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Yoga fads abound, but do they have health benefits?

Opt for these quirky yoga forms, if all you need is an exercise routine mixed with fun elements. Don't go for it, if you are looking for wholesome well being.

Written by Parmita Uniyal | New Delhi |
Updated: June 19, 2015 1:27:12 pm
Horseback Yoga Horseback Yoga

A young lady is in the middle of the water on a paddle board. The next moment she starts to perform yoga and you don’t know whether to laugh or admire her guts.

Paddle Board Yoga is a variation of stand up paddle surfing, combined with yoga, and originated in Rishikesh. The sport combines hatha yoga and vinyasa yoga asanas with surfing, according to

Watch video: How to do Paddleboard yoga

If you thought that was too quirky, then you obviously haven’t heard about Yoga on Horseback. But we advise you to befriend the horse in advance, just to be safe. In this form of yoga, the horse is considered your mat as well as partner. Apparently, this is good for the horse too and improves its mindfulness. So if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for the horse’s sake.

Watch video: Horseback yoga

And you can even take your pet to Doga classes — that is yoga for dogs.

Wait, wait there’s more. There’s something called Face Yoga which helps keep the wrinkles away. What seems like ‘funny faces’ to you is actually a skin treatment. And if you want to mix yoga with chocolates, there’s chocolate yoga too were the objective is to consume Cacao between your yoga steps.

In case you think these yoga forms are interesting enough for you to pursue, here’s some expert advice.

A lot of these yoga fads, popular particularly in the West, could be a good exercise routine for a while, but experts say they don’t have the long term benefits of pure yoga.

“They do not understand that yoga is an ancient technique and yoga involves body, breathing, mind, emotions and they concentrate only on the physical aspect of it and do not understand that yoga uplifts you emotionally and enriches you spiritually,” says Dinesh Ghodke, Art of Living Yoga Faculty.

Of late Bikram Yoga (founded by Bikram Choudhary), which is more popular in America than India, has been facing a lot of criticism due to its side-effects. It is a form of yoga which is practiced in high temperature and humidity. It leads to dehydration, hyperthermia and results in symptoms like nausea, dizziness, fainting and muscle cramping.

“Pranayam’s basic principle is shuddh vayu (pure air). I’m not in a favour of practicing Yoga (Bikram Yoga) in a closed room. This is against the basic principles of Pranayama and thus not good for health,” says Acharya Priyatosh, Panchvati Yogashram.

“I have met a lot of people abroad who practice Bikram Yoga in high temperatures as a cardio exercise, and they have been facing issues. You will, for example, in Sudarshan Kriya, never face any such problem; you will be fit physically, feel connected with everybody and emotionally charged,” says Ghodke.

So opt for these quirky yoga forms popularised by the West, if all you need is an exercise routine mixed with fun elements (with a little bit of risk). Don’t go for it, if you are looking for wholesome well being (mind, body, soul).

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