I don’t do yoga (not that there’s anything wrong with it), and until recently I was unaware that there were so many versions of it.

But thanks to a friend of mine showing me an online story and photos, I now know that “novelty” yoga is actually a thing, and there are people around the world who like making up odd ways of incorporating various activities, objects and even animals into this physical and mental practice that originated in ancient India. Among the many versions described online are dog yoga, goat yoga, horse yoga, wine yoga, beer yoga, rage yoga, laughter yoga and sex yoga (I don’t make ’em up; I’m just telling you what’s out there).


Humans and lemurs find their Zen together during a “lemoga” class in northwest England.

But while it looks like fun to do yoga poses with a bottle of beer in hand and then strategically bring it to your mouth multiple times via slow, calculated movements, and while it looks interesting to have a small goat climbing on your back as you execute a particular pose, I’m quite drawn to one of the versions some people are enjoying – at least in England.

It’s yoga with lemurs, and is called “lemoga.”

Apparently, outdoor lemoga classes are now available at Armathwaite Hall, a hotel near Keswick in the Lake District of northwest England. According to instructors, the classes help participants “find their Zen and feel at one with nature” with the help of a handful of lemurs (which, for the record, are unique primates with big, striped tails that are native only to the huge African island of Madagascar). Now, I’m not a source of Zen-related information or advice to even the smallest extent, but I know a cute little animal when I see one, and lemurs definitely qualify. In fact, they’re so adorable that I feel like doing almost anything in their presence would be a delightful experience.

But what’s even cooler about lemoga is the lemurs actually join the humans in doing some of the poses. Some of the photos I saw show them just sort of hanging around amongst a group of people seated on mats on a grassy area. But one picture shows several of them executing a lotus position pose with surprising precision.

If I was in that situation, I’d probably become a disruption because I’d have a hard time not laughing out loud or maybe even grabbing a nearby lemur and inventing a new pose based on hugging a furry animal.

The whole lemur thing at the English hotel is part of a series of “meet the wildlife wellness activities.” I guess there’s a wildlife park next to the hotel and its manager said lemurs are great for helping people “de-stress.” He also said lemurs more or less do some of the poses in the wild, so they’re naturals in the world of yoga.

Sounds to me like an ideal way for people and lemurs to mingle. And the concept (of course) got my mind going in all kinds of directions with regard to “novelty yoga,” and even though there are apparently already several popular varieties, I figure there’s always room for more.

•Sloth yoga.

As arguably the most chill animals on Earth, sloths would certainly have the right Zen attitude and demeanor to be involved in yoga. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it might not be practical because classes would probably just take too long.

•Fire-eating yoga.

What a hot time in the gym that would be!

It’s simple: When everyone in the group does a gate pose, fish pose or another pose that works, the instructor says, “inhale,” and everyone shoves the burning object down their throats. Then the instructor says, “exhale,” and the flames fly.

•Clown yoga.

Participants get bopped over the head with rubber mallets, doused by squirting daisies and basically given the standard clown treatment (short of being packed into a phone booth with 15 other yogis). But be warned: The big wedgie could come at any moment if you do certain moves, like a cow pose or a downward facing dog.

•Mud yoga.

Why not wallow around in a bog while doing a bridge, cat or hero pose? A participant might consider wearing earplugs, but think of the mental release. And hey, a good mud fight would be a fine way for everyone to get closer to their inner warrior.

•Cheeseburger yoga.

Basically, this version mirrors beer and wine yoga, but participants would have a 1/2-pound burger in hand instead of a bottle or glass. And there’s plenty of room for everyone, because whenever necessary, patties could be vegetarian or vegan and buns could be gluten-free.

Anyway, it occurs to me that anyone could make up a novelty version of yoga and then host an event where people give it a try. In fact, I’m not sure a TV show based on novelty yoga wouldn’t get pretty good ratings.

It would have all the ingredients, like action, suspense, humor and even tragedy. And in some cases, major cuteness.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.

Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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