Surprising new trends have shaken yoga students and business owners. 2017 yoga trends include singing, cannabis use, and the combination of other sports with yoga. The body, breath, and spirit connection seem not to be enough for these yogis, who seek to escape the traditional aspects of yoga. Yesterday I saw a cannabis infused yoga class that incorporates kettlebells and had a live band advertised.
There are three main 2017 yoga trends, and business owners are either profiting or protesting these trends. The success of your business depends on if you implement the right tactics with each of these trends. Even if you are an owner of a traditional studio, a middle ground may present itself.
Singing in Yoga
The hottest trend for yoga in 2017 has been singing. A surge in kirtan concerts, crystal bowl healing workshops, and free music on the Internet created this trend. The proliferation of eastern instruments, languages, and music styles in the west has sunk in and started to bloom.
At the beginning of class, during class, or in Shavasana, a student or hired performer sings. In two classes I was in the singer remained anonymous and sang during Shavasana. We had no knowledge a performance would happen, and after class, there was a general buzz about the experience. The sneak tactic approach is a great business move, and both times a great dialog was created between the teacher and students after class. A student and teacher connection is essential to a great yoga business.
Some students were not so happy though. An advanced yoga teacher said to me after
“That was totally disrespectful. Shavasana is my time to relax and come back into myself. There has been no music in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga since its inception. I would have signed up for a class for singing if I wanted singing. I will think twice about coming back to a teacher who thinks the tradition isn’t enough.”
The two parties who oppose music the most are beginners and advanced traditionalists. In a recent yoga class, my teacher brought a friend to do call and response chants at the beginning of class. It was a five-minute process of Hindu chanting.
Around the three minute mark, a couple left. I assume they were beginners because I’ve never seen them before. They came to class for fitness, and probably hold passionate religious views outside of yoga. Glances were exchanged, and they left feeling embarrassed by the whole situation.
How to Find your Song in Yoga
Students need to ask themselves what they want out of yoga. Singing in yoga classes offers physical benefits, but also a deep spiritual connection with the community you practice with. The environment will also be more lenient.
Classes with singing are probably not right for you if you favor a rigorous, narrow, and traditional view of yoga. Schools that follow a lineage, have senior teachers, and are decades old are your best bet.
For business owners, look at your business plan and see who your target audience is. Students with a basic familiarity with yoga, a youthful demographic, and the absence of traditionalists are the perfect fit for singing.
Singing in a yoga class is unique, and all students should experience how a beautiful voice can enhance your practice. Studio managers who do not implement this should test it out on their studio. It may be one of the most valuable things you can do for your yoga business in 2017!
The Canna-Yoga Revolution
As of 2017, eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 28 states legalized marijuana for medical use. Weed and Yoga have been connected since the start of Hinduism.
The classical Hindu text the Rig Veda was composed under the influence of hashish. Lord Shiva is depicted smoking marijuana in ancient art. The ancient Tantric religion used marijuana regularly too.
Some argue that Yoga Sutras 4.1 endorses cannabis use.
“The subtler attainments come with birth or are attained through herbs, mantra, austerities or concentration…”
Patanjali never commented further on this sutra. Both sides (pro and anti-weed in yoga) will find their own interpretation of this sutra.
In my hometown Las Vegas, cannabis is legal for the first time in 2017. The response of the yoga community has been to open three new canna-yoga studios in Las Vegas. One is right on my commute to university, and it is packed every night. A three-month-old studio with minimal investments and a following is profound.
Yoga’s cannabis future
On the other side, cannabis users contend that yoga and marijuana are a double whammy. Both are ancient healing techniques for the mind and body. The combination of them is a beautiful experience that has profound healing benefits.
Studio owners can exploit the canna-yoga trend without cannabis entering their studio. The best method is to hire a pro-cannabis teacher. Their teaching style and attitude will support those who wish to partake in cannabis. A great teacher will build a community that non-cannabis users would love to participate in.
Another way to benefit from this trend is to host events where you think cannabis yoga practitioners may show up. Low priced crystal bowl and gong sessions, acro yoga/Thai massage night combos, and kirtan music nights are great options to draw the canna-yoga crowd.
The cannabis communities respond well to authenticity. Studios who push a pro-cannabis mindset but don’t try to grow an organic community will fail.
A support system of pro-cannabis teachers and workshops yields a high success rate in the modern yoga market.
The last 2017 trend that has been building for decades is hybrid yoga. Combinations such as yoga with pilates, kettlebells, trx, martial arts, spin, ballet, and aerobics all exist today. Each one has enormous potential if the teacher, environment, and marketing strategy is well planned.
Yoga has exploded in popularity in recent years with CrossFit, Jiu-Jitsu, and ultra-marathon running. They all use yoga to enhance performance in their sport. I discovered yoga through long distance running, and at my jiu-jitsu gym, there are yoga classes.
With so many fitness options, though, it is hard to retain yogis in one gym. The average person never truly commits to one fitness system. In response, fitness coaches and business owners use yoga hybrid classes to take advantage of indecision.
Yoga has many physical holes at a fitness system. There are no pulling movements, and there is a limit to leg strength in standing poses. Smart cross-training can fill those deficiencies and maintain a studio with good diversity. A kettlebell class would be a great addition to build the strength deficits of yoga.
Studio owners need to ask themselves what their yoga studio represents. If it is a traditional studio, with a heavy yoga base, then too many hybrid classes will kill that message. The physical layout will also change to accommodate the addition of equipment.
Great hybrid teachers are passionate about yoga. They can mimic that feeling you get after a yoga class by implementing an intense workout.
The combination of a great workout with a euphoric yoga feeling will be a trend in yoga long after 2017.
The 2017 yoga trends create a bohemian experience for students. Musical accompaniment to their practice, an ancient now-legal drug to elevate them, and hybrid classes have started a renaissance in yoga. Traditional yogis fight the new world of yoga; however, they can benefit from it too. After experimenting with new trends, some may realize how much they like traditional yoga.
For yoga to advance, individuals need to probe every angle of what yoga can be. When the ancient definition of modern yoga dies, we can find a yoga that suits the modern world. The 2017 yoga trends are the start of a new beginning. Students and yoga studio owners both have equal opportunity to profit off this fresh start.
Let us not stop the progression until we awaken the spirit of yoga in the heart of the whole world.