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Monday, November 12, 2012

Six Ridiculous Yoga Fads that Need to Die Immediately

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 7:30 AM

I feel so grounded and open.
  • I feel so grounded and open.

We love yoga. We do it 5-6 times a week, and by far our most transformative, euphoric experiences (outside of the bedroom) have occurred on the mat. Through yoga, we've overcome our two greatest fears: falling on our heads and farting in public. But at some point in the last few years, this ancient Indian spiritual practice has morphed into something all-together ridiculous -- and we're not even talking about those videos involving Jennifer Aniston's "yoga" abs. Since the first step of moving on is admitting we have a problem, we are enlightening you on the six most vexing yoga fads we've come across, so that we might burnish them from our minds, studios, and bank accounts.

See also:

S.F. to Get Its First Face-Slapping Parlor

Ridiculous Weight-Loss Procedures From a Soviet Textbook (pics)

6. Paddle Board Yoga

Paddle board yoga is exactly what it sounds like: Doing yoga poses while on a paddle board in the water. The idea behind this genius practice is that it's hard to maintain your balance on a paddle board while floating in the mf'ing ocean, and therefore you'll get more of a core workout. The phrase "staying grounded" is not just a hippie cliche. Being physically connected to the ground is important not solely so you don't fall on your ass (or in the ocean), it also draws on the physics concept we learned in 11th grade about every action having an equal yet opposite reaction. When your muscles push into the floor, even if just while standing, the floor pushes back. Gravity is here to help, not hinder you. Like its practitioners, we hope this trend drifts out to sea, never to return.

5. Karaoke Yoga

Oh, Los Angeles. We don't know how San Francisco got the freak reputation in California while you got off scot-free. But, no matter. Karaoke yoga was invented by L.A.-based yoga instructor Jennifer Pastiloff, and is a "one-hour 'joy-based' yoga-singing class." Despite the promise of joy, Pastiloff says that people often cry in her classes, especially when she plays the Beatles. She also notes that karaoke yoga is not about "alignment" or "singing well" but about "connecting and letting your inner light shine" and "being your most authentic you." Our most authentic self does enjoy wearing spandex and crying to Adele songs, so maybe she's onto something.

4. Yoga for Dogs, aka Doga

This has been a trend for a while -- it even got a New York Times nod in 2009. According to the article, doga "combines massage and meditation with gentle stretching for dogs and their human partners." This makes us uncomfortable on a lot of levels, and we're not even going to broach the bestiality-lite that entails massaging your pooch. First of all, your dog doesn't need to meditate. It's a dog! Eating and shitting are the only thing on your dog's "spiritual" agenda. Second of all, your dog's not just going to effortlessly lotus the day away with you. It's a dog! As one woman put it, "Peanuts, my retired racer greyhound, didn't participate at all. Instead, I did downward-facing dog while he ate the most treats he's ever had in a 60-minute period."

Included in this amazing fad are a whole line of ridiculous yoga toys FOR YOUR DOG, like squeaky Om Balls decorated with Sanskrit, Shanti sticks, and a floor pillow repurposed as a "lotus bed." For a faster and just as effective approach to your pet's enlightenment, you can also take all your money out on your paddle board and throw it in the sea. Wait, we have a better idea. It just came to us, through the glittering light of Lord Ganesha. You can bond and exercise with your pet by putting one leg in front of the other in a gently forward motion, colloquially known as walking. This activity, which we're calling Petercise, will cost you $45 a session, and includes an instructional DVD of us laughing in your face.

3. Naked Yoga

Naked yoga, or nude yoga for the artsy types, is yoga that "artfully explores the ancient practice of yoga without the confinement of clothing." For the record, we don't care if you want to be naked. We celebrate and support each and every jiggly bit you want to display to the world. What we object to here are two things: One is the premise that yoga clothes are "confining." If you're doing yoga in a three-piece suit or corset, then fine, that's going to hold you back from reaching the "fullest expressions of the asanas." But stretchy pants? Luon? There's nothing more comfortable than that. Hell, we've seen people practicing yoga in their pajamas with no problem.

If loose-fitting cotton is really inhibiting your relationship with the divine, then we guess we can't stop you, but we would encourage you to get a Hep C shot before touching your nether bits to those community mats. Second, naked yoga is not a style of yoga, any more than naked trapeze or naked double dutch. The fact that it's being marketed as something innovative feels disingenuous, in the same way that "laughing yoga" and "stripper yoga (sorry, 'vertical yoga')" do (both of which were runner-ups for this list).

2. Yoga on Horseback

Yoga on horseback makes paddle board yoga look relatively sane in comparison. For instance, if you fall off a paddle board, at least you're not five feet in the air on a MOVING ANIMAL THAT COULD EASILY TRAMPLE YOU. Yoga on horseback involves: "Using a horse as partner and mat, students will practice breathing techniques and grounded and mounted yoga poses to improve mind-body awareness, create greater flexibility and build soft strength. Classes will end with a short, guided meditation." Like doga, horseback yoga sells itself on the idea that a horse needs "to be mindful of their surroundings." And what better way to unlocking your horse's mindfulness than laying on its back while grabbing your heels in a mock-back bend? We can't think of any.

1. Face Yoga

Have you grown wary of having a Thai woman slap your wrinkles away? Us too. Good thing we've found this video. "Face yoga stimulates muscles," [dermatologist to the stars Neil] Sadick said on Good Morning America, adding that "although there's not great science around it ..." (You don't say! We'll just take your word for it then. Go on, Doctor) "compared to other technologies like chemical peels or Botox, we know that by stimulating any component of your face like your muscles you're going to have a beneficial effect in terms of your overall appearance."

Annalise Hagen, who wrote a whole book on the subject, cautions would-be fish face-makers not to try this without the aid of a trained professional: "If you just made weird squirmy faces randomly you'd get more wrinkles," Hagen says.  

You hear that, people? You can't just go sticking your tongue out willy-nilly and expect to reverse age! There is a technique! And we'll break it down for you: First, you slowly reach your arms backward in the direction of your purse or wallet. Then with straight legs and upturned corners of the mouth, bend forward to receive the spanking you so clearly deserve.

Namaste.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook. Follow Anna Pulley at @annapulley.
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Anna Pulley

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