Yoga with a twist in Hawaii

There are several memorable yoga experiences available in Hawaii, from aquarium programs, to moonlight and floating sessions.
There are several memorable yoga experiences available in Hawaii, from aquarium programs, to moonlight and floating sessions.
Many visitors to Hawaii disembark from their trans-Pacific journey with three things in mind: rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. And, more than ever, travelers are finding the three R's through yoga

Between 2012 and 2016 the number of U.S. residents practicing yoga grew 50%, to more than 36 million, according to a survey from Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal. The study also found a third of Americans had tried yoga at least once.

In the United States, yoga studios are still dominated by women, who make up 70% of practitioners, but the amount of men learning sun salutations has more than doubled from 2012 to 2016, to 10 million. Additionally, yoga has caught on with older generations, with 14 million U.S. residents over the age of 50 practicing as of 2016, triple the number from 2012.

Yoga studios can be found around all of Hawaii's four major tourist islands, and many hotels offer in-house classes. There are a handful of well-known retreats that attract visitors from around the world for their yoga programming, and also a few unique and creative offerings.

Yoga on vacation is more enticing outside of a stuffy studio, and there are several offerings in the Aloha State to make a visitor's session a memorable one. Here are a few places and programs that can make your Hawaiian yoga experience special:

Solid as a rock on firm ground and ready to take yoga to the next level? Travelers can truly test their balance by performing moves on a stand-up paddle board. There are several SUP yoga classes offered by studios and hotels. Yoga Floats in Honolulu holds its classes in Ala Moana Beach Park. Founder Kelsey Barden and other yogis offer a paddling 101 class to get newcomers familiar with SUP boards, and Yoga Floats also features a "Light Up the Night" class where they use underwater lanterns of different colors and the city skyline to create a soothing and picturesque evening program.

For the water-averse who still want to challenge themselves, acroyoga takes participants to new heights with poses performed while suspended in the air. At Power Yoga in Honolulu, classes are donation-based, and acroyoga classes are offered for a suggested donation of $15.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii Island has introduced two new yoga-related experiences to their fitness programming. Similar to SUP yoga, Boga is a class held in the resort pool on floating mats. For a more unique and challenging experience, the resort's wellness staff have also developed a yoga class incorporating a climbing wall.

For a more standard yoga class featuring a one-of-a-kind venue, check out Maui Ocean Center's Aquari-OM program. Visitors are invited to stretch it out and center their minds next to the aquarium's 750,000-gallon open ocean exhibit featuring more than 20 sharks, reef fish, rays and other marine creatures. The 75-minute class, taught by local Maui instructors, is open to all levels and is offered on select Tuesdays each month.

Finally, for yoga enthusiasts who also love dance clubs, Honolulu's Yoga in HI Places specializes in silent disco yoga, where everyone gets wireless headphones and listens to the same instructor-curated playlist while they perfect their downward dog. The yoga sessions with a soundtrack are held at various locations, including Magic Island and Kaimana Beach, and Yoga in HI Places offers both sunset classes and afterdark programs under moonlight.

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