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SOZY BLOG

Hate Yoga? 10 Yoga Alternative to Zen You Out

 

It’s kind of taboo to come out and say that you hate yoga, a practice that many people love and that is designed to make you feel all flowing and Zen.

But for whatever reason, some people just can’t get down with the downward dog, can't find stress relief in warrior one, and can't cut it with the cat-cow pose.

All that is absolutely fine.

Slow mindful paces, actively working to switch off, and all that focus on breathwork can be a chore, and while yoga comes with a billion health benefits, there are alternative sports and awesome exercise programs you can turn too to fill in that body-mind gap.

We have rounded up some alternative sports that will help you unwind and start loving your workout all without a sun salutation in sight…

 

Reasons Why Some People Don’t Practice Yoga

There are many reasons why yoga studios may be off-limits to some people. While yoga practice is considered to be hugely inclusive and beneficial for many people out there (and of course stretching and breathing techniques are full of amazing benefits), there are aspects of yoga practice that don't suit everyone.

From faith-based issues to acute injury, here are just a couple of reasons why people may stay away from yoga.

 

Chronic Injury

There can be a ton of different reasons as to why someone needs to seek out yoga alternatives. When it comes to the body and exercise, everyone is unique and everyone can have different needs. For those who have a chronic injury, yoga classes can be risky business as the stretches can set your body back from healing.

 

Religious Beliefs

Some people may also not feel comfortable practicing yoga because of their religious beliefs. Yoga can be seen as a spiritual practice and its roots do stem from Hinduism. While yoga has been adapted and adopted from religion to philosophy and in our new age world is considered more an exercise program or act of body meditation, it still may make some people from Christian and other religious faiths feel uncomfortable. Not to worry, there are tons of Christian yoga alternatives out there to keep you committed to your wellbeing without compromising their belief system.

 

Certain Medical Conditions

There are some medical conditions that may mean that yoga isn't the right exercise for you. For example, people with diabetic retinopathy should avoid exercises and yoga poses that put their head below the heart, those with high blood pressure may struggle with certain forms of yoga, and those with respiratory system problems may find some elements of yoga uncomfortable.

 

Personal Preference

For some people, yoga just isn't interesting and doesn't suit their process. They may want a more cardio heavy style of fitness or they may find the repetitive movements emotionally uncomfortable, or your nervous system may just not be into yoga. That's cool and it doesn't mean that you don't look after your mental health or what you 'don't understand' something or aren't spiritually enlightened. There are many yoga alternative practices that can bring peace and wellness to your life. Yoga is just one option and hey, maybe it's not yours.

 

Can you do yoga without spirituality?

If you are still drawn to yoga but want to skip the spirituality, there's no reason why you can't turn to your own version of the practice or practice the postures and use the form to keep fit.

There are many different styles of yoga and each yoga class will be different based on the teacher and how they approach teaching yoga.

You can check out YouTube videos of online yoga teachers, like Brett Larkin or Yoga With Adriene, which has grown in popularity as an example of an accessible home practice.

If you still aren't digging the vibe, then there are yoga alternatives you can turn too which are similar in form and technique but doesn't have the same link with spirituality.

 

10 Alternatives to Yoga That Will Build Strength & Flexibility (And Aren’t Spiritual)

 

Surfing

 

Yoga and surfing have always been complimentary practices as they both make you use muscles you didn’t even know you had. While surfing may seem like an adrenaline rush sport laced with fear and thrills, it can actually be an amazing way to switch your focus, balance your center, and improve your well-being by forging a relationship with nature.

When you can only concentrate on the wave coming towards you, your monkey mind seems to switch off and you very much take note of the present moment. Also, there are few better sports than surfing for communing directly with nature.

Where to learn: On a surf retreat
Difficulty level: Some fitness required

 

Ballet

 

We know you are thinking; wait, don’t I have to be five years old to attend ballet classes? But adult ballet lessons are seriously trending right now. Gorgeous grace, perfect posture, and just a feeling of sheer decadence in dancing when you slip on those pretty pink pumps, ballet takes focus, discipline, and gifts you a new way of embracing your body – just like yoga.

