The laissez-faire and easy-going yoga community has spawned some phenomenally ridiculous mergers. I have “yoga” as a term on Google News, and almost every week I get fed a new example. I’m not saying every new approach to yoga is bad, but there’s one disturbing trend–i.e. the distraction yoga.
In the title, I refer to “hyphenated yogas,” but what I’m really ranting about is “distraction yogas.” A distraction yoga is one in which an element is brought into the practice so that one doesn’t have to keep one’s mind on one’s breath, alignment, and / or mental state. (Because who wants to think about that shit when one can be thinking “Wow, that kitten sure is cute.” or–believe it or not–“This beer has hoppy undertones.”)
Now before I get accused of hating puppies or beer, let me point out that nothing could be further from the truth. What I’m ranting against is the notion that you can marry any two good things and make a great thing. If you don’t believe me, please allow me to dip my nachos in your banana split. See, there are plenty of things that are awesome independently that make abominations when forced together.
I’ll include links as I go, lest you think I made this stuff up for hilarity’s sake.
5.) Beer Yoga: This is one of the most recent and intriguing distraction yogas. I’m not saying that one needs to follow a strict Vedic approach to life to practice yoga, but–come on–could you stop drinking for a couple hours to pretend your body is a temple (or at least that it’s not sitting in a trailer park with the windows busted out.) Unless “calf slaughter-yoga” catches on, it’s hard to imagine a less yoga-like practice than consuming intoxicants during the practice of yoga. By the way, there’s also a marijuana yoga, but I’ll lump these together as intoxicant yogas.
4.) Goat Yoga: This is one of many “animal yogas.” Like the others, the point is to have cute creatures around. How it’s supposed to help one’s yoga, I can’t fathom. Actually, I can fathom the suggested logic, probably something to do with calming and engendering feelings of compassion and well-being. But, ultimately it’s distraction by cuteness. Note: you can also do yoga with cats, dogs, horses, and probably river otters.
3.) Karaoke Yoga: Talk about distraction–nothing better than pounding music and reading a prompter to keep one’s mind off that ache in one’s hamstring.
2.) Rave Yoga / Club Yoga: This might be a cheat because it’s similar to the previous one on the list, and I’m trying to lump these together so as to not be too repetitive. However, it’s not exactly the same, and is the perfect example of a distraction yoga. (There’s also Harmonica yoga and other musical yogas, but I won’t double-dip anymore.)
1.) Tantrum Yoga: It wasn’t easy to determine whether I’d include this one or not. On the one hand, it’s not a distraction yoga in the sense that the others are. On the other hand, it takes the award for being least yoga like on the grounds that it’s not about dispassionately witnessing one’s emotional state but rather feeding one’s negative emotions. Note that I don’t group laughter yoga into the same class. I’m not sure whether laughter yoga is beneficial (or to what degree it’s a yoga), but I know that many people benefit from it because it bolsters positive emotional states.
Now, one may have noticed that there are many seemingly strange (hyphenated) yogas that I haven’t mentioned. I haven’t said a thing about surf board-yoga, stripper pole-yoga, or acro-yoga–and I specifically excluded Laughter Yoga from the wrath of my rant. That’s because this isn’t a rant about people being innovative or non-traditional, it’s about people missing the point of what yoga is supposed to be (i.e. a means to quiet the mind.) I don’t know whether I can see myself doing yoga on a surf board or a stripper pole, but I’m certain that one has to give it one’s full attention–it’s not about finding a distraction to make yoga more palatable to hipsters.