Does the stress of thinking about where to apply to college make you want to curl up in child’s pose? If your backpack has a special compartment for your yoga mat and you plan on assuming tree pose in the quad before classes, you may need a college with a community of yoga-lovers. Yoga isn’t just a hobby; it’s a way of life. These ten schools will leave you saying “Namaste.”
10. University of California, Santa Cruz
No one does yoga quite like the banana slugs—yeah, that’s really their mascot. UCSC is in the epicenter of the yoga-crazed Northern California, so it’s pretty much heaven on earth for any yogi/college student. Yoga is popular amongst the student body here, so it won’t be long until you’re doing synchronized sun salutations (say that ten times fast) with your new yoga friends. The rec center offers a range of yoga classes from beginners to seasoned professionals. They also have a popular warrior yoga club (a.k.a. yoga for the martial athlete) that lets you relax while simultaneously becoming a badass.
9. Goucher College
Some colleges have honors dorms or athlete dorms, but Goucher has really jumped on the health bandwagon with its new wellness dorms such as Sondheim House. Here, you’ll live with 64 of your health-conscious classmates and cook, workout and study health together, and of course, take lots of yoga classes. If you’re truly dedicated to mindful living, this is the dorm for you.
UW is right in the heart of Seattle, and it turns out that the home of Starbucks and Microsoft is also home to yoga-lovers. According to a study by Forbes, residents of Seattle are 46 percent more likely to do yoga, making it the 2nd best city for yoga in the country. UW in particular has recently established Yogis at UW, an organization to provide students on campus with cheap yoga. “Since our beginnings, we’ve had about 200-300 members every year,” said current club president Rina Romano. “YUW really stresses that we are not just here to provide students with cheap yoga (though we do that, too!), so we actually require our members to participate in a minimum number of social events every quarter.” Yoga resources plus new yoga-loving friends, equals harmony.
7. University of Maryland, College Park
Imagine rolling out your yoga mat on the National Mall and practicing amongst the country’s most famous monuments. At UMD, you’ll be minutes away from doing just that. They’re joining the likes of Goucher College and opening up new wellness dorms. It also made the cut for its prime location—residents of D.C. really love their yoga, and the city is home to the annual D.C. Yoga Week, where you’ll get to take lots of classes for free.
6. Colorado State University
If you long for beautiful scenery for your sun salutations, CSU might be the place for you. In Fort Collins, you’re never more than a few minutes away from beautiful state parks where you can breathe in the fresh mountain air. The school itself is also seriously dedicated to yoga, and the study of it. Faculty are conducting studies on Bikram—or “hot”—yoga and learning more about the benefits.
5. Emerson College
The rural life isn’t for all of us, so if you long for yoga and bustling city life, Emerson is a solid choice. It’s smack dab in downtown Boston, and according to Forbes, Beantown residents are 26 percent more likely to do yoga than the rest of the country. The city is also home to the UMass Medical School that has the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. The center offers courses in yoga, wellness and stress reduction.
Emerson made our ranking of the Top 20 Colleges for Aspiring Writers too.
4. University of California, Berkeley
Nor-Cal is heaven on earth for yoga-lovers, and UC Berkeley is in the perfect place to get in on the action. The San Francisco metro area is the most yoga-friendly place in the country, and Forbes says people here are 59 percent more likely to practice than the rest of the population. Yoga Journal is based in the area, and they hold a five-day yoga conference every year. There’s also a yoga studio in the San Francisco airport, so you can fit in a session while you’re traveling.
3. New York University
How could a school that’s right in the middle of Manhattan not be filled with yoga-lovers? It’s no secret that NYC is loaded with more yoga classes and studios than you could ever need, but being a student in the city really has its advantages. Using sites like Groupon, you can get great discounts on lots of classes. In the spring and summer, you can attend free classes in Bryant Park. “NYU is a great place for students dedicated to yoga because our classes are one, free; two, centrally located at the heart of Washington Square; and three, more than just stretching,” said Yael Shy, founder and director of the Mindfulness Project at NYU. “NYU’s yoga program, a part of the Global Spiritual Life Center, is infused with mindfulness, allowing students not just to build muscle and exercise their bodies, but also allowing them to find peace of mind and openness of heart that is the magic of yoga.”
2. Loyola Marymount University
You might already consider yourself a master of yoga, but here you can make it official. At LMU, you can get a master’s degree in yoga studies and really study yoga with some of the best professors. The school is located in Los Angeles, so you’ll also be in a city that’s obsessed with health and wellness. L.A. is also flooded with studios and other yogis. You might even bump elbows with yoga-loving celebrities like Jennifer Aniston or Gwyneth Paltrow.
1. University of New Mexico, Taos
If you eat, sleep and breathe yoga–and crave the landscapes of rural New Mexico–this is the best school for you. UNM at Taos is truly dedicated to studying wellness, and you can earn a degree in holistic & healing arts while also becoming a certified yoga instructor as a part of your curriculum. Talk about yogi clout. For UNM yogis, the yogi playground is limitless, just like the majestic red rocks of the New Mexico deserts.