Yoga classes come in all shapes and sizes.
Yoga was once viewed as hip by hippies, a tad fluffy. But it's since hit the mainstream. It's vogue to be a yogi now and people are raving about the health benefits.
I'm not just saying this because I'm a qualified yoga instructor and love teaching cobra, camel and cat/cow stretches.
Lots of new yoga studios from the UK and US have been popping up, each with increasingly diverse styles. Teacher training courses and yoga schools have blossomed, too. There are several yoga festivals on the calendar, many of which bring in big overseas talent - called yoga "rock stars" by some.
Everyday folk, too, are catching on that yoga is not all about contorting your body into a pretzel for "achievement yoga". It's about breathing well, slowing down, improving your posture, strengthening your body and aiming for balance physically and mentally, moving well (within your body's capability), and it's a great antidote for stress. Here are a few different styles that could inspire you.
• Are you a bloke feeling grumpy, a bit cantankerous and moody? Or waking up with aches or feeling off? Well, Grumpies Yoga could suit you. Tracy Adshead, who invented Grumpies Yoga, says testosterone levels for men drop generally around their 40s. This causes aches, pains and tightening of the muscles, plus "grumpiness and being short tempered".
She knows this, she says, because she lives "with one of them", her husband Roger, 54. He inspired the class idea when he discovered the benefits of yoga, so Adshead knew there would be other guys who could benefit, too. The class is for men at the Grey Lynn Community Centre, Auckland, Thursdays, 6pm-7pm.
• Paddleboard yoga is coming this summer to Lake Pupuke in Milford, Auckland, and will also be a star attraction at the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Taupo (January 29-February 1). Katrina Gavin from Abundance Studio, Queen St, and Natalie Stettler from The Mat are involved with both. Gavin says doing yoga on a paddleboard requires more focus, balance and internal muscle control because of the instability of floating on the water.
It's also a fresh way to experience yoga with moving clouds overhead and you can feel the warmth of the sun and get a shot of Vitamin D.
"Laying on the board, with the water gently rocking underneath, is the best Savasana [corpse/rest pose] ever," says Gavin.
See the Milford timetable soon on the NZSUPYOGA Facebook page. Or check out the Wanderlust line-up at taupo.wanderlustfestival.com.
• Michaela Sangl takes Yogi Kids in Devonport. She creatively blends drama, fun and play into her imaginative yoga classes for kids. She has created "Harry Potter poses" and class themes on yoga journeys to Venice, Paris and Egypt.
Sangl's background includes dance, singing, acting, performing, recording and kids' book-writing. See yogikids.co.nz for her timetable. She also has a yoga workshop for caregivers and children on November 2 at Yoga Ground studio in Grey Lynn.
It is held at yoga teacher Vincent Bolletta's studio. Bolletta has a unique style, too - he's interested in yoga from the perspective of "structural rehabilitation and integration, movement impairment syndromes and anatomy and physiology". Find him via yogaground.co.nz.
• There's a buzz around restorative yoga and yin yoga - and blending mindfulness and movement. Clients sink into comfortable and long-held poses for a kind of meditative practice and to let go of stress and can leave class feeling like they're almost floating, lighter and brighter.
Some places for this include Yoga Tech, Parnell; Golden Yogi studio, Takapuna; Cotter House, Remuera, and Sacred Moves, Waiheke.
Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge training
Accessories - what to take with you and what preparation do you need? First, learn how to change a tyre tube. This is probably the number one and most important skill for cycling and you never know when you'll need it. Always carry a spare tube and make sure it's the right fit for your tyres. The bike shop people can help you out. You need at least two levers to change a tyre and plastic is more user-friendly than metal and a pump to inflate the tyre. Practise - you don't want cycle challenge day to be your first experience of changing the tube. Here are some of the other things to consider taking with you on event day:
• Cash or credit card - just in case you need extras or have a mechanical mishap en route.
• Drink bottles.
• Cellphone (whatever the weather make sure it's in a protective package).
• Lights - one on your helmet and two red lights on the back.
• A small tube bag that straps on to your bike - great for car keys, sunblock,