What’s more prolific than cats on the Internet? Yoga. It’s out of the ashram and into every fitness club, living room, park, and beach.
But yoga isn’t just yoga anymore; it now comes augmented with prefixes and suffixes denoting new cross-breeds – acroyoga (acrobatic yoga), spynga (yoga + cycling), laughter yoga, paddleboard yoga, yogalates (yoga + pilates), yoganetics (yoga + kinetics), and infrared yoga. Even life forms incapable of sitting up without assistance, not to mention our four-legged best friends, can partake in baby yoga and dog yoga respectively. What about turtle yoga, you ask? Fear not, I’m sure Franklin will soon be able to join in the fun too.
In a three-year span, 138 people applied for trademarks on yoga styles and products. That’s a lot of ways to stretch and a lot of pants types to do it in.
I’m no yoga snob, looking down on people who don’t practise it the “right way.” I don’t even do yoga. I can count on a frog’s hand the number of times I’ve actually tried it. I’m not a fan of the sticking-your-face-in-the-floor part; how are you supposed to breathe when you’re huffing in dust and dirt? And the only yogi I’m taking advice from is the bear who likes pick-a-nick baskets.
Yoga may have started out humbly, but it’s become its own industry. First, traditional yoga studios became as prolific as Starbucks – think about how many people you see wearing yoga pants and sipping from a Caffè Misto. But then regular yoga suddenly wasn’t exotic or alternative or exciting enough anymore. We had to get really hot doing it, or do it balancing on a board on the water. Is it really even yoga anymore?
And, of course, physical exercise is only one component – it’s also meant to be a spiritual practice encompassing the mind soul. But frankly, I don’t see much meditative about trying to balance someone on your feet, as in acroyoga.
I have to applaud the entrepreneurs out there who have come up with all these twists on a 5,000-year old practice and created a multi-billion dollar industry. Some of them have even accrued throngs of followers.
It makes you wonder what’s next. Someone’s already covered naked yoga. Maybe vegetables; those celery heads and carrots need to limber up too.