Young man performing alien yoga pose

‘Alien’ Yoga: The Newest Fitness Rage That Contorts Your Midsection In Otherworldly Way

Yogis — like it or not, this one is for you.

Just when you’ve settled into an exercise routine that’s tailor-made for your daily grind, some new craze goes viral on social media. Feast your eyes — and indulge your nimble bodies — on the latest fitness rage around the country: alien yoga.

For starters, this “new” form of yoga actually looks like it sounds. After watching how it works, you may just replace your laconic, half-baked yoga routine with one that channels your inner alien.

Alien yoga, formally called Nauli Kriya or “Nauli” for short, is trending on Instagram. Like anything else on the millennial-driven photo-sharing site — thigh gaps, Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, turmeric lattes, and beer yoga (more on that later) — this latest lifestyle trend has gone viral, according to a CBS Local affiliate in San Francisco.

The alien yoga pose gets its name from the manner in which a person contorts their abdominal muscles. Nauli involves moving the stomach in a circular manner using four different motions.

Basically, there are four movements behind alien yoga: uddiyana bandha is a motion that pulls the abdomen inward and upward underneath the rib cage; madhyana nauli is an isolated contraction of the central abdominal muscles; vama nauli is a contraction that isolates the left abdominal wall; and daksina nauli is the act of isolating the right abdominal muscles.

Those who support the new yoga pose say it’s the “next big thing” in the world of health and fitness, writes the Toronto Sun. Proponents say that alien yoga — if done properly — promotes healthy digestion and strengthens the core muscles of the body.

On the other hand, critics say Nauli, like beer yoga — which, ostensibly, originated from Burning Man — is just another strange fitness trend that will crash and burn like other previous social media-driven fads.

Jocelyn Brewer works as a psychologist with a specialty in the impacts of social media on group dynamics and relationships. She opines that posts on Instagram are largely about people seeking some degree of attention.

Moreover, many are looking for a mechanism or means to stand out among the crowded space. Brewer believes the trick is to mesh conventional or traditional practices with emerging types or fads.

“Some people, given the opportunity, will always ‘show off’ their skills or bodies to get known, seen or recognized. While there are genuine people who might be demonstrating the practice with background information, for others, it’s simply for ‘likes.’

“There are millions of people hoping to become ‘instafamous’ by riding hashtag trends, so they need to get more and more niche or ‘out there’ to be original and garner attention.”

A lingering question about alien yoga is whether it will last — and if it’s safe. The answer to the first question may not be apparent at this time; Nauli is too new to many practitioners. Oddly, the practice has been around for eons, but has only recently emerged as the “new thing.”

Simon Borg-Oliver is a Nauli practitioner and has made yoga part of his life for the past five decades. Additionally, he’s taught the practice for over 35 years. Using his classes — he’s Director of Yoga Synergy in Sydney — as an indicator, Borg-Oliver believes engagement is an exception and not the rule.

“In the 1980s or ’90s when I was regularly on television I offered to demonstrate Nauli on The Lifestyle Channel, but I was told that it was not suitable for television audiences because it showed my naked abdomen with the protruding rectus abdominis muscle that I was unfairly told looked too phallic.”

On the question of safety, Borg-Oliver says alien yoga can only be achieved if a person breathes in the proper manner — most specifically, diametrically. Hyperventilation is a constant threat during the four basic movements.

Will alien yoga thrive or fade to black like, say, naked yoga?

[Featured Image by fizkes/Shutterstock]

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