While many, many years ago yoga was mainly viewed as a practice for hippies and naturalists, in recent years it has gained popularity throughout the United States, South America and Europe as a way to heal the body, gain strength, feel more confident and so much more. As the perception of yoga has changed over the past few decades, certain cities across the country have particularly embraced yoga culture, and for a true yogi, visiting and experiencing each one could be the trip of a lifetime.
Here is an overview of some of the yoga cities where yoga is most prevalent, and what you need to know about their scene.
As the hub of the East Coast, if not the entire country, it only makes sense New York has a huge yoga scene. Much like the city itself, there is a huge variety of yoga options. Learn from some of the most classic instructors and institutions out there in Manhattan, including the Integral Yoga Institute or Sivananda, or you could head to Brooklyn and try out Bold & Naked Yoga (yes, it is actually yoga practiced naked!).
Because of the diversity in practice, NYC is also a great city to obtain a yoga teaching certification in either hot or flow (vinyasa) yoga. You can even get very specialized instruction in the form of TheHotTT, a 500 hour hot yoga teacher training. But if you’re visiting the Big Apple, don’t let the hustle and bustle of the city get in the way of your zen. You may want to brush up on some safe-driving practices and traffic laws before you go!
As the heart of the hippie movement in the 1960s, it should be no surprise San Francisco has continued to be a yoga hub in the United States. It was one of the first cities to embrace the spirituality and meditativeness that come with yoga, and it has continued to be a part of their culture since.
Living or visiting San Francisco is truly a yogi’s dream; it is ubiquitous throughout the city. Have a delayed flight? There is a yoga room at San Francisco International Airport. Looking for a job? Big employers like Google, Twitter and Airbnb all offer yoga workshops to employees as a way to boost morale and decrease stress. The Asian Art Museum even had an exhibit about yoga! With all the yoga everywhere you look, it is no wonder that San Francisco is one of the top yoga cities.
Portland, a smaller city in the northwest corner of the states, is a city that embraces its unique view on the world and proud of expressing its counterculture roots. Being a city that prides itself on being unique, it makes sense there is a yoga movement accessible to all and even given back to the community. The People’s Yoga offers low-cost classes and was created as a low-budget option in response to people voicing concerns about yoga classes, in general, being too pricey.
Modo Yoga is a very environmentally-conscious studio and offers special “karma classes,” with proceeds benefiting local charities. If you visit Portland and try out some different studios, don’t worry about standing out. The city’s inclusivity permeates everything, including their yoga classes!
From the East Coast to the West Coast, you can find some truly amazing yoga studios across the United States. The variance in New York, the deep-rooted yoga culture in San Francisco, and the beautiful all-embracing culture of Portland are just three of the great yoga cities in the country. If you are looking to enhance your yoga practice and see it from different perspectives, visiting or just learning about other yoga cities is a great way to start.
If you’re traveling through the United States, or even outside, be sure to check out our affiliate studio list to see if a welcoming yoga studio is near you: evolation yoga collective studios