Fusion Styles Offer Fresh Choices
While interest in traditional yoga remains strong, a groundswell of new styles looks to accommodate our changing times. With approaches ranging from yoga designed for curvy women to paddle board yoga, there is something for everyone.
“I can see a definite trend of mixing yoga with all sorts of new activities and passions,” says Sophie Parienti, founder of Yogi Times magazine and website, in Los Angeles. “I always keep an open mind. Whether it is acro yoga or art yoga, if it becomes a way to commit to a personal practice, why not?”
Innovative styles are on the upswing, including yoga blended with Pilates, resistance training and dance forms like ballet. “Yoga has been evolving since its origins and these variations on the traditional practice show exciting creativity and invite in people that are new to yoga. In particular, we’re excited to see yoga offerings that increase inclusion and accessibility to a wider and more diverse student base. Practitioners can only benefit from this direction,” notes Kerry Maiorca, chair of the Yoga Alliance and founder of Bloom Yoga Studio, in Chicago.
Newer forms of yoga are affirming that bodies of all shapes, sizes and ages can reap benefits. Moms-to-be can enjoy prenatal yoga designed to strengthen the body for childbirth, and aqua yoga—especially in a heated indoor pool—is helpful for those with physical challenges. Chair yoga is popular in corporate settings and senior centers.
Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Bikram and Hot, Hatha, Kundalini, Iyengar, Tantra, Ayurveda, Yin, Restorative
A decade ago, high-energy styles like power yoga were taking center stage; the current trend is toward gentler forms like restorative and yin. Instructors are prioritizing the safety and comfort of students.
“There is an emphasis now on the quieter styles of yoga, the introspective meditative forms. Many teachers are being trained to modify poses,” says Maiorca. “A big focus right now is trauma sensitivity—and how and if to use touch as an instructor, underscoring the message that we are safe on the yoga mat.”
The future of yoga is inspiring given the coexistence of tradition and modernization. “Yogis by nature are seekers and love exploring the new and original as part of the journey,” advises Parienti. “Focus on feeling good, whatever form it takes or whatever name it carries.”
Marlaina Donato, a freelance writer and multimedia artist, also authors books on spirituality and alternative health. Connect at MarlainaDonato.com.