Is Zürich the Swiss yoga capital?

Rishikesh - Danielle Parla

I always smile when people say "yoga is a popular trend nowadays".

Popular - yes. Trend - hmmm - let's talk about that. Without question, yoga has become a booming industry with classes in every style and city, and apparel to match. Zürich is no exception. The ancient practice was born an estimated 5000 years ago, and somehow the word trend makes it sound like it will go the way of roller blades and Step Reebok™ soon enough.

Tracing Yoga to Rishikesh

Originating in India, yoga (meaning “union”) was studied and practiced by sages and physicians as a way to uplift and live in harmony, using rigorous physical, mental and spiritual practices. Yoga is not only a workout for the body - it is a mind workout - and we all know how tiring the incessant chatter of our mind can be.

Situated at the foothills of the Himalaya’s, Rishikesh is considered the yoga capital of the world and today is a popular destination for aspiring yoga practitioners. I have spent some time studying there and was pleasantly surprised to find some similarities between Rishikesh and my new home in Zürich.

Firstly, both Zürich and Rishikesh are situated at the base of some serious mountain ranges.

While Rishikesh has the sacred Ganges River, we have our own waters of worship with Zürichsee and the Limmat River. In fact, almost all yoga traditions have a version of Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), and on any warm sunny day, you will see Zürich's own form of sun worship extending beyond the studio walls to the bikini adorned banks of the Limmat.

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Both cities are humming with yoga.

This is fabulous news for those who dream about going to India to find peace and happiness - it is right here in Zürich. Actually, it is always where you are - but we have to practice to really understand that.

Both cities offer lots of spaces to practice yoga.

Like Rishikesh, there are many wonderful yoga teachers and places of practice in Zürich, so be encouraged that a flexible spine and your own piece of happiness is right in front of you.

For those who are not convinced, throw caution to the wind, trust the 25 million plus yoga practitioners worldwide, and give this über-long trend a try.

Limmat - Danielle Parla

Yoga in Zürich

I have personally been following this trend for 19 years, and despite having lived in every corner of the world (NZ, North America, Asia & Europe), yoga has always been my place to come home to myself.

In Zürich, you can find a yoga style to suit every body and need, from the active practices like ashtanga, vinyasa, and hot yoga to more classic strong forms like hatha, kundalini and yin yoga. A word of advice: If you try a class and do not like it, try another style (and teacher) to find the right fit for you. Have trust that it will evolve.

In future posts, I am going to talk with teachers and share with you all that Zürich has to offer to keep you healthy and shanti. To find yoga classes in your community in Switzerland, visit YogaFinder.

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(Photographs copyright by Danielle Parla)

Danielle Parla

Danielle is a Basel based yoga teacher and published author. She is passionate about sharing ways to wellness through yoga, lifestyle writing, wellness coaching, and Reiki healing.

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