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A Beginner’s Guide to Hybrid Yoga

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Yoga has been around for thousands of years, with a history of being practiced all over the world. You have probably been encouraged at some point in your life to start incorporating yoga practices into your weekly routine.

Whether it is for stress relief, increased flexibility or strength building, we all have to admit that bringing yoga into your life would be a healthy practice. Creating a balanced and healthy lifestyle consists of both exercise and diet, and sometimes the combination can seem daunting.

So, where do you fit it in between work, family, travel, and perhaps an already established gym routine?

The answer for you may well be a new type of yoga being developed for the busy modern lifestyle: hybrid yoga.

What is Hybrid Yoga?

 

We have all begun to be familiar with the term “hybrid” in today’s society. A hybrid is anything that comes from two different sources, a “mix” of sorts. A great definition can be found here.

What does hybrid yoga mix together?

This is mostly up to you and what you already love or want to give a try. Hybrid yoga merges yoga with any other type of activity. Hybrid yoga is known for being incorporated into dance classes, aerial-rope routines, yoga and Pilates classes and even yoga with bodybuilding exercises.

Some active yoga practitioners say that hybrid yoga takes away from the purpose of yoga, polluting it into something it isn’t supposed to be.

However, there is not a truly “correct” way to participate in a yoga practice, as long as it is safe, part of the purpose of yoga is to fit it to your needs.

Bringing It Home

 

The question is: how do you bring it into your life? How do you know if you should give it a try? The first step is to figure out your schedule. Do you have time to add in another activity or are you willing to find a fusion class, yoga and another activity that you normally do?

Once you have decided exactly what kind of activities you are willing to replace or the spaces you have to add to, now you need to figure out what kind of hybrid yoga to try. This may be partially dictated to you by the options that are available to you at your gym or offered in your local area.

Beyond this, it is down to you. Here are some of the most common and popular fusions to try out:

Types of Hybrid Yoga

Aerial Yoga

People in studio doing aerial yoga

Aerial yoga has become very popular, with studios all over the world now. It is not just a combination of yoga with one other type of exercise. Instead it blends dance, Pilates, and yoga into one class.

The defining component of aerial yoga is the silk hammock that is fixed into the ceiling, curving in a U-shape away from the floor.

Each pose and activity are done with the help of this hammock, allowing you deepen your stretch, or make it more effective. This is helped by the weightlessness that is created from lifting your body up from the ground.

The main benefit from aerial yoga, other than giving you the unique experience of feeling like you are flying or floating, is the healthy increase of blood flow around the body.

CrossFit Yoga

 

For many people that have been unwilling to give yoga a try in the past, this option may be the one for you. For many people that are trying to build their fitness, especially through something like CrossFit, there is a stigma against yoga.

This stigma extends to people outside of CrossFit-ers. People that believe that yoga will not help them build their strength and endurance, so is it even worth it?

This is really an exercise myth. Your body needs recovery just as much as it needs weight training to be able to build a truly fit body. CrossFit Yoga helps athletes span this bridge a little easier though.

CrossFit Yoga is a mix of training along with a certain amount of physical recovery and dynamic stretching. This leaves the body feeling strong, active and stretched out.

Many types of yoga are also heavily based on endurance and body strength. Therefore, whether you are a CrossFit practitioner, or a yogi, this fusion is a great supplement to either routine.

Koga

 

Koga, both the practice and the name, is a blend of kickboxing with yoga postures. It incorporates punches with meditation, plyometrics with music and isometric movements with stretches.

‘Muscle confusion’ is a relatively new phrase being thrown around by physical therapists and trainers. Although muscles can never truly be “confused” the phrase is well-meaning.

The phrase is used as an encouragement to participate in a variety of exercises during the week instead of focusing on one or two types of exercises. To get a better idea of what this might mean for you, check out this article by Men’s Journal.

The purpose of the variety is to stop from landing on a fitness plateau. There is always more to build, a way to get stronger and more balanced. Sometimes it takes something new to break out of this rut.

Koga was created in a response for more creativity and to serve as a way to create muscle confusion. If one practice, yoga or kickboxing, was one of your core workouts in your week, break out of a rut by combining the two with Koga.

Acro-Yoga

2 people doing acroyoga

This form of hybrid yoga has been heavily popularized by yogis on Instagram and Facebook platforms, with pictures of two or more people twisted into all kinds of amazing shapes. What used to be only for gymnasts has now been brought down to a class-level for us to try out.

Acro-yoga doesn’t function so much as to combine two different activities but instead involves at least two people in the practice, a base and a flyer. The third person present it the spotter, someone there to keep you safe.

The base person is the one that acts as the support for the position. They need to be strong enough to hold the flyer in place. Many times, they will be lying on the ground, or very firmly rooted to the ground.

The flyer is the one that, although not flying, is suspended up into the air with the help of the base.

