Yoga is practiced all around the world, and it differs from place to place. We took a deep dive into the most popular yoga destinations, and are laying out the modern basics and the history of yoga in each area. Today, we are focusing on a country that heavily practices yoga for fitness reasons, the United States of America.
Yoga Origin in the US (1,2)Yoga was originally brought over to the United States for reasons other than to stay healthy. Swami Vivekananda, a hindu monk, came to the United States around 1893 to help spread the practice of yoga. He got groups of people to come together in Chicago, and delivered a total of 6 speeches throughout 16 days to them. He addressed the crowds as “Brothers and Sisters of America”, and spoke of yoga as a philosophy, psychology, and a self-improvement tool before bringing about the fitness benefits of yoga.
Vivekananda brought yoga to the United States, but in the early 20th Century, yoga started to be centered more around posture and fitness (became more Westernized than traditional yoga).
General Practice of Yoga in the US (3, 4)Yoga is generally practiced today in the United States for fitness reasons. Different studios teach different things however. There are some studios that will only promote yoga for religious reasons, and others that strive to completely separate yoga from religion.
Studies have been conducted to figure out why people practice yoga across America. The most recent Yoga In America study found that the top five reasons (in order) for people starting yoga in America are as follows; to improve flexibility, to promote stress relief, to improve their general fitness, to improve their overall health, and to stay physically fit.
This study also found that the top 5 places people practice yoga in America are in their home, at a gym or health club, at a yoga studio, at a community center, or at a park. Practicing yoga can be done anywhere that you can find peace of mind, which probably explains why at home comes at the top of the list!
Yoga and Food in the US (5)There are no guidelines on how to eat to be a yogi in America. There are however eating patterns that we see amongst yogis in America. Over 50% of people that participated in the Yoga In America study (previously mentioned) report eating sustainable foods. Sustainable food really doesn’t have a definition, but can be described as food that gives back to the community. Locally sourced, fair traded, things of the sort.
Dress for Yoga in the USYoga is a very popular industry in the United States, and the item that makes it most of its money is yoga clothing. Most yoga clothing in America consists of tighter clothing that one can easily move around in.
The most popular items of clothing to practice in are leggings, sports bra, tank tops, even your birthday suit! There are a multitude of companies that sell yoga clothes, including Manduka and Yoga Hyde which can be found on our website! Outfit idea: Essence Bra by Manduka, Yoga Hyde Women's Vira Tank Top, Yoga Hyde Women's Chrystie Yoga Pants, Meditation Cardigan by Manduka.
Gender and Yoga in the USYoga in the United States is practiced by all genders, but most predominantly, by women and non-binary individuals. This is not surprising, as this has always been the case in America. But in more recent years, more men have been practicing than ever before! Keep showing up, men of America!
Anything Else Related to Yoga in the US (6, 7)The most popular state that yoga is practiced in in America is Vermont. Following Vermont is Alaska, then the states of the Pacific Northwest. Interest in yoga in general is higher in the West than in the East.
Americans tend to spend $16 billion total per year in the yoga industry. This includes everything from classes to clothing, equipment, and accessories. Who knew something that was primarily brought about for religious purposes would turn into a multi-billion dollar fitness industry?