Yoga seems to be a popular practice for many people. Almost everyone I know seems to be doing a bit of Yoga for strength training, exercise, mental vitality, and emotional wellbeing. But, just how widespread is Yoga? Is it just as popular everywhere else in the world as it is here? I wanted to find out where is Yoga popular in and which places are lagging behind.
You might not know this, but there are some places where Yoga is actually banned or encourage not to be practiced. So, if you are planning a holiday and want to do a bit of Yoga while you are away, make sure you choose one of the destinations below or a destination that is Yoga friendly. Of course, about half a billion people practice Yoga worldwide, so it is safe to assume that most countries have a following nowadays.
Yoga is not a new practice in most countries, and while some countries have a small following of the art, the below-mentioned places have large followings. Read on to take a closer look at the yoga culture in each of these countries and destinations.
These are 12 countries (or places) to practice Yoga.
The birthplace of Yoga is India, so it comes as no surprise that so many people practice the art there. If you are traveling to India, you will find a variety of yoga retreats set up for those looking for a Yoga inspired holiday.
While Yoga originated in India, you will find that yoga teachers do not teach, and quite frankly do not know what “Hot yoga” is. This seems to be a form of Yoga that came about in the Western world. If you are heading off to India any time soon, do not expect to find a Hot yoga class to attend.
2. The United States
The United States is a country that adopted Yoga eagerly. Teachings of Yoga in the 1960s become popular quite quickly. Nowadays, around 40 million people actively take part in Yoga across the country, and about 40% of those people are children under the age of 18. This means that the younger generations are growing up understanding and practicing Yoga and will probably pass down the knowledge and practice to their children in turn.
In America, you can find a plethora of yoga types and styles to choose from, and yes, Hot Yoga is a thing in the US. It seems as if Yoga is a practice that sets to stay in the United States!
If you think of Thailand, you probably think of thumping beach parties on full moon evenings, seedy night clubs overflowing with people, and gorgeous beaches with azure waters. You probably would not associate Yoga with Thailand that much, would you? I certainly had no inkling that Yoga was popular there, but it is!
There are several retreats and studios that teach Yoga in Thailand, so next time you head over for a Thai holiday, take your yoga pants and mat along.
4. Costa Rica
Costa Rica, because of its vast beauty, is a top yoga destination for travelers. It must be noted that it is not particularly a huge following in terms of locals. Many retreats take advantage of the scenery of Costa Rica, which includes sprawling jungles and pristine beaches – where better to practice Yoga, right?
Also, it seems popular for US travelers to set up “pop up” yoga classes in Costa Rica – that sounds fun! If you are looking for a yoga holiday destination, put Costa Rica on the top of your list.
The Yoga following in Indonesia used to be somewhat bigger than it is today. What changed things? It wasn’t for lack of love of Yoga that the followers dwindled, but more because of restrictions. It was the banning of Muslims from practicing Yoga that caused a decline in the size of the Yoga following in the country. However, most Indonesians are avid yoga practitioners.
Indonesia is also a massive hub for yoga tourists. Many think that the popularity is a direct result of the book called “Eat, Pray, Love” published by Elizabeth Gilbert that featured a yoga retreats in Indonesia.
Hawaii is, also, a trendy place to practice Yoga, and it’s not just for tourism purposes. The general population fully believes in the health benefits of Yoga. Did you know that it is even mentioned in the Hawaiin legislature that Yoga is good for the people of the country? It states that …
“The practice of yoga is beneficial to the people of Hawaii, including children, as it lowers stress, reduces health problems and health insurance costs, and promotes healthy living among adults and the elderly population.” State of Hawaii
You also might not know that in Hawaii, prisoners are taught regular yoga lessons. The spirit of Yoga in Hawaii is hard to overlook, as both locals and visitors enjoy the vast beauty around them while regularly participating in yoga classes.
If you are heading to Hawaii, you are sure to find a yoga group to join and will thoroughly enjoy the welcoming nature of the people of the country.
Germany is another one that won’t easily be suspected as a place to practice Yoga! Apparently, Yoga is among the most popular recreational activity in all of Germany.
Millions of people in Germany have tried Yoga on an occasion, and many of them practice the art regularly and believe in its lifestyle. Tourists visiting Germany are often surprised at just how widespread the art is. This means that most German cities have yoga studios offering classes, and there are several yoga retreats that you can visit too.
It is hard not to feel spiritual when you look out at the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, isn’t it? Now just add Yoga to that, and you already have the perfect retreat.
Yoga is vastly popular in Nepal, especially in the travel market. The country boasts several yoga and trekking resorts for those who want to find spiritual clarity and get back to nature. People seeking peace and tranquility along with great yoga sessions often head to Nepal as it’s known for being quite a peaceful place.
Yoga was slow to start off in Sweden, but it has since flourished in popularity. Locals attend a variety of studios for regular and Hot Yoga, while international travelers usually head to the Alps to soak in the scenery, ski, and get languid hours of Yoga in. It is also interesting to note that prisons in Sweden introduced Yoga for inmates back in 2008.
Sweden is high up on the list of popular yoga destinations to visit.
Most people head to Morocco for long days on the beach, but it seems a trend has emerged for Yoga to be included in such holidays. One of the biggest yoga communities in Morocco is in Casablanca, where the most common types include Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Kundalini yoga, Bikram yoga, and Vinyasa yoga.
11. The Bahamas
The Bahamas is a traveler’s yoga destination. Yoga is popular here, but not particularly amongst the locals. Everywhere you go in The Bahamas, you will see yoga retreats and classes aimed at visitors to the country. Of course, The Bahamas is the ideal yoga destination because of its tranquility and undeniable beauty.
The main purpose of a trip to The Bahamas is to relax, unwind, and find inner peace – and Yoga is the perfect complement to that.
Imagine grabbing your yoga mat and finding a quiet space with an outlook onto the Mexican natural sites. That is just what many travelers look forward to when planning a trip to Mexico. This is another holiday destination sought after for its yoga retreats. The local yoga community also seems to be growing steadily as more people learn the benefits of the practice.
Places Where Yoga is Banned
Some organizations in certain countries have ban yoga for different reasons. If you are hoping to head off for a yoga retreat, you might experience some difficulty depending on where you’re going.
- Russia – the City of Nizhnevartovsk (they believe that Yoga may develop the notion of religious cults and movements).
- Canada – the University of Ottawa (banned due to educational sensitivity as they see Yoga as a religious influence and cultural appropriation).
- Malaysia – A National Council (not banned throughout the country, but in certain areas, Muslims are encouraged not to practice it).
All in all
Yoga has managed to work its way right across the globe, and while some communities worry that it is a religion or faith that should not be practiced, others realize its health benefits and regularly participate in classes. If you are traveling to a foreign country any time soon and plan to take a few yoga classes, any of the destination mentioned above might be a good fit!