Laid-back, health-conscious, and carefree. Bold, determined, hardworking. The west vs. east stereotype is nothing new, but as the yoga community across the country grows by leaps and bounds, the distinction appears to extend to the ancient philosophy of yoga.
Regardless of geography, recent studies show the practice of yoga is gaining popularity in broad strokes, with an estimated 20.4-million yogis committed to the practice across North America -- a 29 per cent increase since 2008. More recently, it is estimated over 1-million new practitioners started yoga classes within the last year alone and are even making a career out of the practice with "yoga teacher" ranking as one of the fasted growing professions over the last three years. The $10.4 billion spent each year on yoga classes, products and equipment is further evidence the tradition has transitioned to a way of life.
Following the fitness-obsessed Vancouver lifestyle, the West Coast style of yoga tends to be centred on a large variety of asana, or the physical postures of yoga, in some instances evolving into a yoga-crossfit type hybrid. On the other hand, Toronto yoga culture leans more toward the one particular lineage in each studio, honing in on the selective nature of the studio owners teaching.
When we announced plans to expand YYoga into the East with our first centre in Toronto's downtown core (which opens this week at 333 Queen Street West) -- questions swirled about whether the market would be accepting of a wider selection of yoga types all within one studio. Our approach in B.C. has been to individually tailor the yoga offerings of each of our nine studios to better suit the guests' needs in each community. We've taken the same approach with our flagship Toronto location, because we believe our approach to offering a wide variety of Yoga styles will allow the community to grow in an authentic manner.
As yoga culture converges, I believe there is room to grow the overall community and educate an untapped network. Six years ago, yoga began transforming my life, my goals and my outlook, and I began to consider what a "different" approach to this industry could look like. Our formula is to help people treat themselves by fuelling body, mind and spirit. We strive to create happier, healthier people that are connected to themselves and others.
The core of YYoga starts in the studio with a variety of yoga lineages including Hatha, Power, Flow, Yin, Restorative, Core and our YHot class. Our offering expands well beyond this with amenities like infrared saunas, an indoor cycling experience called YRide and our signature tea lounge. We design lifestyle centres that welcome everyone with a multi-dimensional approach, a commitment to quality and an abundance of options that you can flex into a busy lifestyle.
I asked myself "why yoga?" years ago and that is the question that I hope others will ask themselves too. The more people that practice yoga, the better place the world will be. I think that Toronto is ready to receive that.