Gone are the days when yoga was only practiced by the hippies and spiritual gurus of the world. Ever since yoga’s arrival to the United States, it has continued to grow in popularity with over 21 million Americans taking up the practice and joining in on the good vibes.
Here are 8 of the best cities in the US to live in if you love yoga:
- San Francisco, CA
- New York City, NY
- Los Angeles, CA
- Austin, TX
- Seattle, WA
- Denver, CO
- Houston, TX
- Portland, OR
In fact, yoga has become so popular that there are certain cities across the U.S. that are known for having a strong yoga community. These cities attract yoga lovers from all around the world who are looking to an embark on a yoga holiday.
If you’re someone who loves yoga, keep reading to learn more about the top yoga destinations in the U.S.
1. San Francisco, CA
As if San Francisco wasn’t already a cool enough place to visit, its affinity for yoga and yoga culture is unmatched. In the 1960s, the trendy California city was the heart of the hippie counterculture movement laying the roots for the spirituality and meditative movement of yoga.
It’s home to some of the biggest yoga OGs in the yoga game. By the early 70s, the first Iyengar teacher training program in the United States was founded in The City by the Bay, educating thousands on many of the yoga poses we know and love today.
In San Francisco, yoga studios aren’t the only place where people are pulling out their mats. It’s not uncommon for yoga practice to take place at work, especially if you work at a tech company like Google or Facebook. Your boss might even encourage you to take yoga or meditation classes during work hours.
The SFO airport even has a yoga room dedicated to travelers processing stressful travel situations. Thanks to the nonprofit organization Headstand, elementary schools all across the city are offering yoga classes to their students.
If you love yoga, SF should definitely be on your list of cities to visit.
2. New York City, NY
New York City is a fabulous place to take part in a unique yoga experience as well as a wide variety of other wellness options. The Big Apple is known to be a hub for just about everything, and it doesn’t stop at yoga. What really sets New York City apart from other major yoga cities is the enormous variety of teacher trainings offered. Yogis from all over the world flock to NYC to take part in yoga sessions of all categories ranging from traditional classes at the Iyengar Yoga Institute to newer practices such as dance-infused yoga.
There’s even a yoga studio in NYC that offers a naked vinyasa yoga class. Yup—you read that correctly. New York City’s Bold & Naked yoga studio has shaken up the yoga world with this provocative yoga class designed to encourage body positivity and self-acceptance. So, if you’re in the mood to bolden your yoga practice, this could be the perfect place for you.
New York City is also the only place where you can study seven days a week with some of the most legendary yogis in the game like Sri Dharma Mittra, the mastermind behind the 908 Yoga Asana, a popular poster of yoga postures that has become an absolutely necessary component of teaching in yoga studios all across the United States.
Even more impressive than the variety of teacher trainings NYC has to offer, are the students who are enrolled in these teacher trainings. Many of the students that come to New York to study yoga are determined to go above and beyond the required 200-hr teacher training programs.
The students who come to New York are attracted to its energy and novelty, so many of them are eager to over-achieve. Most yoga teachers in NYC have around 10,000 hours under their yogi belt.
If you’re looking for yoga schools, you might want to put NYC at the top of your list.
3. Los Angeles, CA
If you enjoy outdoor activities, organic food, and pretty much anything having to do with overall wellness, Los Angeles, California is probably the place for you. LA life will have you spoiled and accustomed to beach life in no time.
We love LA for its innovative, trendy culture, especially when it comes to yoga. The popular vinyasa flow that we know and love was created at LA’s YogaWorks in the late 80s. While a yoga practice that flows seems like second nature to most yogis by today’s standard, it was groundbreaking at the time of its birth.
Another style of yoga that became popular in Los Angeles was Kundalini Yoga, practiced at the Golden Bridge Yoga studio. Currently, some of the coolest types of yoga lessons you can take in LA are standup paddleboard yoga at the beach, aerial yoga, Yoga Booty Ballet. If you’re in town long enough, head over to Santa Monica beach and meditate at Unplug, one of LA’s drop-in meditation studios.
It’s easy to see why LA is one of our top yoga destinations. If you’re looking to go on a yoga vacation jam-packed with award winning restaurants, innovative yoga studios, and as much beach time as your heart desires, visit LA and bask in its natural beauty.
4. Austin, TX
You might be surprised to see the Lone Star State on this list, but don’t underestimate the vibrant yoga community that is Austin, Texas. Known as the live-music capital of the world, Austin is home to some of the most diverse artists, food connoisseurs, college students and musicians.
Two of the most popular music festivals in the nation, Austin City Limits (ACL) and South by Southwest (SXSW) take place in Austin every year. The beloved music and film festival, SXSW, often features classes hosted by Black Swan Yoga to help festival goers recover with live performances from musicians.
For those yogis who are single and ready to mingle, this hip and colorful city has even been known to host yoga-themed dating events. But don’t worry, if you’re not a part of the dating scene, the fun doesn’t stop there. If you wind up taking a yoga holiday in Austin, you could find yourself taking part in a yoga flash mob to encourage peace and love throughout the city.
Beer lovers can combine their love for craft beer with their love for yoga by attending one of Austin’s “bend and brew” events. Dog moms and dads can take their furry friends with them to Austin Doga and attend a mindfulness session. In this quirky Texas town there is even a Whole Foods Market that offers yoga sessions on the rooftop!
Life could never be boring in a city like Austin. If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience filled with social activities and artistic energy, take your yoga vacation in Austin, Texas.
