We don’t have the most studios per capita. Or teachers. We don’t have scads of Lululemon-armored yogalebrities offering swanky workshops every other weekend. We don’t have Super Bowl-winning football teams extolling the benefits of mindfulness meditation. Men’s Fitness just named Portland America’s fittest city for the second year running, but that’s mostly because we take to outdoor recreation—muddy cyclocross races, endurance runs in Forest Park, thigh-burning backcountry ski trips.
And yet with the New Year coming—Gudi Padwa, the Lunisolar Hindu New Year, that is, which begins March 31—we thought it would be a good time to explore this 5,000-year-old tradition, which has at least 100 years of tradition here in Portland, as you’ll read here.
But Portland’s yoga scene isn’t about tradition. Whether it’s our natural idiosyncratic tendencies or some perverse desire to live up to some quirky national reputation, you’ll find a gobsmacking variety of yoga styles in this town, from laughter yoga to fat yoga to naked yoga to bilingual yoga. Portland also does a great job of keeping yoga affordable—find a roundup of budget classes here. That combination of diversity and affordability makes for an accessible yoga scene, but it’s not one-size-fits-all. For help with navigation, we turned to Enid Spitz, a yoga instructor steeped in the yogic ways of Portland and beyond. Find her guide to types of studios, as well as one man’s personal journey through the oven that is Bikram yoga. Finally, we’ll provide some recommendations for the best locally made yoga gear.
Maybe we’re just Zenned out from our citywide exploration of where best to salute the sun and open our chakras, but with the New Year here, we think it’s time to puff some kidneys and melt some hearts.