Newly Swissed Online Magazine

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.

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.

(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.


  • Hello Danielle,
    I must say that in India before a thousand years people discovered the best poses for health in body and peace in mind. And now the entire world knows what yoga is useful. It is true that the basic of yoga has forgotten because we can find the Indian books describing how yoga works you can find a way difficult poses and much higher positions are available. But now a day the trend is changed that people are trying easy yoga. But it is also good that they are at least trying. I must say you have been an inspiration too a lot of people for trying yoga. Thanks for sharing a nice bit of information.

    • Thank you for your comment.
      I agree – it is wonderful that people are doing yoga more and more these days. I believe that regardless of where or what tradition of yoga you practice, the practice will awaken all aspects of your life. I have more to share on the topic and thank you for your encouragement to share yoga with Newly Swissed readers.

      Om shanti,

    • Hi Hamid,

      Thank you for your comment. It highlights the beauty of yoga – it doesn’t matter where you are from, what your spiritual beliefs are, if you are ‘fit’ or how old you are. It is a practice that will make you feel healthy and well and connected within and all around you..

      Peace and light,

  • Hello Danielle. Thank you for the article. I have discovered ‘world of yoga’ a year ago while I was living in Australia. I started practising bikram yoga and absolutely loved it. It rather popular type of yoga on the Sunshine Coast where I lived. I moved to Switzerland in July and have been looking for a bikram studio near by. Unfortunately there is only one in Zurich and even though it is a bit of a commute for me (as I live in richterswil) I still try to go…every now and then. But I am realising how it is not enough and so I am searching for hot yoga studios around….I would love to become a hot yoga teacher one day but I know I have to have enough practise under my belt. Namaste. Lucie

    • Hi Lucie,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to hear you have been enjoying your practice so much. It often surprises people how quickly the practice takes root and feeds their enthusiasm for healthy and conscious living. You would think there would be more Bikram and Hot Yoga studios in Switzerland given the cool and dry climate, but it seems the more classical forms of yoga are preferred over the fixed style of Bikram’s (same 26 asana sequence). The universe works in mysterious ways and perhaps the challenges you face in finding a convenient studio is an opportunity to explore different styles and yoga philosophy, pranayam, jnana and bhakti! Wishing you all the best as you continue on the path.

      Namaste, Danielle

  • Hello Danielle,

    Thanks was a nice blog to read. I agree with all the statements you have made about Yoga in Rishikesh and Zürich. Now a days the trend is also getting increased in Switzerland, Germany and Belgium as I have always heard about famous Yoga classes like YogaLife Events . Being a part of Yoga is itself a proud. :)

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Danielle Parla

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