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From cobra pose on a Ferris wheel to mountain pose in the snow at a five-star Montana ranch, new ways to practice yoga can flex both muscle and mind. While serious yogis may benefit from the change of scenery and the support offered for perfecting advanced poses, reluctant yogis can gain entry to the practice with these fun, often out-of-the-studio experiences. Beginners might find foundation positions easier to achieve with the help of wall harnesses and TRX suspension equipment, or they might gain inspiration and a taste of nirvana from the views alone. These six unorthodox yoga experience are making the waves in the USA, so expect variants of these to head to Asia and Malaysia soon (with the possible exception of snowga).
1. Yoga on a Ferris Wheel
The world’s tallest Ferris wheel, the 167m High Roller, offers yogis the chance to find their centre while enjoying bird’s-eye views of the Las Vegas Strip. After stepping into one of the wheel’s 28 glass-enclosed, pod-like cabins, guests participate in personalized, hour-long yoga sessions. Group classes and one-on-one workouts are both offered.
Towering above the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer, the wheel completes one full rotation in half an hour, giving guests plenty of time to admire the sweeping vista while perfecting their poses. Though riders can participate in classes all day long, evening is perhaps the most optimal time, as resplendent rays of sunlight bathe the city of Las Vegas in gorgeous golden hues.
2. Flying Yoga
Seun Lim, the founder of premium denim brand James Jeans, has started another hit Los Angeles craze – and this time in the fitness world. Located in Korea Town in a huge light-filled studio with sky-high ceilings, exposed brick, and charming chandeliers, D&A Flying Yoga combines traditional yoga poses, aerial arts, and Pilates into a fun and legit workout that is anything but a passing trend. After a challenging mat workout with a strong focus on breath and alignment, Lim (who is a graduate of the School of Art Institute of Chicago and a former ballerina at the Yewon School of Ballet in South Korea), expertly guides participants through a creative, flowing sequence of aerial poses using silk hammocks that hang from the ceiling. Adjusted to fit the height of each individual, the hammocks reverse the pull of gravity, build strength, elongate the spine, and promote smooth and increased blood flow to targeted regions. Private, semi-private, and group classes of 12 people are available.
3. Wall Yoga
For an innovative exercise class sure to turn your world upside down, try wall yoga at the Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being in Las Vegas. An entire wall of a roomy fitness studio is bedecked with removable harnesses that can be easily adjusted to help beginners balance as they practice new poses. More advanced participants can use the harnesses for support as they perform acrobatic-like moves. An ideal exercise for those seeking to expand their mobility and flexibility.
4. TRX Yoga
TRX yoga is great entry point for beginner yogis struggling to hold a plank, but for a more advanced practice, it makes basic positions like tree pose more challenging. The suspension strap system adds a layer of support that helps proper form and also encourages a smoother flow from one pose to the next, like transferring from chaturanga to cobra and downward dog. Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, is among the first to offer a class in this new practice, but classes are starting to infuse yoga communities in major cities as well.
In Montana, where the winters are often long and white, exercising outdoors in winter months typically means skiing – either alpine or cross-country – or snowshoeing. But the Ranch at Rock Creek has created a new way to enjoy a snowy mountaintop (or creekside trail) – snowga. Kitted out in winter gear, yoga instructor Beth Thomas leads groups of guests outside to practice yoga. While the clothes may restrict the reach of certain poses, the combination of deep lungfuls of the crisp, clear air in such beautiful surroundings and the heart rate–boosting snowshoe trek adds power to any warrior pose.
6. Playlist Yoga
Among the vast sea of LA yoga studios, West Hollywood’s Playlist Yoga, which first opened in January 2016, has been quickly gathering devotees from various athletic backgrounds and is being referred to by some as the SoulCycle of yoga. Cofounded by Jordan Cohen, a former attorney, DJ, and Cross Fit enthusiast, Playlist delivers a 60-minute vinyasa flow set to highly curated playlists that combine everything from classic rock hits to indie pop and hip hop. DJ Nikki Pennie oversees these music selections, working closely with each instructor and chief yoga officer Nicole Sciacca (from Venice Beach’s Hustle & Flow) to create an experience that is more high-energy than Zen – but just as easy to get lost in. The sleek and modern space dominated by concrete floors and black and gray décor also offers numbered mat spaces, which can be reserved ahead of time, and a wall of lockers named after music icons.