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America’s Top 10 Yoga Cities

in YD News

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Forbes, our go-to site for all things yoga, put out their Top 10 Cities for Yoga in the U.S. They start off by reminding us that boy, this yoga thing sure is popular! and profitable. How popular and profitable? According to the 2012 study by Sports Marketing Surveys on behalf of Yoga Journal about 20 million Americans over 18 practiced yoga last year or roughly 8.7% of the adult population which is up from 15.8 million in 2008. Out of those polled who said they didn’t practice, 44% said they’d like to give it a try.

Oh yeah and celebrities do it, oh and it’s also pretty great for you, too.

As for the profitable part, Americans are doling out $10.7 billion a year on yoga classes and paraphernalia like yoga clothing, mats, props and tchotchkes, which was up a whopping 88% from 2008, which makes us think that the 44% of “aspirational yogis” aren’t too shy about strutting around in yoga pants even if they never cross the sticky mat. We’ve seen you in the soup aisle. No shame.

So out of all this yogamania, which cities win the Yoga Town title? Here’s how Forbesy got their list:

To determine the top U.S. cities for yoga, we turned to data from the marketing firm GfK MRI, which conducted surveys in 205 markets last year, asking participants whether they practiced yoga, and if so, how frequently and for how long.

So they didn’t have yogabots come practice on mats next to you in your town? No, much to our surprise and chagrin. We could have sworn that one guy was blowing a circuit a few months back and downing some sort of post-class WD-40 smoothie mumbling something like, “Got. to get. myself. in gear!”

Anyway, here they are, the Top 10 Cities Most Likely to Do Yoga (with our commentary). Can you try and guess them first? Do you think they got them right?

1. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA – 59% more likely to do yoga. Congrats! Not a shocker, with all the hippies, and Yoga Journal, and yoga in the airport and everything, but we would have thought they had dropped a couple of notches by now.

2. Seattle-Tacoma, WA - 46% more likely. From the home of grunge come the lovers of lunge? Anyway, Seattle’s cool. And maybe they really believe in the power of Sun Salutations with all that rain. Believe.

3. Philadelphia, PA – 42% more likely. City of yogerly love!

4. (TIE) Washington DC and New York City, NY – 34% more likely. The DC yoga scene seems to be growing every day and they’re pretty big on election and inaugural yoga balls. NYC, is that all you got? Citing the tons of yoga studios popping up like Starbucks and incorrectly mentioning the GLBL Yoga event in Central Park (which didn’t happen) Forbes puts the big apple in the middle of the pile.

6. Baltimore, MD – 28% more likely. Hey even the Ravens do yoga!

7. Boston, MA – 26% more likely. More suburbs, more yoga. Also, the UMass Medical School in Worcester is home to the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, and to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s well-regarded Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction method.

8. Portland, OR – 23% more likely. Yo, Portland, all the way down this far on the list? We’re surprised at you. And we’re sorry for interrupting your recycling and food truck outing. Please carry on.

9. (TIE) San Diego, Ca and Boise, ID – 21% more likely. OK, so we can’t expect all of California to be fiendish yogadorks, especially in surf town. And Boise, Boise? Boise! Go on, Boise. (It also happens to be No. 15 on Forbes’ 20 Fastest-Growing Cities list and No. 40 on the list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.)

No Boulder, no LA…Is this what you expected? Nominate your town!

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23 comments… add one

  • What?!? No Asheville? I demand a recount… ;)

  • stacy

    I feel like LA should have #1

  • Stephanie

    I nominate Asheville as well!

  • Elizabeth

    Where is Los Angeles? Too bad Forbes does not look at yoga positive cities like Vancouver and Toronto as part of it’s research of yoga cites in North America rather than just in the USA.
    Oh well, I am happy to see that Ustrasana by the Dock on the Bay is still number 1! :)

  • CH

    Surprised New Orleans is not on there, too. Yoga has grown by leaps and bounds here since Katrina!

  • Asheville is widely known as the center for yoga practice in the Southeast. This report is skewed to large “markets,” but yoga at its best has little to do with capitalist culture.

  • Semper Fi

    Too many poseurs in LA. Seane Corn, Yoga Works, Bikram. All has beens or aggro flows who have corrupted yoga. Glad this list sees the light.

  • Ken

    Corvallis Oregon!!!

  • Liz Fillmore

    Um Austin Texas People. Everyone I know there is doing yoga!

  • South central AK! Anchorage/Mat-Su Valley.

  • I’m a yoga teacher in Boise, for 20 years. I’ve notice a large number of travelers visiting from many metropolitan cities (sometimes internationally), and they stop by for a yoga class. We also have many people relocating from these cities, often time basing their transfer on the quality of yoga studios. We have a very active & health minded population. I am happy to see this rating, but then I’ve seen the quality of yoga instruction and popularity first hand. I teach at Sage Yoga & Wellness and also for Shanti Yoga Teacher Training School. Stop by & say hi!

  • Anon

    I’m shocked that Asheville didn’t make the list, but maybe I shouldn’t be. It was Forbes reporting their countdown, anyway, so they’d be far more likely to write off a small town; even if it is a veritable treasure trove of yogi goodness.

  • I was in Boston at marathon time. Couldn’t find a studio to save my soul! Likely the burbs have more.

  • Vision_Quest2

    You bet. That’s where the $$ is … they should take all the suburbs with household incomes above $150,000 … that’s about right… and call it “Boston”

  • JR

    Personally, I’m stunned not to see Chicago on the list. Yoga’s been booming here over the last decade. You can hardly throw a stone without hitting some kind of yoga studio. Moreover, most of the studios are serious and not centered on the latest trend. Sure, there are more than few Core Power and Bikram locations, but Chicago is also home to one of the country’s finest Iyengar centers (Yoga Circle) and many serious hatha centers (Bloom, Yoga View, Yoga Now, Namaskar, Global Yoga, just to name a few).

  • Vision_Quest2

    No New York City, that’s great!

    Obviously, they did not count home practitioners or those secret little basement Hindu shalas …

  • Vision_Quest2

    Oh, seeing it’s in the middle … yeah, they are only looking at commercialized rip-off yoga …

  • Vision_Quest2

    Oh, and Portland?

    That’s where young people go to retire, according to Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. Retirees know where to get yoga classes cheap and free … so one could bet that community centers don’t make their stats …

  • Lots of yoga in Texas – Austin & DFW areas – and also in my small town Midlothian, TX!

  • Liz Vartanian

    Surprised Austin, TX didn’t make it considering we have the highest number of yoga teachers per capita than any other major city… But perhaps we are just too happening in the music scene to claim both ;)

  • E. Carr

    Long Beach, CA…we’ve got to have the most yoga studios per capita.

  • Elle Varga

    NY/metro area, no?

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