Operating a gym is hard work. I imagine trying to keep a fitness studio going every summer is exercise enough for the owners. The people who make New Year get-in-shape resolutions start breaking their vows and regulars go on summer holidays to show off their earned physiques.
Gyms can get desperate looking for novel ways to bring in new people while keeping current clients interested.
Traditional yoga classes are no longer enough – studios now seek the latest trend and variations on old poses and salutations. A popular new idea is aerial yoga. Hammocks are suspended from the ceiling and instructors lead the class through asana poses and movements while wrapping themselves in the fabric. Because you’re hanging off the ground, the antigravity effect is supposed to be good for decompressing your spine and relieving stress. But I want to know whether all the blood rushing to my head would make me smarter?
There are variations and some classes are downright wacky. Wall rope yoga is popular for bringing out everyone’s inner Spider-Man. Apparently now, they also pitch a tripod on beaches to do aerial yoga over water. The touted benefits include connecting with nature and enjoying the peaceful waves. What’s next – suspending from bungee cords over a canyon for adrenaline yoga?
Whenever my gym tries to sell me such novel fitness concepts, I always ask myself, “Would Gandhi take this class?” I can imagine the great Mahatma putting on Lululemon, using a yoga wheel or even enjoying a juice cleanse. But I can’t see him doing dog yoga (doga) or horse yoga (hoga, yoga while riding).
I also doubt he would approve of beer yoga or ganja yoga – yep, smoking a joint to relax and find inner peace. Who on Lamma came up with that? Personally, I am waiting for someone to invent pizza yoga.
A different kind of baking is hot yoga, done in a heated room to increase your pulse, boost circulation and flush out toxins. I bet it started hastily when a yogi’s air conditioner broke down before a class. Some people seem to think hot yoga is also quite sexy as everyone ends up drenched and glistening in sweat. But it’s not so erotic when you step on someone’s moisture puddle.
To be honest, studios will try any kooky idea to draw in students. For the less flexible, there’s chair yoga done completely sitting down. There’s laughter yoga which I think is more funny strange than funny ha ha. Boxing yoga supposedly is a thing; so is stand-up paddle-board yoga.
Disco yoga and karaoke yoga try to incorporate inner peace with the outer embarrassment of cheesy dance moves and out-of-tune singing. I’m surprised instructors haven’t tailored classes to specific artist’s playlist. “Hey class, let’s do Madonna yoga today. Strike a pose?”
For Hong Kong, top gyms should target tai-tais with mahjong yoga, done in groups of four, with a lot of arm stretching, to the soothing sound of clacking tiles.
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