In recent years, several yoga institutes and studios have opened in the US, where yoga gurus are propagating ways to a healthy and spiritual life. The popularity of yoga among Hollywood celebrities has not gone unnoticed by the world. The magnitude of yoga's renaissance in the modern western world has made a huge impact on them. Many Hollywood celebs including Madonna, Beyonce Knowles, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron and Robert Downey Jr. have found solace in this ancient discipline and have inspired their fans to follow in their footsteps.
Yoga guru and spiritual master Bikram Thakur, founder of Artistic Yoga, said, "US has always been receptive to yoga. As Deepak Chopra commented, 'You can't find Indian restaurants but there are hundreds of yoga studios in the US'. Although not on the same scale as the US, yoga is also very popular throughout Europe as well. When celebrities do yoga, it's in the media and the public takes note of it. Although people may not have tried it on their own, they read about celebrities doing yoga, breathing exercises and meditation and are encouraged to at least try it as well. So in this way, this has played a role in raising awareness of yoga and it's spread in the western world."
Another yoga expert, Pallavi Aggarwal, who heads a Bikram Yoga franchise said, "Yoga is now catering to a wide audience. It has higher popularity compared to aerobics and gym workouts. This industry is one of the very few industries that are catering to a wide audience as there are very less age and gender restrictions to practice yoga. The contribution of Bikram Yoga is huge in making it popular. US and Europe are amongst the markets leading in trend charts thanks to the internet and the growing interest about health and fitness."
Recognizing Hollywood's contribution in the rising popularity of yoga, Aggarwal said, "Hollywood and yoga both have helped each other. Thanks to all the efforts made by Bikram Choudhury (the man behind Hot Yoga), who against all odds made it happen and now celebrities from almost all the fields are taking benefits from Bikram Yoga. Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, David Beckham, Brooke Shields, George Clooney are some of the followers of Bikram Yoga. Hollywood celebrities have helped in spreading awareness about yoga among their fans as people follow their role models and they are all in a way role models to many."
Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer Leena Mogre, popular for training Madhuri Dixit and Bipasha Basu, also believes that Hollywood has played a role in popularizing yoga in the west. Mogre said, "Hollywood stars have taken up yoga. They found peace of mind and they found that yoga gives benefits and it is a way of life. They don't go overboard with their bodies. It becomes a part of their personality."