and dedication. Let’s not lump it together with legs, bums and tums, HIT, ballet-style ‘barre’ or whatever is currently cool. It can’t be picked up, mastered and tossed aside in a season. Or am I just getting old? It’s a distinct possibility.

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