Bacon topped cinnamon rolls. Bacon wrapped dates. Bacon fried Oreos. Bacon infused vodka. Bacon wrapped bacon. Bacon was long ago established as the most versatile food on the planet. And yoga is the new bacon, now officially the most versatile way to exercise, due to its creative pairings with various foods, drinks, surroundings, and other activities. Aspiring and veteran yogis should be aware of emerging yoga practices around Phoenix so they don’t miss out on the latest ways to enjoy the phenomenon. Read on, pick a class (many available at eventbrite.com), grab a friend or two, BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat), and have a blast!
During an hour long session held at the Welcome Home Ranch in south Gilbert, approximately twenty goats will circulate and offer participants sweet hello nudges and bleats. These cutie pies, which range in age from a couple of weeks to 10+ years old, are trained to jump on the yogis’ backs during the various “table top” poses on all fours to give light massages with their feet. The animals like to dress up for any upcoming holidays and join in the free-form human pyramids at the end of class. Usually, a professional photographer is available to capture the laughs and unique poses, which makes it extra fun to go with a group and relive the experience afterward. Super fun for kids too (the human kind)! more info
Instead of bumping into goats during your workout, how about striking a nice long tree pose and attracting beautiful butterflies to come land on you? Enjoy a session inside the country’s largest pavilion, in Scottsdale’s Butterfly Wonderland, surrounded by gorgeous flora and water features. Classes are held at 5:30 in the evening, but not offered on a regular basis, so be sure to call ahead for details. This wins the award for most beautiful and peaceful yoga setting, don’t miss it! more info
Several breweries around town (Sun Up, Culinary Dropout, McFate’s and Pedal Haus, to name a few) have realized that beer and yoga can also be a brilliant combination. Each class comes with a pint or two, either to be consumed between poses or as a reward at the end. Instructors keep most of the tricky balancing moves to the beginning of class for obvious reasons, but by the end everyone is relaxed and capable of a perfect sasvasana. Snoring during the final stretch is pretty common and the sign of excellent form.
Switching to slightly more serious yoga (only slightly!), this is unique and ultra challenging! It’s yoga on stand up inflatable paddleboard platforms, so balancing is extra tough and the norm is to fall into the water many times. But no worries, you can always blame it on needing to cool off. These classes are offered at various heated city pools and accommodate all skill levels. Rental paddleboards are available.
This yogic sleep meditation involves no movement and is the ultimate form of deep relaxation. A calming, uplifting script is read in the instructor’s hypnotic voice, and the experience is transcendent. Practitioners claim that an hour of nidra yoga can be as refreshing as several hours of regular sleep, so this could lead to a jackpot of found time. Most first timers aren’t sure whether they truly ever fell fully asleep, but they certainly explore various levels of consciousness and it’s a lovely change of pace from the daily grind. Dream about goats, butterflies, or beer, pick your fancy!
This yoga involves fewer poses than a normal session, with each pose held for several minutes or more. This is ideal for healing from injury or surgery of any kind, though anyone is welcome of course. The focus is on relaxation, stretching, and meditation. This may be more challenging for the mind than the body for those who don’t sit still often or well. Life can be rough, and we could also use a little restorative yoga.
Like restorative yoga, because it’s in the more serious vein of practices, hot yoga is a therapeutic 60-90 minute detoxing sweatfest in approximately 100 degrees of moderate to heavy humidity. Some studios set their moves to music, others practice in silence except for instruction. Hot yoga is simultaneously intense and gentle and held in a darkened room that can be surprisingly comfortable despite the sometimes close quarters. As with all yoga, the stretching makes it a great post-workout workout, a wonderful complement to any other sport. Lots of water, a mat, and multiple towels are absolute must haves.
Coming Soon! Be on the lookout!