Where there’s Ashtanga in America, there’s fit people

I’m not going to claim causation here — just coincidence.

An annual list of the “fittest” cities in America more or less tracks with places you think of (or ought to) as having a pretty strong presence of Ashtanga.

The list by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, coined the American Fitness Index (AFI), is out for the eighth time. Your top, most fit places:

1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 79.6
2 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 75.6*
3 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 75.6*
4 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 72.6
5 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA 71.4
6 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 71.1
7 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 69.6
8 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 68.5
9 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 68.1
10 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 65.9

I can say with certainty that D.C., San Diego, Denver, Portland and Boston all have strong Ashtanga programs. Probably a few of the others do, too. The only one I think of as definitely not having one is Sacramento, based on my own trips but more so some complaints from people who couldn’t find Ashtanga there. (I still could be wrong; I do know of other yoga studios in California’s capitol.)

Los Angeles and New York rank 23rd and 24th on the list. Austin, another place you might expect to find at the top, is 20th.

The main factors in the AFI are outdoor exercise options and the rates of smoking, diabetes and obesity (lower being better). But also included was the amount of exercise people get — so to that extent, Ashtanga and yoga might be part of the metric. Still, I’ll call it coincidence, but not a surprising one.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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