Where to learn: Online ballet classes
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Paddleboarding

 

If you love the idea of surfing without the waves, then stand-up paddleboarding makes for another amazing Zen-like alternative to yoga. From lakes to rivers and oceans, paddleboarding invites you to get into the great outdoors, drift along and meditate on the wonders of the world. Paddleboarding is also a great workout for your upper body strength, and if you want to blend both worlds – then practising yoga on a paddleboard makes it a whole lot more fun, especially when the stakes include falling into the lake.

Where to learn: Paddle board rentals near you
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Barre

 

Barre takes yoga and blends it with contemporary dance and ballet to create a hybrid sport that is sure to make you break a sweat. With a lot of focus on the legs, this is all about sculpting shapes, committing to movement, and learning how to lengthen those muscles. It’s active, it's fun, and you get to feel like you are doing ballet without feeling like it's out of your reach.

Where to learn: At a Pure Barre studio near you
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Aerial Silks

 

Is there anything more exotic than the art of circus skills? Whether it's flying through the air, walking a tightrope, or wrapping yourself in silks and unspooling from the sky. Aerial silks is an amazingly graceful, challenging, and highly curated practice. Aerial silks seem to blend art with exercise, and there’s a beautiful sense of play woven throughout. It still requires a ton of discipline and is sure to leave you feeling beautifully Zen and mindful of your body.

Where to learn: You can learn at home
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Rock Climbing

 

You may think that scrabbling up a wall with your bare hands may be the least Zen-like thing imaginable, but rock climbing actually makes you laser focus on your body and your movements without allowing much room for dwelling on anything else. Along with micro-managing every muscle, you also need a decent sized dollop of bravery and a commitment to physically go higher, which in turn leads to spiritually going higher. Add into the equation that you are sure to sleep like a baby afterwards and you have an amazing alternative to yoga.

Where to learn: At a Climbing & Bouldering gym near you
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Tai Chi

 

If you want to do something a little different from yoga and the spiritual or faith aspect isn't an issue for you, Tai Chi could be a great alternative. While it still has that spiritual vibe (Tai Chi is a practice developed by Taoist Monks), it does differ from yoga. Tai Chi is all about the body, mind, and energy. The practice uses balance, stance, and is said to promote muscle strength, flexibility, and have effectiveness when it comes to cutting down on those stress levels.

Where to learn: Learn Tai Chi at home in 100 days
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Qigong

 

Another of the martial arts practices that are similar to yoga but of different origin, qigong comes from Chinese culture and is all about the combination of breathing techniques, movement, meditation and controlled stretches and posture. It shares the blend of body, spirit, and mental practice that yoga brings but offers a variety for those who don't gel well with yoga and are on the search for something different.

Where to learn: Learn Qi Gong online
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Pilates

 

For those who want to steer clear of spiritual practice because of their link to the holy spirit and for other religious reasons, Pilates could be a perfect choice. This type of exercise class was created by a German guy back in the 1920s and originally it was formed as a rehab program for soldiers returning from war to heal the body. It's an awesome form of practice for strengthening the body, encouraging flexibility, stretching out all those tough and tight bits, and cutting down pain and tension.

Where to learn: Learn pilates at home
Difficulty level: Beginner-friendly

 

Cold Water Swimming

 

Any kind of swimming is great for the body and for those with mobility issues, the water can be a gentle way of toning and strengthening as it is quite forgiving. If you want a burst of spiritual meditation to match, then cold water swimming is quickly gaining popularity. Taking the plunge in cold water is said to greatly improve your health and wellbeing and even improve your blood count and help you fight infection. Always check with your doctor first if you have any pre-existing medical condition and be sure to start small with just a couple minutes a day as you build up.

Where to learn: anywhere there is cold water :)
Difficulty level: must know how to swim

 

So, anyone willing to give the above a go? Share with us your thoughts on yoga and which sports send you into a glorious state of wellbeing.

 

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