This exercise is great for increasing balance as well as core strength and not to be put lightly, trust and intimacy with the other person.

Core Fusion

 

Everybody wants the perfect summer body and one of the best ways to get there is by having a solid core. Core Fusion is a great way to fast track this as well as add to your flexibility and stamina.

Core Fusion Yoga is primarily based around body weight and harnessing that to provide resistance in the practice. This helps to build your muscular strength and flexibility, all while keeping the particular focus on the core.

Strengthening your core doesn’t just give you the added bonus of a rockin’ body, but it also helps deepen your overall yoga practice. Having a strong and balanced core is key to being able to practice more advanced yoga.

YogaHIT

 

HIT classes have been another growing trend in the last decade. Its popularity is mostly down to the brevity of the exercises, while at the same time the effectiveness of them for increasing fitness.

The acronym HIT stands for High Intensity Training. It is focused on explosive movements that are meant to be high cardio. Yoga is the yin to HIT’s yang as it serves to regulate breath and strengthen the muscles through slower and controlled movements.

Often, YogaHIT classes are offered at around an hour long and combine power Vinyasa with intense core workouts along with shoulders, triceps and leg muscle groups. It often cycles through rounds of Tabata-type workouts with cool downs based on common yoga practices.

Goat Yoga

Woman doing goat yoga

The last one has been growing in popularity with the growing trend of hybrid yoga. Although it might be confusing to figure out what kind of fusion this might incorporate, it really is exactly what it sounds like, yoga incorporating goats.

Part of the focus of yoga has always been to be in tune with nature around you, not only within yourself. The idea behind goat yoga is to put this nature right in front of you, very easily noticed.

In goat yoga, small goats are placed on your back in poses like cat and cow. This is supposed to help your body find extra balance outside of yourself as well as use the extra weight and resistance to build strength.

It is generally combined with caprine vinyasa, and should function to increase back strength, helping reduce back pain. If this is generally one of your goals in your yoga practice, check out this article to get more exercises that help eradicate lower back pain.

If you don’t have a goat on hand, you might try to make it Dog Yoga or even Cat Yoga, depending upon your pet’s willingness to participate!

Beyond these, or for an even deeper explanation, as well as finding where some classes may be offered in your area, check out Oxygen’s article on Fusion Yoga.

Why Should You Try Hybrid Yoga?

 

Now that you have an overall idea of the types of hybrid yoga that are out there to try, you may be thinking, “how can this apply to me? Why should I try it out?”

There are always the most common reasons that people give for exercising, and even more specific ones for practicing yoga. The explanation for the fusion is therefore a mix itself.

Trying something new

 

On a basic level, not many people like to get stuck in a rut. This is why so many people are drawn to travel and why the “mid-life crisis” has become a common behavior. However, without the time or the means to make travel a bigger part of your life, and sans the desire to have a crisis, bringing a new activity into your life may be just the thing to broaden your horizons.

A great way to break the first boundary of getting out there and trying something different is to look into your life. Do you feel like there is anything missing? Is there an activity that you used to gain a lot of enjoyment from, but haven’t had the time to participate in recently?

Chances are, there will be a way to combine yoga into this practice, bringing something familiar with something new.

Woman doing koga

Satisfying creativity

 

For many people, as they have grown into adults, the creativity that is fostered throughout childhood has fallen to the wayside. This exercise of the brain that allows you to see the world through different perspectives and evolving eyes has been dampened through the years.

While this might not be the case for everyone, if you feel like this has come to define your life, then hybrid yoga may be the way to bring creativity back into your life, in a healthy and otherwise supportive manner.

Muscle confusion

 

Like we touched on earlier, a large part of incorporating hybrid yoga into common training practices is to use muscle confusion to add strength and further your athletic ability. Muscle confusion isn’t just about trying something new.

After trying a new workout for the first time, have you ever heard someone say something like “Muscles are sore that I didn’t even know I had!” This is part of the idea behind muscle confusion. Just about any exercise will target certain muscles in certain muscle groups. If you do the same workouts over and over again, only these muscles are being strengthened, with little impact on the muscles around it.

Combining two of these workouts, moving your body in different ways, is the only way to break out of this and strengthening your body in entirely new ways.

If, even after these three, you still need to weight out some more pros and cons, check out this article by the Yoga Nomads.

After all of this, you may still find that hybrid yoga really doesn’t sound like it is for you. Keep in mind that there are more ways than just the ones listed above to incorporate yoga into your weekly routine. Also remember though, your fitness path is unique to you and your goals. If you don’t believe hybrid yoga will help you reach those, then you have the freedom to find another path. Don’t be sucked into trends, examine yourself and what you need, then decide from there!



Michelle Leong

About

Michelle Leong is your textbook freelancer. She writes on a Mac, visits boutique cafes in old rustic towns, and travels the world every 80 days.


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