C'mon, Voga: Celebrating Yoga Day

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Whether you relate to yoga as a spiritual, meditative practice, a life philosophy, an excuse to buy more lycra or just a sweaty exercise, the practice has certainly grown from its ancient Indian origins to become global lifestyle phenomenon.

It even has its own official day, after the United Nations declared June 21 the International Day of Yoga last year.

The day of yoga celebration was proposed by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who told the U.N. General Assembly: "Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well-being. Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and Nature."

In the spirit of the International Day of Yoga (and an open mind), we've brought you nine non-traditional yoga practices to pique your interest in the ways the practice has grown.

—By Aza Wee Sile, special to
Posted 22 June 2015

1. Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga

Stand Up Paddle Yoga.
Red Paddle Co

The perfect exercise for water sports and yoga enthusiasts. Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) yoga challenges your balance because of the rolling of ocean waves, and puts core muscles to the test.

Also, falling into water is a lot more fun than hitting the ground cushioned only by a yoga mat.

2. Floating Yoga

Woman suspended in the air, practicing Floating Yoga.
Celebrity Fitness Singapore

Floating Yoga was developed by John J. Sweeney and is a combination of aerial yoga and anti-gravity yoga. Yoga poses and movements are performed with cloth swings and hammocks.

For those who cannot do headstands or handstands, the hammock holds the body's weight while practitioners go into an inversion (upside-down pose). This is said to reverse the blood flow of the body, and improve body alignment.

It might appear daunting but with regular practice, the movements become a graceful and fluid dance. Or at least, that's the plan.

3. Pre-natal Yoga

Pre-natal Yoga.
Vanda Yoga

What better way to achieve that pregnancy glow than with gentle exercise?

According to pre-natal yoga proponents, the practice helps to improve the flexibility of the body and strengthen the pelvic muscles, the main muscles used during delivery. The poses also improves blood circulation, thus reducing the swelling of joints.

However, do consult your own gynecologist or obstetrician before embarking on pre-natal yoga, and practice only under trained supervision.

4. Post-natal Yoga

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Everyone knows how how hectic life can be with a newborn. Post-natal yoga focuses on helping new mothers regain their strength and rebuild core abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles that can be strained during pregnancy and childbirth.

Most post-natal yoga classes will also encourage you to take your new tot along for some mother-child bonding.

5. Doga

Woman with her dog, holding a Doga pose.
Suzi Teitelman

'Downward dog' gets literal with Doga. Originating from the United States, Doga is, as its name suggests, yoga with your pooch.

Doga practitioners seek to achieve harmony and unity with their dogs, while giving the canines a much-needed stretch. Small-to-medium-sized dogs can also be used as a weight resistance to intensify the exercise, and larger dogs can be used as 'balancing blocks'.

6. Snowga

Snowga practitioners.
Snowga Community Facebook

If the sweltering heat of hot, or Bikram, yoga does not strike your fancy, you could perhaps work on your sun salutations in sub-zero temperatures.

Snowga is a fusion of yoga and snow sports. It is generally practiced before hitting the slopes as a warm up exercise.

7. Voga

People striking Voga poses in a class.
House of Voga

Voga was created by former art director Juliet Murrell, who wanted more cardio in her yoga practice.

It is an extremely expressive and energetic yoga fusion inspired by "vogueing", the 1980s dance craze recognizable for its stylized poses that resemble Egyptian hieroglyphs. As Madonna might have said, c'mon, Voga.

8. Laughter Yoga

Participants take part in 'laughter yoga' in a park in Hong Kong.
Antony Dickson | AFP | Getty Images

This happy and enthusiastic yoga practice was popularized by Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria and is now practiced worldwide. Kataria believes that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter.

Laughter Yoga encourages a childlike playfulness in practitioners and combines deep breathing exercises from yoga and laughing exercises to oxygenate the body and brain.

9. Yoga Rave

Yoga Rave at San Francisco, United States.
Yoga Rave SF Bay

A feel-good alternative to the night-life scene, Yoga Rave is not so much a yoga practice, but a lifestyle.

Yoga Raves are parties with Sanskrit chants, yoga, dance and meditation. It's about promoting a lifestyle free from external stimulation like drugs and alcohol.