Yoga has so saturated the Asheville area, that you could take a two week tour of yoga styles, studios and teachers and it would be a mere sampling. Yoga, in Asheville, can be considered a culture of its own. One would think that with the down turn in the economy, in an area where employment is scarce, that the yoga industry here would be the first to feel the smack down of recession. Quite to the contrary, yoga thrives here in a no-place-like-Om, pure-of-heart, Namaste way.
Yoga has established a sound foundation here. It has a multi-faceted base composed of influential teachers, who themselves studied with originators of their respective yogic traditions such as Stephanie Keach, Joe Taft, Cindy Dollar, Sierra Hollister, and Adi Westerman. It is the history of how these teachers chose Asheville in which to base their respective practices. It is their practice of 'aparigraha' which is a Sanskrit yoga practice of turning no willing yoga student away. And ultimately it is because of the unique students drawn from all areas of the globe to be here. It is a perfect population sample.
What draws so many people to Asheville's yoga studios? In part, most studios have successful marketing and meticulously established business design, something that has derisively been referred to as the 'yoga industry' by many critics. Take into account that yoga studios are typically small businesses, they are not rent free and rich yoga teachers are rare anywhere. This certainly is true about any place in the western world where the practice of yoga has become controversial among traditions; which one is the right one, which two are abominations, and which three are merely an exercise class. In a skeptical world most Asheville yoga teachers are friends no matter what their particular discipline is. There is an abundance of compassion, toleration, and the heartfelt love of improving their students' lives.
Ultimately, the individual practitioner searching for physical-emotional-mental-spiritual wellbeing is drawn to a place that furthers their journey along the yogic path. And Asheville, a breathtakingly beautiful setting, is a mecca for those looking for other like-minded souls who test yoga positive. Who wouldn't mind rising from their savasana to a vista of blue-ridge mountains foiled by a big sky of North Carolina blue?