Yoga has undoubtedly risen and evolved since its beginnings in ancient India, even dubbed as “reinvented American spirituality.” In the U.S. alone, 36.7 million people (15 percent of adults) practice yoga, according to a 2016 report released by the Yoga Alliance. The top three reasons people practice? The enjoyment of the practice, its positive health effects and its abilities to help relieve stress.
People appreciate the far-reaching benefits of yoga, and it’s no surprise that the Hindu tradition has transformed into a profoundly popular fitness boom in the West, especially in the following cities:
New York City: Opportunity With more than 8 million people, the Big Apple is vast with opportunity for all types of yogis who practice all styles of yoga. The Yoga Journal praises NYC for its world-renowned teacher training, including over 650 registered teachers and over 50 registered schools.
For those who aspire to discover various yoga experiences (from long-established traditional to new-age practice), then this East Coast metro may be where they take their practice to the next level. Yogi New Yorkers can unleash their energy and curiosity for deepened training surrounded by diverse teachers who continue to learn and inspire. Professional yoga teachers may even express their passion for yoga by living in an NYC apartment that shares space with their studio, connecting their mind, body and spirit to the practice 24/7.
San Francisco: De-stress and Decompress San Francisco residents are 59 percent more likely to do yoga than the general population, according to Forbes. In fact, this Cali city by the bay was the first city to build a studio in its international airport for yogi travelers.
Yoga also serves as an outlet for people to decompress the mind and body. Techies working in the leading urban hub for startups, entrepreneurship and innovation can escape the fast-paced stress and competition of the industry to find zen and mental reprieve. Yoga Journal adds that local tech giants like Google, Twitter, Facebook and Airbnb offer employees free yoga and meditation workshops and classes.
Los Angeles: Yoga-Inspired Trends If you’re in search of innovative yoga trends, head west to the City of Angels to discover yoga variations like stand-up paddleboard yoga, aerial yoga and a yoga style that combines yoga, dance and booty sculpting. LA is also where the ubiquitous vinyasa flow originated at YogaWorks with Maty Ezraty nearly 30 years ago.
Yogis travel to this Cali coastal city to practice among the cool ocean breeze and salty sea air. They relax to the sounds of breaking waves at Shutters on the Beach, an LA beach hotel offering yoga on the sand. And the trendy beach town of Santa Monica is a quick drive over where they can sweat it out at Hot 8 Yoga or rejuvenate at YogaWorks on laid-back Main Street.
Denver: Yogi-Athletes Behind Washington D.C. and Minneapolis, Denver ranks third for the healthiest city in the nation, according to the American Fitness Index (AFI). It’s no surprise, as Denver has access to plenty of parks and workout facilities. The Mile-High city is also known for its natural appeal and outdoor adventures, from skiing and snowboarding to climbing and hiking. Challenging yoga (both outdoors and indoors) is no different in this city.
Top Denver yoga studios specialize in advanced yoga practices. Endorphin Studios offers Power Vinyasa Flow, a challenging practice with advanced postures within a heated environment, and Tigress guides advanced practitioners as they take their practice to the next level. Surrounded by such natural beauty, Denver yogis also love to head outdoors to practice. They can start their day with yoga at sunrise or join a practice followed by a picnic of wine and a music performance.