If you enjoy practicing yoga, you are in good company. As Yoga Alliance notes, 36.7 million Americans do yoga â€” up a whopping 20.4 million from 2012. Over the years, yoga has gained popularity for a number of reasons, but most yogis say it's because the practice provides them with stress relief, improved physical fitness and better overall health.
While yoga is a hot pastime â€” Bikram yoga, to be quite literal â€” it is more popular in some areas of the country than others, most especially on the West Coast.
Of course, yoga is not created equally, as there are a number of different types of practices, including Iyengar, Sivananda and Vinyasa, just to name a few. There are also a variety of â€œtakesâ€ on the different styles, like naked yoga, family-friendly yoga and dog-friendly yoga or "doga."Â
Let's take a look at some of the country's most popular yoga cities and what the yogis are practicing there.
New York City is the hub for a number of things, so why not yoga? Â The city that is known for its diverse population of people does not specialize in one form of yoga, but instead boasts a huge range of types of classes that will make any yogi happy. For example, check out dance-infused yoga at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center or traditional classes in Iyengar and Sivananda yoga at a number of studios. If doing yoga in the buff sounds intriguing, head to The Big Apple and check out the Bold & Naked Studio, whose yoga classes strive to help students to appreciate their bodies. If you are planning a yoga trip to New York City, you might want to brush up on the latest traffic laws and test your knowledge of safe driving practices in the metropolis. Not only will this help keep you safe in one of the world's busiest cities, but it will help you keep your zen as you travel through the hustle and bustle.
In 1974, the City by the Bay became home to the first-ever Iyengar teacher training program in the country, Yoga Journal says. Since then, yoga has become a way of life for many of its residents. Major companies that are based in San Francicso â€” like Google, Facebook and Twitter â€” are all on the yoga bandwagon, offering free yoga classes to their employees. The cityâ€™s Asian Art Museum was home to the worldâ€™s first yoga-themed art exhibition, and travelers who are at the busy SFO airport can do their fave exercise in a yoga room.
In Oregonâ€™s City of Roses, a number of non-profit organizations are using yoga to help people in need. Living Yoga and Street Yoga bring yoga classes to at-risk youth, rehab centers, prisons and other places, Yoga Journal reports. Other yoga studios offer low-cost classes so that as many people as possible can afford to take the courses, and some offer scholarships and/or free yoga mats to those who bike or take another â€œgreenâ€ method of transportation to class.