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America’s Yoga Capitals & Their Styles

America's Yoga Capitals & Their Styles
Lauren Topor
Written by Lauren Topor
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More than 20 million people practice yoga right here in the United States. That’s according to a 2012 study conducted on behalf of Yoga Journal. Where are the most yoga-centric cities and what do these millions of yogis practice?

Hollywood, California

In 1947, Theos Bernard published the yoga sourcebook “Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience.” It quickly became the most widely read source book on the yoga style. And, during that same year, yogi Indra Devi opened up a studio in Hollywood, California, introducing hatha and other yoga styles to eager Western students. Today, many styles of yoga are practiced in Hollywood and throughout California, but hatha, which focuses on quieting the mind, holding poses and focusing on the breath, remains the most widely practiced yoga style in the United States.

New York City

The American mainstream really began to appreciate the art of yoga in the 1950s when Richard Hittleman brought the practice to New York after studying in India. Throughout the 1960s, Hittleman brought yoga to the television and sold millions of copies of his yoga-focused books. Hittleman hoped to bring the benefits of meditation to the masses.

If you’re a yogi looking to move to NYC, services like ForRent are great to compare neighborhoods (and their proximity to yoga studios). A little meditation can go a long way in the Big Apple, as the hustle and bustle of the metropolis calls for a peaceful practice. The practice of Kundalini focuses specifically on chanting and meditation.

Austin, Texas

The Texas capital city attracts a wide, vibrant range of yoga students. There are many forms of yoga practiced here, from paddleboard yoga on the lake, power yoga or ashtanga and even hiking yoga. The city is actually the birthplace of the movement called MedMob, a social media-driven flashmob for meditation all over the world, which was founded by a group of local Austin-area yoga teachers. However, despite meditation’s heavy influence here, ashtanga falls at the top of the list of most-practiced styles in Austin, Texas.

Boulder, Colorado

The city of Boulder, Colorado has a reputation as one of America’s healthiest cities. It should come as no surprise that yoga is practiced often here. The town offers yoga retreats and workshops and it is heavily populated with studios where all different types of yoga are practiced. But the yoga style that is most popular in Boulder is by far vinyasa, as it’s offered at most of the studios around the area. Vinyasa, which coordinates the breath with the flow of your movements, is popular with Colorado residents as well as practicing yogis across the West.

Portland, Oregon

The City of Roses, otherwise known as Portland, Oregon, rounds out the list of top yoga cities. In Portland, people follow a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, which incorporates many elements that relate to yoga, like peace, devotion, understanding, love and appreciation. In this city, yoga is accessible, no matter your fitness level or background. Bhakti yoga, which is called “love for love’s sake,” is commonly practiced here in flow form. While the practice isn’t as popular as some other styles of yoga across the country, it’s certainly growing.

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About the author

Lauren Topor

Lauren Topor

Lauren Topor is a lifestyle writer based in the Southwest who spends her days writing about food and health, fashion, fitness and entertainment.