A form of living, that is not considered within the mainstream of accepted practices, or understood practices. A social stigma of living differently, than what is believed to be normal.
In some circles, the term implies a form of social rebellion, against the current power circles within a specified society. A form of rebellion.
Others, consider it to refer to one's sexual activities, in that they practice sexual acts, that most of society consider abnormal, or unaccepted.
Basically, living a life, that has different values, connotations, from the established society.
Can refer to someone who simply seeks an alternative solution to a part of their life, that the majority might not consider, or accept, as being practical, or relevant.
Living in a commune style, can be considered an alternative lifestyle.
This being where a group live together, sharing all forms of obligations, and in a more group setting, where privacy is of less importance, as is having material possessions, that are not shared.
How one approaches their eating habits, can also be construed to have them living in an alternative lifestyle.
Vegans for example, or those who don't worship the more traditional God of modern day religion, can be considered living an alternative lifestyle.
Homosexuality is considered an 'alternative lifestyle' due to the sexual component, in that sex is between same gender persons.
Additionally, they engage in similar lifestyles, but with a person of the same gender, rather than with the established majority, that perceive couples as being of mixed gender.
The primary component, of living an alternative lifestyle, is that one chooses a different solution, or method, from what society considers normal.
Medicine for example, in which one chooses acupuncture before consulting with a mainstream physician, even though Acupuncture is an old established remedy for many ills.
As concepts, beliefs, change, what may have once been considered a form of alternative lifestyle, they may cease to be classed as that.
As freedoms expand, what was once considered odd, is now considered merely an alternative choice, and eventually becomes an accepted form of society.
Practice (Associated Acts):
The BDSM community, is considered an alternative lifestyle, as it deviates from what many in today's western civilization considers normal.
It is more about the way life is evolved, among those who share this culture, or lifestyle. Not just the sexual acts, but how it translates into the normal daily routine.
In some sense, it is not just the entire way one lives, but in portions of their life.
Swingers, who may live otherwise, normal lifes, can be classed as being an alternative lifestyle, as multiple sex partners, while already in a relationship, is frowned upon by mainstream society.
Alternative Lifestyle does not imply only homosexuality, but other features of life, that is not considered part of, or accepted by, the majority.
Those who seek alternative medicine practices, can be considered as having an alternative lifestyle, or those who prefer more than one wife, or partner.
Eco Villages, can be considered an alternative lifestyle, in where people choose to practice a more stringent form of environmental friendly living, than normal society does, in a similarly structured form, like a village, town, or building.