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Yoga is making an impact in a huge way in these smaller (less than one million people) communities. Find out how.
presented by MINDBODY Connect
Albuquerque, New Mexico
YA Registered Teachers: 104
YA Registered Schools: 13
Rich in Native American culture and home to the Ayurvedic Institute, which teaches the ancient healing therapies of yoga, herbal medicine, nutrition, and more, this Southwestern city has always been in touch with its spiritual side. The result: A booming yoga scene that’s strong in both body and spirit. “The long tradition of natural medicine and holistic healing that’s been passed from generation to generation makes people here very open to finding a deeper connection with themselves, with others, and with nature, to live a happier, healthier life,” says local Easter Bonnifield, who teaches AyurYoga, a style that incorporates Ayurvedic therapies with traditional yoga practices to balance the body and mind.
YA Registered Teachers: 104
YA Registered Schools: 7
New families and young professionals are flocking from DC to this area, about 15 minutes from the capital, bringing their love of yoga with them. “It’s the sweet spot of people who have an urban aesthetic as well as a desire to live mindfully and at a slightly slower place than the city offers,” says Anne Moyer, a hatha yoga teacher at Sun and Moon Yoga Studio. “Because the population is a little more settled and less transient, it fosters a closer, more tightly knit community.”
YA Registered Teachers: 112
YA Registered Schools: 14
No list would be complete without mentioning this yogi mecca at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. As expected, Boulder has world-class yoga studios like Yoga Pod (boulder.yogapodcommunity.com) and the Little Yoga Studio (with $10 classes!), and master teachers like Amy Ippoliti and Ashtanga-based Richard Freeman. The town is also home to Naropa University, a liberal-arts college founded by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche that offers a BA degree in Traditional Eastern Arts; spiritual media publisher Sounds True; the yoga-music label White Swan Records; and, of course, yours truly, Yoga Journal. “The setting for yoga is gorgeous, with mountain views everywhere you look, and plenty of opportunities to blend a practice on and off the mat,” says Ippoliti, the co-founder of 90Monkeys, an online educational resource for yoga professionals (90monkeys.com). “Boulder yogis realize there is more to the practice than sweating and vinyasa. There is a unique depth of practice here that’s both spiritual and philosophical.”
Asheville, North Carolina
YA Registered Teachers: 79
YA Registered Schools: 9
Often referred to as the Portland of the East, Asheville boasts a collaborative, adventurous, and playful spirit, which perfectly describes its quirky yoga scene. Studios offer everything from hot flow to Ashtanga and Kundalini. Rumor has it that Asheville’s Blue Ridge Mountains lie over a large quartz vortex, thus attracting phenomenal healers to the area. Asheville also has more microbreweries per capita than anywhere else in the United States, inspiring the town’s new “Bend and Brew” series, which involves a 45-minute yoga class followed by a local-beer tasting. “I travel all over the world, teaching and taking classes and workshops, and I find it so amazing that our little ol’ town of Asheville houses some of the best teachers I have experienced (famous or not famous!),” says Stephanie Keach, hatha yoga teacher and cofounder of the Asheville Yoga Center.