The ancient practice of yoga focuses on physical, mental, and spiritual health. Research shows that yoga is not only beneficial for relieving stress, it also improves balance, promotes healthier eating and physical activity, and boosts mental well-being.
Around the world, many spots are renowned for their yogic opportunities. While some of the best spots to practice lie within beautiful natural areas, others have established histories in large urban areas.
Connecting with nature can be a restorative experience, with protected habitats and nature reserves providing incredible benefits. But not everyone can pop out to the forest a few times a week. For this reason, urban green spaces like parks are also important.
Colorado provides residents and visitors access to both large nature areas and city parks, making it an ideal location for practicing yoga. With its year-round sunshine, snow-capped mountain vistas, and comfortable levels of high-altitude air, the city of Boulder is one of the most popular destinations in the state for yogis.
Researchers say that with 75 percent of the population of developed countries living in urban areas, natural landscapes are becoming increasingly important; they provide a link between humans and the natural environments from which they evolved.
There is no shortage of spectacular natural sites in the Grand Canyon State. Whether it’s practicing a standing eagle pose atop an energy vortex in Sedona or experiencing goat yoga by Phoenix, Arizona is a haven for yogis. Practitioners looking for community will find retreats, resource centers, classes, and all levels of teacher training in the major cities.
New York, USA
In addition to the physical and psychological benefits yoga offers, it can also provide a sense of community. Participating in a yoga class can ease loneliness and create a safe and supportive environment for healing.
New York is home to a range of community classes in cities across the state. Instead of a rivalry between studios, the New York City yoga community has established a kinship between them. Yogis will find an eclectic and forward-thinking yoga culture in the Big Apple, led by world-renowned teachers.
The Aloha State has perfected the exotic, eco-friendly wellness escape. Practitioners will find an array of resorts here with breathtaking ocean views, solar-powered, energy-efficient architecture, and complete wellness regimens. Daily yoga classes, hiking, and exploring the wonders of Hawaii’s oceanic culture add to the allure.
In fact, studies show that blue spaces with views of the water may be slightly more restorative to both mental and general health than green spaces.
It’s probably not surprising that there are countless excellent yoga locations in California. The area evolved into a yoga hub in the 1950s, with San Francisco quickly becoming its epicenter. California has a progressive yoga scene with studios that fit every style, from sound healing meditation to naked yoga.
Researchers recommend a minimum of 120 minutes of weekly contact with blue or green spaces for optimal health, which will not be a challenge here. There are a vast number of breathtaking outdoor sites across the state where yogis can integrate body, mind, and spirit.
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, might be a bit less expected as an established yoga center. Some of the most well-respected teachers in the country have called the city home at some point in their careers, helping establish the roots for this growing hub of yoga culture.
Local instructors strive for an inclusive and diverse yoga community. Dozens of studios across the city provide a vast array of instruction, including classes specifically for youths, veterans, and people with mental health conditions.
British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia, with its world-class ski resorts, wineries, and outdoor adventures, is a top destination in Canada for all these reasons and more. The city of Vancouver, revered for its fresh air, gorgeous beaches, mild winters, and easy access to the nearby North Shore Mountains is a favorite getaway spot in the province.
What you may not know is that Vancouver is also a respected hub for yoga practitioners. The community started in the West End in the 1960s. Today, one in five Canadians practices yoga, and people in Vancouver practice yoga at nearly twice the rate of any other city in Canada.
In recent years, this Mediterranean country has become a highly respected wellness hub and home to some of the top yoga retreats in the world. The Cyclades, a group of islands southeast of the mainland, are the perfect backdrop for a serene, yoga-inspired destination. The tranquil beaches are lined with whitewashed homes and blue-domed churches, creating a uniquely engaging spot for meditation.
One of the goals of yoga is to seek serenity, ease stress, and improve your quality of life. It follows that finding the perfect spot to practice can enhance these effects.
Costa Rica is an eco-friendly paradise for wellness seekers offering a large number of year-round yoga and spiritual retreats. Those seeking more of a low-key, less structured escape can travel to scenic Montezuma, a budget-friendly bohemian village with rugged beaches, spectacular waterfalls, and a variety of birds and other wildlife.
Sweden is one of the healthiest countries on the planet. It is also home to the first yoga school in Europe, which opened in 1949. People travel to Sweden from all over the world to experience its yoga and meditation retreats.
Abisko is a small village at the north of the Arctic Circle, where practitioners can enjoy winter meditation beneath breathtaking green and blue night sky views of the Aurora Borealis. Research shows that meditation in nature can improve mood and soothe stress, so this spot is a prime pick.