The popularity of yoga (瑜伽) in Shanghai, China has taken a great leap forward over the past five years. An initial internet search easily brings up over forty yoga studios in the Shanghai area, many with several branches, and this number is not inclusive of fitness clubs with yoga offerings on their class rosters. The rising wealth of the city and a growing focus on quality of life have opened up a huge market space for the health and wellness industry, easily visible in trends like the boom in farm-to-table restaurants and health food eateries like Hunter Gatherer and Sproutworks, wellness centers and educational collectives like Sprout Lifestyle and Octave. The yoga scene, arguably already well-established before the peak of this wellness trend, has benefitted tremendously. Even while maintaining a prohibitively high price point, the last five years have seen yoga broaden its membership from an expat niche market to a primarily well-heeled local Shanghainese base.
This blog aims to provide a flavor of yoga studios in Shanghai across the broad range of offerings available here. I tried out both the large, high-end yoga chains such as Y+ and the smaller bespoke studios such as Red Door. Having moved to Shanghai after several years of living and practicing yoga in India, I admit that I initially experienced yoga culture shock. Shanghai definitely has a unique yoga culture often highly influenced by U.S. fitness focus and, perhaps more interestingly, mixed with Taoist energy practices and philosophy. Here’s my experience with four studios in Shanghai.
The Big Players
One of the most established high-end yoga chains in the city, Y+ was the first studio I tried upon arriving in Shanghai. I was attracted by the great locations (one studio was […]