5. Seattle, WA
This charming cloud-covered city by the sea is another one on our list boasting a passion for overall wellness. But here in the Rain City, it’s not just adults who practice yoga. Seattle’s claim to yoga fame is how they have made the practice accessible to parents and children alike. Yogis all across the nation come to Seattle for the grassy parks and decked-out farmers’ markets. It is said that the Seahawks football team even participate in some yoga as part of their training regimen.
Because of the family-friendly yoga environment in Seattle, kids are taking an interest in hitting the yoga mat at a young age. Families in Seattle can experience fun-filled yoga festivities at The Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park in the summertime.
If you are family-oriented, this is one of the best places to live for yoga. If you’re not from Washington and just looking for a cool place to do sun salutations at a popular destination, Seattle is one of the best places in the country to visit.
For those looking to get away, search for the many retreats that take place all year round in neighboring areas such as the Methow Valley Winter Retreat and the Yoga Meditation Retreat in Whidbey Island.
Since Seattle is known as the Coffee Capital of the World, be sure to check out one of the city’s award winning coffee shops like Sound Fog or Café Ladro.
6. Denver, CO
Denver has been making a name for itself in the hippie community ever since it legalized marijuana in 2012. Since then, it’s been a popular destination for tourists looking to find peace in a laid back atmosphere and plenty of vegetarian food.
So, what makes Denver stand out from other cities with a strong yoga culture? I’ts a great city for athletes to hit the mat as it offers some of the most challenging classes in the country. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can go hiking on one of the city’s world-famous trails before taking a high-energy, three-hour, intermediate level class like the one offered at Endorphin Studios.
Visitors and residents of Denver can also partake in the advanced Forrest Yoga which requires holding poses for a long time and flowing through vigorous sequences at the Samadhi Center. Denver has no shortage of yoga studios for those who are looking to practice yoga in a more advanced setting.
The Mile High City has a lot to offer athletic types who enjoy hiking, taking fitness classes that will test your strength and endurance, and local yoga studios that really bring the heat.
7. Houston, TX
H-Town is the most ethnically diverse metropolitan city in the country. It’s no wonder why their yoga scene is pretty diverse as well. One of the great things about Houston, Texas is that while the city is bustling, there are still plenty of grassy, green areas to practice yoga outdoors and even enjoy one of their many picnic areas.
Discovery Green, a 12-acre city park in Houston, offers free classes where those who are looking to connect with mother nature during their practice yoga outside. If you’re new to yoga, take a beginner level class at Big Power Yoga or YogaOne Houston.
If you’re looking for affordable yoga instruction, The Houston Yoga Collective offers budget-friendly classes and workshops. We all know that life in Texas sure isn’t cold, which is why Texans aren’t afraid of a little Bikram Yoga. Original Hot Yoga Houston has been around for over 20 years and provides approximately 60 hot yoga sessions per week.
As you can see, the home of the Astros baseball team has a ton of yoga studios to choose from. While you’re in town, you won’t be disappointed with the tons and tons of hometown Texas BBQ to try. But if you’re looking to eat food with more health benefits, try the paleo-friendly restaurant Ruggles Black in Houston.
8. Portland, OR
If you’re looking to live in a city with a strong yoga community and emphasis on health and wellness, you will definitely enjoy your life in Portland, Oregon. Rose City is famously proud of their willingness to give back to their community by shopping local and choosing environmentally friendly options.
Portland residents are highly educated and passionate about social responsibility, and as a result have created a collaborative and socially aware yoga community that is dedicated to serving the needs and interests of local neighborhoods.
One of the ways they have achieved this community-oriented yoga culture is through the creation of nonprofit organizations such as Living Yoga and Street Yoga, which bring yoga knowledge to prisons, at-risk youth, shelters and rehabilitation centers.
The People’s Yoga is one of a handful of yoga studios in Portland that offer low-cost yoga lessons to make the practice accessible to those who would have otherwise opted out due to financial hardships.
Other yoga studios like the Bhaktishop Yoga Center give out scholarships for yoga passes and even encourage their practitioners to make eco-friendly choices by offering free yoga mats to anyone who rides their bike or walks to class.
Portland has so much to offer those who are in love with a traditional yoga lifestyle. There is no shortage of fresh, organic, and vegetarian eateries and farmer’s markets. For those who love to go hiking or cycling, there are plenty of scenic trails to conquer as well.
This is why Portland, Oregon is one of the best places to live if you love yoga. If you aren’t trying to move to Portland, it’s also a wonderful place to attend a yoga retreat.
Best Yoga Retreats in the Country
If you aren’t looking to relocate but want to enjoy a yoga holiday in a different city, here are some of the best yoga retreats in the country:
- The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA is famous for its yoga retreats, serving guests on their 120-acre campus with over 500 yoga workshops per year.
- The Omega Institute in Rhineback, NY offers a variety of yoga retreats ranging from rigorous to restorative. Sign up for a yoga retreat from any time of the year and enjoy tai chi classes, meditation and daily nutritious meals.
- Kalani in Pahoa, HI offers one of the region’s largest yoga retreats. This beautiful Hawaii facility is located right between a tropical jungle and the Pacific Ocean, and offers over 50 classes per week, providing instruction of dozens of yoga styles.
- The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health located in Stockbridge, MA is widely considered to be one of the best yoga establishments in the country for immersive holistic-living classes and yoga retreats. A yoga retreat at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health is all-inclusive with spacious grounds, healthy meals and daily classes as well as fitness classes, a sauna, and a lakefront beach.
No matter what your goals are for your yoga vacation, there is a destination somewhere in the United States that has everything you are looking for and more. Happy traveling, yogis.