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Could this new craze put a spring in your step?

By Roland Wilkerson
rwilkerson@charlotteobserver.com

Poll

The Observer joins in the tradition of April Fool's pranks with some playful ribbing of the yoga crazes that are sweeping the country. What do you think?

As the ancient practice of yoga morphs to meet ever-shifting American tastes, Charlotte is embracing a new variation that might have drawn scoffs just a few years ago.

It’s been dubbed poga: yoga poses performed as you bounce around on pogo sticks.

“At first, people thought it was a joke,” said Michelle Morrison, who’s heading poga instruction at Yoga One, a popular studio on Central Avenue in Charlotte. “But everyone made fun of air yoga, too.”

Today, that practice of hanging upside down from silken hammocks to perform poses is common at studios across the region. “We expect the same thing for poga,” she said, noting that new forms of yoga are often unveiled during the much-anticipated spring yoga season.

While traditionalists cringe at trendy yoga variations that have swept the U.S., Morrison said poga is in keeping with the timeless traditions of the discipline. “The more you study yoga and embrace the guiding principles, the more you understand that posing while you bounce up and down is a totally natural way to embrace the flow of life.”

New moves have been created. There’s the contented kangaroo, resplendent rabbit, and a fresh take on a classic, the upward-downward-upward-downward-upward-downward dog. For newcomers, the maneuvers can be tricky, Morrison said, and she tells her students that achieving total peace on a pogo stick takes considerable practice.

And it’s not cheap, either. In addition to extra-snug poga pants, Poga-Dot tops and super-sturdy poga mats to protect pricy wood studio floors, there’s the cost of the spring-loaded devices themselves. Adherents favor the $250 Poga PX-90, ($280 with a bamboo sheath and shoulder strap) which offers cushy foot pads in keeping with the yoga tradition of practicing barefoot.

“I love poga,” said April Furöest, 41, of Dilworth. She started bouncing at Yoga One three months ago, where she rented a stick for $20 a session before investing in her own. “At first my friends thought it was the stupidest thing they ever heard of, but now they ...

Happy April Fools' Day!

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