Yoga is extremely effective, but to some, redundant. Warrior one, halasana, child’s pose, repeat. That’s what yoga seems like to some outsiders.
However, yoga is anything but dull, and it doesn’t have to be the same old routine time and time again. Anyone who’s ever called yoga “boring” clearly has never tried these unique and fun classes offered around North America.
Like the peaceful yet powerful workout but need to mix it up? Visit any of these crazy classes.
Goat Yoga, Oregon
A lot of YouTube clips show cats or dogs interrupting yoga practices, but how many times have you had an adorable baby goat jump on your back during child’s pose? Lainey Morse’s Goat Yoga might be the hottest class in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, an arguably perfect coupling of nature, animals and yoga. During sessions, the very social and friendly goats wander around, sitting on mats, practically begging for attention.
“Animals are known to have many health benefits like lowing blood pressure and slowing the heart rate,” Morse said, “so combining goats and yoga can be very therapeutic.”
Zoning issues forced the class off Morse’s farm, but she’s since relocated to other locations, including Oregon State University and Emerson Vineyards, which offers beautiful views of Monmouth and the surrounding area. Want to attend a class? Better plan ahead. Morse says she has a waitlist of 900 people. Students live, on average, 100-300 miles away, and some have even flown in from other cities just to attend the class and spend some time with the crooning cuties.
Yoga and Beer, Indianapolis
Yoga can be thirsty work, so why not have a frosty IPA afterward? Held at Triton Brewing in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kati Black’s class is a unique mixture of students who look like they stepped out of the pages of a lululemon catalog or slept in the bar overnight.
Black was working as both a server at Triton and a yoga teacher when some regulars began asking where she was on her off days. When they learned about her other gig, they were intrigued.
“Most of them had wondered about yoga, but didn’t feel comfortable going to a traditional yoga studio,” Black said. “So I asked them about doing a class here in the brewery, and (not surprisingly) they were intrigued because it didn’t seem as scary. It works well because Triton isn’t just about great beer, we also want to support our community.”
These days, a dozen or more students show up at 9:30 a.m. every Saturday to do the $10 class, which is designed for beginners. There’s no actual beer drinking during the session, but afterward, most students belly up to the bar for a freshly poured pint. Can’t make it to Indianapolis? Similar classes are popping up in breweries across the country, so keep an eye out, or make a request at your local bar.
Bold & Naked Yoga, NYC
A naked yoga class might sound titillating, but it’s actually the best way for the mind and body to be more connected, say the founders of Bold & Naked Yoga in New York City.
Students are not only forced to be more mindful of body positioning in the buff, but it also helps them re-evaluate their relationship with their bodies and learn to actually love those love handles or pillowy thighs they once hated. Classes are kept small, with less than a dozen students. Any potential erotic charge usually goes out the window by the time students flow into happy baby pose.
Want to try it out? Contact owners Monika Werner and Joschi Schwarz through their website in advance; the studio address is kept secret to the public to keep potential gawkers away. Not sure you want to go the full monty? Clothed sessions are available as well.
Ganja Yoga, Toronto
Yoga has been known to relax the body and open students’ minds; by partaking in “the sacrament of Saint Mary” at the beginning of a session, teacher Lucelene Pancini of Ganja Yoga says students are more at ease and able to “perceive more” in class.
“This plant can give you so much magnificent information when your mind and your body are in harmony,” Pancini said. “I’m very happy to be able to provide that time and space for people.”
Technically, recreational weed is illegal in Toronto, but the Brazilian-born Pancini, who practices the Hatha, Ashtanga and Anusara styles of yoga, hasn’t had issues with local law enforcement. Classes are $30, and the 20 spots tend to fill up quickly. Her students are typically “very serious people with their shit together,” she laughed, “or else they wouldn’t be able to handle it!”
Im’Unique Yoga, Denver
Teacher Tyrone Beverly wants to make yoga more accessible, so his Im’Unique Yoga classes bypass the studio to go directly where the people are—he’s held classes at zoos, museums, professional football stadiums, even the aisles of Wal-Mart. Classes are aimed at the complete beginner—most of the students have never tried yoga before—but there is usually enough variety to satisfy a more advanced student.
Classes are typically free, with a community-focused conversation called Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers following.
After spending nearly a decade as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star, Robert Annis finally broke free of the shackles of gainful employment and now freelances full time, specializing in cycling and outdoor travel journalism.