We are closing our decade, and it’s time to take a look back at 2009 and the amazing year of growth in our U.S. yoga community. One thing is for certain: Despite the economy and the recession, there was constant growth and expansion in the yoga world!
My colleagues reported that classes were fuller than ever, with flocks of new and returning students seeking solace in their nurturing yoga communities around the country. I also met many folks who had been laid off and decided to turn their passion for yoga into a new career change. After a lot of soul searching, they enrolled in teacher training programs to pursue a craft that truly feeds their spirit.
It has been an inspiring year on so many levels, and I have listed 10 trends below that I have seen firmly taking hold in the U.S. All are welcome additions to the evolution of yoga. It is by no means complete, so please chime in below in the comments to fill in your favorites!
Top 10 yoga trends for 2009
1. Yoga activism organizations are proliferating, helping to bring social change to the world and helping out communities in need. Seane Corn’s Off the Mat, Into the World is an organization that helps teachers build communities around activism and social change. Yoga Gives Back provides micro-finance to India. And Make a Difference Worldwide provides hands-on-help in impoverished communities worldwide.
3. Local festivals like Ojai Yoga Crib on Ojai, Calif., Wanderlust Festival in Lake Tahoe, Telluride Yoga Festival in Colorado, and EvloveFest in New Jersey help us to continue to grow, learn and build a sense of community.
5. Kirtan is exploding more than ever, with Jai Uttal performing at Chant4Change during Obama’s inauguration and BhaktiFest in Joshua Tree. Bhakti Yoga Shala opened as a yoga studio entirely devoted to Kirtan in Santa Monica, and Lady Gaga even has a Kirtan riff in her hit song “Bad Romance” … Can you hear it?
6. Yoga therapy modalities are growing as teachers seek continuing education and specialization. Explore Gary Kraftsow’s Viniyoga, Leslie Kaminoff’s Breathing Project and my very own Yoga Tune Up®. Check out more info at the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
7. Proliferation of in-depth local yoga media — like LA Yoga and Ayurveda Magazine, Yoga Chicago, Yoga Living Magazine in Philadelphia and New York Yoga Magazine — help yogis find great studios and events.
8. Great yoga bloggers keep us informed and connected. Some of my favorites are Elephant Journal, Dr. Kelly McGonigal and Joni Young’s Accidental Yogist (who covers anything and everything about the massive LA yoga scene — and does it all on her lime green bike)! In NYC, Yoga Dork is witty, cutting-edge and entertaining. And of course, there’s the blog you’re reading now!
10. There have been serious groundbreaking studies in yoga research — a trend that I truly hope continues to evolve to inform us for the next several decades. Special thanks to Dr. Lorin Fishman for his studies on yoga and osteoporosis, Richard Miller, Ph.D., and his studies with soldiers and Yoga Nidra, and the pioneering brain research being conducted through Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living.
Please fill in your favorite trends and outlets below, and let us all continue to nurture yoga’s contributions to our personal health and to society. May we serve, play, prosper and thrive! Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a blissful New Year!