Top Yoga Trends For 2016

By Elaine Kelly

Check out Elaine Kelly s article published on
Enritsch, 1 January, 2016 - Top 5 yoga trends for 2016.

Every year the American College of Sports Medicine conducts a survey with 3000 fitness professionals worldwide and based on their feedback, reports the 10 top fitness trends for the year ahead.  Yoga has been on this list for the past 7 years and comes in at 10th place for 2016.   But what are the top trends within the yoga world? As I couldn’t find any lists on line, I created my own for the year ahead and included some links where you can learn more.

  • Suspension/Anti-Gravity Yoga
  • Yin Yoga
  • Outdoor / SUP Yoga
  • Yoga Festivals
  • Online Yoga Classes

Suspension/Anti-Gravity Yoga

Suspension or anti-gravity yoga has been around since the early 90s but it has now hit the main stream with trade marking the name like Antigravity, Omgym springing up everywhere are everyone jumps on the band wagon of popularity. So what is it exactly?
You take some parachute like material and some adjustable straps and hook this from the ceiling and then get inside and with the help of an instructor, start to move yourself into different poses, mostly upside down.  This style of yoga is and extension of acro yoga where a person would ‘fly’ you on their feet.

What are the benefits?

Suspension yoga offers a supportive way to ease strains caused by compression and to stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the back and torso creating a great feeling of release. It is good for beginners who would not feel comfortable doing a head stand or deep back bend on the floor.  The blood rushing into the head also stimulates the brain improving our concentration. With the support of the harness, you can get the benefits of these poses and feel safe and stable too.  And, let’s face it, isn’t it fun to be upside down hanging from the ceiling with a group of friends?

Where can I try it?

It is available in many studios in Dubai including Voyoga, Inspire, Dubai Ladies Club and many Fitness First centres.  Classes sizes are small usually 8-10 people. You do not have to be a teacher to teach this style. You only need to have completed a 4-day training course.  If you want to learn contact Yogafirst Middle East. I did the training a few years ago but call me old fashioned, while it’s fun to try a few poses, nothing beats the grounding power of doing yoga on your mat.

2. Yin Yoga

Yin yoga, a style of deep, slow stretching which targets the body s deep connective tissue, is really growing especially for those who realise they just need to slow down and tune into their bodies and empty their minds.  It’s available to everyone, even people with injuries because the pace is so slow. An average class would have maybe 8 postures or asana.

What are the benefits?

By staying in the pose for 3-5 minutes, the muscles relax and the connective tissue has the chance to stretch as well as the connective tissue or fascia that surrounds the muscles.  With no pressure to ‘perform’ students can let go and just allow their body to open in a safe supportive place using props to support themselves.  I m really happy about this because as people start to be more meditative and reflective we really start to change – that s when it really starts to work for us on a deeper level. Yoga is about union of our mind or consciousness with the universe and to reach this place, we need to practise mindfulness. Yin Yoga is a perfect way to do this.

Where can I try a class?

Most studios now offer at least one or two classes usually in the evenings.  Zen yoga, Urban Yoga and Zoga are a few places to try.

3. Outdoor Yoga / SUP Yoga

Let’s face it, being outdoors at this time of year is bliss. Worldwide, more and more yoga is being taught outside in nature, on the beach, in the forests and on top of mountains.  All that fresh air and connection with nature is so good for our soul not to mention our minds.  Full moon and new moon classes take place at Dubai internet city from November to May with Yogafest Middle East.  They raise funds for local charities and ask for a donation to attend their classes held on the Friday closest to the full moon each month.   There are paid full moon classes at Al Qasr hotel on the beach and Emirates Towers. For outdoor morning classes, head to The Beach in JBR next the Sheraton hotel from 7-8 am.  There are 4 free classes a week courtesy of Al Meraaj holdings.  Fields of Yoga, Julie Farmer Campos offers a free beach class and Sunset beach on Saturdays at 7am.  There are also free classes in parks all over Dubai at 5.30am with Friends of yoga.

Then there is SUP yoga, meaning stand up paddle board, for those of you who want to try it at sea for a super core workout.  Head to Kite beach and try a class on Saturday mornings with SeaYou.

4. Yoga Festivals

Yoga festivals are everywhere these days and are fast becoming holiday destinations to beautiful places like Bali Spiritfest, International yoga festival in Rishikesh, India and Wanderlust on the island of Oahu, to name a few.  Here in Dubai Xyogadubai takes place 18-19 February at the Burj Khalifa park in Downtown.  There are free classes for everyone including meditation, pilates and lectures and interactive session with industry experts in the field of health and wellness.

I attended my first festival with Wanderlust this summer in Whistler, Canada and it was an incredible experience. Spending a week in nature with thousands of like-minded souls practicing yoga in a beautiful setting – what better holiday is there?  What I loved was that it wasn’t just young people, there were plenty of mature people with gray hair like me and there was something for everyone.  Yoga holidays will continue to dominate as more people look for a trip that is about getting back in touch with themselves, through yoga and healthy food combined with meeting new people and new places.

5. Online Yoga Classes

We know how good we feel after our yoga class, but something there is more stress involved in getting from work to the studio in the traffic and then trying to park. I’ve seen too many people stressing themselves to get to yoga only to arrive 5 minutes late and the class has already started and they arrive in a such a stressful state it takes them the entire class to calm down. Not only is doing a class at home more convenient, It’s also much cheaper.  The average cost of a class in Dubai is now AED 85. For a monthly online yoga class subscription you will pay $10-19 a month  or  AED 40-70 for access to unlimited classes on demand.  The most popular global site is Yogaglo but there is a local site Lilyfit, where you can see your favorite teachers from studios like Zen Yoga and Urban Yoga. With everyone having 3G connections nowadays, you could even do a class at work on your lunch break!

The only down side is not having someone to correct you, so make sure you either take a few private sessions before you start or go to a group class once a week and then supplement your practice with online sessions. The important thing to remember is always listen to your body and don’t push yourself.  Yoga is about awareness, of breath, of movement, of thoughts.  Remember to enjoy the journey, the destination is not important. If you have any questions or would like a private session before you try any of these options, feel free to contact me via the “Ask the Expert” function.




Elaine Kelly founded Yogafest ME, the largest and only sustainable wellness event in the Middle East,  in 2010 when she became a certified yoga teacher while working for Microsoft.  With 30 years experience in the fitness industry, she wanted to support her fellow employees with their work life balance, and the idea for Yogafest was born.


Posted on 20 January 2016 by Elaine Kelly