Here is a look into the differences in yoga culture between urban, suburban and rural areas.
In a metropolitan area:
- Yoga classes are typically well attended and take on a “get in-get out” nature for those challenged to find the time.
- You’ll find a variety of yoga styles with classes scheduled back-to-back.
- Attendees are usually working professionals who are driven, and expect high standards.
- Instructors may be full time career yoga teachers, or celebrated yogis.
- The overall feeling of intimacy is exchanged for a hint of intensity and accomplishment, much like the working world in a big city.
- Retail therapy, all natural juice bars and self help resources have become a familiar and expected part of the urban yoga scene.
- Neighborhood fitness centers that used to boast the best weight lifting programs now cram yoga in between Zumba and Pilates classes.
- Specialized or hybrid classes that appeal specifically to the demographics such as “prenatal yoga” or “yoga with lattes” (yoga, followed by a field trip to the coffee shop) grace the schedule.
- The stage is set for a tighter culture of connection compared with urban centers, but there is still a slight mood of anonymity, just as life in the suburbs suggest
- Instructors may have other jobs and teach yoga as a labor of love rather than as full time endeavor.
- The overachieving mentality that exists in the city doesn’t quite wheedle its way in to the suburbs, yet the atmosphere is somewhat that of urban life.
- Yoga blossoms here, in a land subdivided between business and neighborhood, as a discipline that so accurately accommodates both.
In the rural community:
- A gentle, non-imposing introduction to yoga is best received.
- Chanting or other esoteric components of yoga are omitted as to not squelch curiosity for those wishing to try yoga for the first time.
- Willing participants may be scarce, and local instructors a rarity. As a result, yoga classes might be offered sparingly in places such as community centers, private homes or in other shared spaces that far from illustrate the urban yoga climate.
- Consistency may be compromised and regularity redefined in terms of “class is canceled, see you next month.”
- Much like the sweet and simple pace of rural life, a basic and spiritually neutral approach to yoga is appreciated.
Whether a city slicker, a suburbanite or a person of the pastoral landscape, yoga’s authentic benefits will find a way to touch all who practice.