It’s kind of taboo to come out and say that you hate yoga, a practice that’s designed to make you feel all flowing and Zen. But for whatever reason, some people just can’t get down with the downward dog and that’s absolutely fine. Slow mindful paces, actively working to switch off, and all that focus on the breath can be a chore, and while yoga comes with a billion health benefits, there are other sports you can turn too to gill in that yogi shaped 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…
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. 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.