Yoga in California

Margaret Kruszewska

California has a reputation. And that’s a good thing for those of us who are yoga practitioners. There probably exist more yoga studios and yoga teachers in San Francisco and Los Angeles than anywhere else in the world.

Some of the most influential and inspiring yoga legends have come through town. Many, like Swami Vishnu Devananda of the Sivananda Vedanta Center, set up the first yoga centers here that included yoga teacher’s training programs in the early 1960’s. As early as the 1920’s, California drew such amazing spiritual teachers as the great Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.

The Human Potential Movement connected with Big Sur’s Esalen in the 1960’s offered an environment for scholars and practitioners to study and practice such mind -body techniques as yoga and meditation. This influenced academic programs, book publications and most importantly, connected practitioners from many different disciplines and traditions.

Places have their own energies. And, although it’s often been a mixed bag for California, it has generated many communities that allow and support a yoga life.

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