Fierce Grace founder Michele Pernetta takes an irreverent look at what to expect this year in Yoga.
Originally featured in Om Yoga Magazine January 2019
It is horrifying to realise I’m old enough now to see trends from my past coming around a second time, and to see gleeful youths experiencing them for the first time as if they were the second coming, as I’m sure I did too.
Many of the things that seem new and exciting in yoga and health are simply tried and tested ancient wisdoms revisited. Here are some of the current trends in and around the yoga circuit, and a few that might be on the horizon next year.
Loud non-yoga music in class. A great way to drop the mind, get into the feeling body, and feel expansive and happy. Satnam Kaur used to cut it, now, that’s akin to playing the Tellytubbies theme tune in Titthibasana. Some of the more switched on yoga gurus are playing trance and techno. Loud.
Vipassana silent retreats have been topping the charts for several years as must-have mental detoxes for the discerning, but frazzled, health seeker.
Meditation. Very hot right now, especially if called Mindfulness. Especially on-trend if all spiritual connotations removed and practiced to improve one’s mind instead of the traditional goal of dropping it.
Chair pose’ not ‘Utkatasana’: not calling yoga poses by their Sanskrit names. This is steadily gaining momentum based on the premise that teachers should know the names but not inflict them on the public; as it can be annoying for some students and means half your class have no clue what you’re saying.
Yin is out, muscle is in. Yin seemed to be a balancing reaction to overly Alpha yoga classes, and so studio owners added Yin to try to calm down their buzzed up clients. Now they are offering a more balanced menu of classes that aren’t on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Kombucha is the new coconut water. I walked into my studios one day to find the coconut water on the bottom shelf, and the Kombucha dominating the entire fridg e. “They’re flying out!” said my managers with surprise. Everyone is talking about it like it’s new. Myself and everyone I knew in the nineties had our kombuchas growing all over our living rooms. Keeping our ‘mushrooms’ (a giant, brown, living, stingray-like thing) from going mouldy was the talk of the time. “Do you cover yours with mesh or gauze? Do you use Tetley or PG?” We drank it by the gallon. I never noticed any benefits at all, but it tasted nice and it was only about a penny a gallon to make. People are paying almost £3 for a tiny bottle of acid y flavour ed kombucha drink today. I shouldn’t tell you any of that, as the profits I’m making selling it in my studios might just pay for a bigger fridge!
2019 will herald vitamin D as the new coconut oil. It gives you energy and may even work to prevent cancer. Avoiding chemical sunscreens is also set to top the yoga and health charts in 2019.
Green smoothies are out, (thankfully, as they may be bad for anyone who is a Vata or a Kapha in the ayurvedic system) and fats and oils are in. Pittas, who tend to be the majority of those doing all the manic exercise anyway, are the only ones who should drink green smoothies according to ayurveda, but they don’t, as they prefer wine! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, get with the on-trend healthistas and take an ayurvedic dosha quiz.
Bone Broth is still holding strong in yoga and health trends. As are bio fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi. To say those are new would be naive, since they have pretty much been around since we were dragging each other around by the hair and grunting in caves.
No yogi worth their Himalayan pink salt would use normal deodorant. We all use ineffective, non-aluminium, natural deodorants. And the journey into hippiedom starteth here. Growing gorilla like underarm hair won’t be hot until 2021.
Animal print. You’re no-one in the yoga room if you aren’t a puma, leopard or a tiger at the moment. Very Alpha. I hope 2019 will see a move into more relaxed Beta animal prints like sloth tech-wicking vests, pygmy hippopotamus-hide shorts and faux elephant seal leggings. We can go to our Yin class in those.
Kambo and Ayahuasca. It seems there’s barely anyone left in the yoga world (teacher or student) who hasn’t done one or the other. The tell-tale puncture scabs of Kambo’s frog venom having replaced the Chinese acupuncture cupping bruises as the ‘trendy health injury’ to sport in class. The yogi-ayahuasca crowd are having whispered discussions about how many times they vomited, or how long they screamed and wailed, before entering a crazy parallel universe where they were made sane.
Enemas. Losing their stigma - free, effective, and very detoxifying.
ECLECTIC & ECCENTRIC
And here are some other random trends that you might come across this year:
Cold yoga. Jump in a cold plunge, take a freezing shower or swim in Hampstead ponds…but please don’t try to stretch in a cold room, not if you don’t want to tear something.
Wearing pantyhose tights and nothing else on your bottom half in a hot yoga class. They’re completely see-through and they give a bank robber mask distortion to your ‘parts’ which is quite grotesque.
In the USA burned-out executives can take a week’s ‘vacation’ of total rest by being put into an induced coma in hospital. Yep, apparently, it’s true.
Wearing wool ballet trousers, leg warmers and wool leotards in hot yoga. Work harder if you want to feel warmer. Yes, the clothes weigh about another kilo once they are soaked in sweat increasing your calorie burn but using your muscle and holding poses longer will be way more effective and less stinky.
Fasting: this shouldn’t be in the ‘silly’ list because its health benefits are unparalleled when undertaken wisely. However, taken as a trend, not prepared for and not done carefully, can be quite damaging. It may be becoming more mainstream this year. One of our teachers did a two-week water fast and broke it on sausage (hence the inclusion here, Steve!).
Taking at least three different drinks into the yoga class with you. A coffee for energy, a rehydration water to counter the coffee, and a coconut water for savasana. Metal water bottles. This trend may well reduce plastic consumption but, if they are not put in a padded case, they destroy your relaxing savasana (excuse my Sanskrit). Nerve shattering clangs as they hit the floor every time someone moves an arm or leg has created a whole new stress for yogis to transcend and many a meditation is now ruined by these. Maybe 2019 could herald in a silent bottle…or we just turn the music up louder?
Nude yoga. Taking it off still hasn’t taken off, but the fact it still exists is interesting. Perhaps it’ll unveil itself fully (pun intended!) in 2019?
Vag-a Yoga: ladies sit in a circle, each with a mirror. Not sure what it has to do with yoga. (Note to self – do not try to find out.)
Grip toe socks. I have vetted over 150 teachers. Every single one has trouble not laughing when you wear these. Not one of us has any idea why you would wear them. If any rainbow toe sock wearer would like to enlighten us please do.