Above: Find your focus in the pool, on silks, on a horse, or another human being.
Yoga may not be the first thing on your Hawaiian itinerary, but these 10 great options might change your mind. Discover a few exciting twists from these yoga studios in Hawaii and find out why yoga is more popular than ever.
Yoga in the Air
1. Aerial Yoga
Literally take your practice up a notch with aerial yoga. You’ll hold poses while partially or fully suspended in a soft silk sling hanging at least three feet above the floor. In addition to supporting your weight and enabling you to achieve stability and balance, the sling allows stretches that release tension and properly align the spine. For advanced yogis, it can be adjusted to accommodate postures that require more pushing and pulling against gravity. No matter what level you’re at, you’ll feel like a kid again—bending, swinging and even going upside-down in the sling.
Above: Elevate yourself to new heights with the help of silk slings shown here at Uplift Maui.
Yoga and Acrobatics
2. Acroyoga Oahu
Traditional yoga is an individual practice that focuses on static poses and introspection; acroyoga involves at least two people who combine yoga, dance and simple acrobatic movements in an amazing display of grace, precision and athletic prowess. The “base” lifts the “flier” and supports his or her fluid maneuvers, building trust and communication in the process. There are no set sequences; acroyoga is all about play, creativity and spontaneity. Certified yoga instructor Douglas Nolan offers private acroyoga lessons all around Oahu and coordinates three free afternoon “jams” every week. Prior yoga experience is helpful but not required.
Above: "The more, the merrier" is the attitude here at Acroyoga Oahu, where you'll need a partner to hold your pose.
Yoga with Animals
3. Maui Goat Yoga
The stars of these outdoor classes at a Kula farm are 13 adorable Nigerian Dwarf goats with names like Zorro, Daisy and Sweet Pea. Curious and friendly, they roam around, often lingering beside, beneath and even atop students. Every class includes 30 minutes to pet, cuddle, photograph and feed the goats a snack (provided). That time is as therapeutic as yoga itself: studies have shown being with animals can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote feelings of comfort, peace, optimism and happiness. Bonus: spectacular views of south, central and north Maui wherever you lay your mat.
Above: True focus comes from within and you'll need to tap in and find it when you've got goats crawling all over at Maui Goat Yoga.
4. Zen Horse Sunset Yoga
Imagine sunset, cool breezes and horses grazing in a verdant pasture bordered by Cook pines. Now picture yourself on a wooden platform in that pasture, practicing asanas that stretch the legs, hip flexors and lower back muscles. Even city slickers who aren’t experienced equestrians will appreciate the Lanai Ranch at Koele’s beautiful, serene setting. Being in the moment, in close proximity to horses, enhances the mind-body practice of yoga. Those majestic animals can be the focus as you meditate, and, if you like, you can walk up to them and get acquainted before or after class.
Above: Breathe in, breathe out, and be sure to admire the view at Zen Horse Sunset Yoga at the Lanai Ranch at Koele.
5. HorSea Yoga
Get off the mat and onto a horse to hone balance, posture, flexibility, breathing, stretching and other basic yoga principles. No previous yoga or riding experience is required, and the class, limited to just six participants, is overseen by an instructor and a handler. After meeting your unconventional partner, you’ll do synchronized breathing exercises. Next, you’ll practice poses both on the ground next to the horse and in the saddle. Mounted yoga is especially beneficial for improving body alignment. Horses are social animals, and your new friend undoubtedly will be enjoying the interaction as much as you.
Above: There's no horsing around at Turtle Bay Resort when you hold a pose on a large four-legged friend.
Yoga on Water
Whether you’re in the ocean or a pool, water adds another dimension to yoga. Attaining balance and correct form is hard enough when you have stable land beneath you; it’s even more challenging when you’re in constant motion on a board in the water. That requires deep concentration and core engagement; slow, controlled transitions to different poses; and being in tune with the rhythm of the water. On a board, it’s easy to tell if your weight distribution is even—or not. Relax and go with the flow! Being outdoors in the sun and fresh air is rejuvenating in itself.
6. SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard) Yoga
Classes for the general public are at Magic Island in Ala Moana Beach Park. Guests of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort can sign up for complimentary classes at Waikiki Beach.
Above: The element of water will give you one more thing to concentrate on when yoga floats.
7. SUP Yoga
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort’s tranquil Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon doubles as a floating yoga studio. Few other spots have Diamond Head as the backdrop.
Above: Balancing on a stand-up paddle board requires deep focus, balance and skill.
8. Floating Yoga
Calm Pauoa Bay is ideal for doing asanas on a stand-up paddleboard. Keep your eyes peeled for reef fish and honu (sea turtles) swimming by.
Above: Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii Island also offers SUP yoga instruction with minimal distractions.
9. BOGA Floating Yoga
The BOGA FITMAT is a yoga mat like no other. Rigid but buoyant, it is designed for stability and durability in small areas like the 25-meter lap pool used by this class.
Above: For added stability, you can experiment with the BOGA FITMAT to help you hold your poses at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
10. Stand-Up Paddle Yoga
You’ll practice poses in pretty Kaunaoa Bay, which is fringed with swaying palms and a white-sand beach. Commanding attention in the distance is Hualalai, one of the five volcanoes on Hawaii Island.
Above: At Mauna Kea Beach Resort, the only distraction is the sheer beauty of Kaunaoa Bay.