Think about it! There are a lot of fitness formats out there…Strength/Toning, Kickboxing variations, Bootcamp, CrossFit, Step, Barre, Fusions, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga… Pick one and do your one hour workout and when class ends, you’re done until next time. If you think about it, most of these fitness formats tend to just that; all about the exercise or class. Am I right? BUT… there are a few formats out there that do take the exercise or practice outside of class. Yoga is one of those formats.
Think About It:
Yoga is more than a series of poses or “asanas” linked together to create a flowing exercise class experience. It actually is a Mind-Body practice. We get a lot of the body with the poses and learning to use our breath. We also get quite a bit of mind stuff and it certainly varies by the type of practice you do. Examples of the mind stuff include mediation, learning to quiet our minds during our practice, focusing on intentions, repeating and absorbing positive affirmations, and actively practicing being present in the moment…
All this is great stuff, but did you know that yoga is also a format that actually taps into a great need in humanity. That need is the “NEED TO BELONG.” Satisfying the sense of belonging is extremely important because when satisfied it opens the gateway towards satisfying higher level needs such as Self-Esteem and so forth. (Ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?) One way yoga does this is via organized community events that occur off the mat in addition to a yoga practice.
You’ll find that many yoga studios out there try pretty hard to “BUILD A SENSE OF COMMUNITY.” Building a Sense of Community is a huge goal! Here are some ways they may do this. Below are examples that I have had the pleasure of experiencing. I’m pretty sure there are other unique community events out there as well.
- Yoga in the Park – When the weather gets nice outside, some yoga studios will take their classes/practice outside to the community’s parks. Usually Yoga in the Park series are free or by donation only and open to any and everyone who wants to partake. (Classes are held often on Saturdays). A “Yoga in the Park” session lends opportunities for people to get exposed to yoga who may have never tried it. There are always those people who stop and watch and then some who possibly take the next step and join in. Of course it is also a great way to self promote the studio. Advertisements are often in the news papers, local news channels, and definitely on Facebook. From my perspective, it is a great experience to take your practice outside whenever you can and who doesn’t want to be outside to enjoy a nice day.
2. Yoga Under the Stars – Again, like Yoga in the Park, practice is taken outside but of course this is held in the evenings when it is dark outside. You may find this type of class in a nearby park by the studio or possibly by the gym’s pool verses inside the gym. It is definitely a nice change of pace. Plus when you place yourself in “Crescent Lunge” or “Triangle” a night ski filled with stars is definitely nice to set your “drishti” on!
3. Yoga and Wine – A perfect fusion class right! This type of practice combines two pleasures: a yoga practice first (safety first) followed by the opportunity to have a glass of wine or two as you mingle amongst fellow yogis and eat hors d’oeuvres. Those hors d’oeuvres may even include chocolate. The idea behind it is to “Take a Deep Breath, Relax, and Just Enjoy the Moment!” Nothing extremely fancy, but definitely fun for those 21 and older!
4. Yoga and Tea – Tea is known for its health benefits! Again, there is a little yoga practice followed by a little tea and an opportunity to mingle. However; the whole idea is to prolong the sense of peace that you get from your yoga practice by enjoying a cup of tea and thus slowly transitioning back into our noisy, chaotic, and stressful world.
5. Yoga Spa Night – Again combining two pleasures. A yoga practice followed by mini spa treatments. Of course this works great if you have a spa or spa techs nearby and the treatments don’t have to be elaborate. I had the opportunity to do this recently. While waiting for my turn for spa treatments, I had the opportunity to converse with fellow yogis over hors d’oeuvres. For my spa experience, I chose a mini facial and a massage. (Another option we had was a polish change). I have to say that I was so relaxed by the time I went to bed that I had an awesome night’s sleep. And yes, there were guys there too who certainly enjoyed the massage options.
6. Yoga Rave – A fusion of yoga and fun AKA Yoga Party! If you have an opportunity to attend one, go! Yoga certainly doesn’t have to be serious all the time! There will be fun upbeat music and people are encouraged to wear fun attire to practice in. At a Rave that I recently attended, popular clothing choices include tie dye, body glitter, neon, sparkles, colored hair sprays, body paints, and glow bracelets. Lights were turned low so the glow bracelets could do their thing. Our yoga flow was not complex; however, it definitely encouraged meeting new people with partner stretches, holding hands in a Warrior III variation, and Double Tree. We even did a few Acro Yoga Poses (Bird, Throne, and Folded Leaf) and ended with a little dancing. Who doesn’t want to meet other yogis out there?
7. Yoga Workshops – This is typically an opportunity to learn, practice new skills, and share knowledge. Often, the studio has an instructor on staff who is a subject matter expert on a certain topic or has the dedicated time to help you focus/practice on harder poses like inversions or partner poses that you don’t feel comfortable doing in class yet.
As I mentioned above, I’m sure more could be added to the list. These are just ones that I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy. And if you ever get the opportunity to do one, definitely do it! I’ve loved each and every one that I’ve been too. What other fun yoga events are out there? What have you had the opportunity to do? I’d love to hear from you!