When it comes to mind-body practices, yoga has America’s full attention.
Nine out of 10 Americans are aware of the presence of yoga, and 75 percent believe “it’s good for them,” according to a 2016 survey by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.
But its wild popularity has muddied its true purpose. Current trends tie yoga to expensive clothing lines, young women in stunning poses on Instagram, “hot yoga,” classes offering beer and wine and others that provide cats and goats in the room, for some reason.
Contemporary Western culture has materialized yoga and made it a physical practice, a far cry from its beginnings roughly 5,000 years ago as a philosophy to still the mind to find the true self.
Built from a rich background of ethics, philosophy and anatomy, yoga is a subject that never ends, said Jeri Hudak, who has taught yoga in Moscow for 30 years.
“I don’t know why you have to have goats. It’s interesting in and of itself.”
Hudak, 60, owns what is likely the region’s longest-existing yoga studio, the Moscow Yoga Center. As yoga spread in the U.S., it splintered into 1,000 different kinds, some rooted in ancient traditions, others far removed. Iyengar yoga, which is the former, is taught at the center. It’s named after B.K.S. Iyengar who had a major influence on how yoga is practiced in many studios around the country today.