Since being re-incarnated from a mystical practice to a mainstream activity, yoga has been on a journey of constant evolution.
Now, the latest twist to master is the concept of 3-D yoga.
This modern style is the brainchild of instructors Vicky Holmstock and Simon Whithall, and – as the name suggests – provides the kind of practice that jumps out of the exercise studio and deep into your physical wellbeing.
"With 3-D, postures aren't just a case of stretch and hold. They are based on the biomechanics of how the body naturally moves and responds in its environment" Vicky explains.
"Our yogis push their poses through three planes of motion – forward and back, side to side and rotating all at the same time. What we really want is to train and keep the body and mind as elastic as possible so that both reach their full potential.
A typical sequence might be to take a traditional posture or sun salutation and constantly change the hand and foot position within the 3-D planes of motion explained above. Each tweak would work different muscles, giving more of an all-round workout with quicker results."
A full sensory onslaught is also crucial to the 3-D concept – which Vicky prefers to teach in the relative bliss of Europe's most breathtaking yoga retreats.
One of the most popular locations is the Molino Del Rey complex in Andalucia, Southern Spain.
There, she works closely with owner Anthony Arnold, whose hallowed rural hideaway is lovingly constructed to offset the added intensity of 3-D practice.
Energy is gathered from hearty vegetarian meals, water for the classes is collected from the resident cascading river, and students reflect on their sessions with a stay in the ethereal meditation caves that have been hand carved into the rugged Spanish mountains.
Combining the 3-D yoga concept with peaceful retreat brings that little piece of Zen on earth that helps us all in modern world.
3-D Tips to improve your practice
• Don't practice the same postures over and over again. The body gets used to them and imbalances are created which weaken the muscles' ability to 'spring' back
• Instead of holding a pose, move the body in and out of it so you are working with and against gravity, momentum and ground reaction
• Change the position of the feet and arms. The joints and muscles will experience different degrees of rotation and motion.
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Report: Andrea Maltman