Science has shown that too much stress can be tough on the body, so it’s important for us to look for ways to unwind when the weight of the world gets too heavy on our shoulders. If you’re not feeling traditional forms of stress reduction—yoga, tai chi, meditation—maybe it’s time to think outside the box and get in touch with your inner child. De-stressing doesn’t have to be serious or spiritual—sometimes embarking on “kids play” or simply stepping out of our comfort zone can help us release some of life’s pressures.
Check out these unconventional classes to see if they’re right for you.
Anyone who’s ever tried crow pose for the first time, knows laughing at yourself can be a side effect of yoga, but “laughter yoga” is a program that actually swaps downward dog for hearty chuckles. Developed in India by Dr. Madan Kataria, laughter sessions are led by a teacher who lead students through different exercises—movement and eye contact are key elements during the class. Participants say that the experience brings a lightness to their mood and helps them rid themselves of any heaviness. To find a “laughter club” near you, visit laughteryoga.org.
If your life feels like a bit of a circus, why not embrace it. Aerial classes have been around for a while—the singer Pink has made aerial tricks a centerpiece of her concerts. Safe and secure in a harness, they’re great ways to work your core and upper body; they also allow you to literally and figuratively let go. Classes can focus on the old school trapeze or Cirque de Soleil-style silks. Wellness on the Green in Moorestown offers aerial silks classes, while the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts has intro classes that cover trapeze, silks and fabric.
Trends have a way of circling back into style, and that currently includes the hula hoop, which soared into popularity in the 1950s. Today, hula hooping has become a buzzy workout option, with fitness hula hoops available for classes or home exercise. Not only does it work your core, hooping is a fun way to release your inner child. To find classes and teachers near you visit hooping.org or hoopnotica.com.
This summer, I had the opportunity to jump on a trampoline in my sister’s backyard, and the experience taught me two things: bouncing is fun and a workout. Trampoline parks have become the new moon bounce gyms, and what better way to jump and tumble the stress away at places like Sky Zone, a national chain with locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which offers low impact “SkyRobics” classes.
Now it’s your turn, what are your outside the box ways to destress, unwind, and let go?