Yoga itself is a millenary tradition that includes many different practices. However, as yoga evolves to its actual form and adapts to cultures that absorb it, one thing is sure to always create an intense debate (online and offline): beer yoga, dog yoga, wine yoga, goat yoga… and any new yoga modality that goes viral for its novelty.
It probably starts with a yogi thinking how funny it would be to have yoga with cats. Then they record it, the short video goes viral and it becomes the fury of many yogis in Facebook groups and water cooler discussions.
So why are many experienced yogis open to teaching these new modalities?
Before we dive into the subject, let’s look at the TOP REASONS WHY PEOPLE DO NOT JOIN A YOGA CLASS. Here is what they say:
- Unsure if it’s right for me
- Do not know how to get started
- I don’t exercise
- No place locally to go
- It is too expensive
- My body type is not right for yoga
With that in mind, it will make more sense for you to understand why some first timers approach yoga through these slightly different yoga events.
These events make yoga accessible
Let’s analyze this item from a marketing standpoint first. Most professionally taken pictures for your more traditional yoga events/classes are beautiful people on awesome yoga poses, or greatly coordinated as a group, in colorful yoga clothing. Although this is aesthetically pleasing (and it works on so many levels!), for some, this is just outside of the things they identify with. It looks exclusive and it looks like it “might not be right” for them – which is the first objection people think of.
When you take yoga into a different context, like a local brewery, this is a place some have been before (or often). It feels like a smaller step into the unknown (and complex) world of yoga.
It makes yoga less scary
Especially if you are a fan of Instagram, you know yoga is often portrayed as this fancy artistic expression of complex asanas. Twisted poses with extreme flexible humans in incredible scenarios make yoga seem completely impossible for most people. While some feel that mastering the impossible is a fun challenge, a lot of people simply fall into thinking their body type is not meant for that or that they wouldn’t even know how to get started.
So when you take yoga into an environment where it is not about the perfect pose, but rather to engage with animals, for example, the focus of attention (and stress) changes. All the sudden new students can be more relaxed because the pressure is lifted from the studio walls.
It just looks like fun
This is quite obvious. If you are doing yoga, it’s because you like it. It’s because it seems fun. And if you associate yoga with something that people already understand as fun and entertaining (cats, dogs, goats), it becomes fun by association.
You must consider that some neighborhoods might not have yoga studios and alternative locations can be the only option. This also adds the benefit of having the location doing part of the promotion, by posting on social media and having flyers around. So your beer yoga class can attract beer lovers that would not otherwise think about joining a class.
Although some might argue that these events are ‘monetizing’ on yoga traditions, I have never encountered a yoga teacher that became rich with monthly events at wineries, breweries, etc. I am not advocating for doing yoga while drunk, or anything like that. But before we all judge some new yoga modality, let’s try and keep an open mind on who are they catering to and what problems they are looking to solve with that approach.
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