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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, January 7, 2001: In this recent article in the New York Times, Ilene Rosenzweig notes the rapid changes taking place in yoga classes. Once associated with hippies and granola, yoga classes are now packed with students and are held in state-of-the art yoga centers. A new yoga generation has come up over the last few years as yoga studios pop up everywhere. Even fitness clubs are offering an increasingly sophisticated variety of classes as yoga outpaces the previous mainstays like spinning and step aerobics. The average New York yoga student has achieved a high level of proficiency in the physical practices and the spiritual teachings, claims Rosenzweig, creating a super breed of yogis with a command of Sanskrit lingo and expert pretzel poses. Classes often begin with ancient Hindu chants and you may even see an altar to Siva set up in the corner. Some teachers put in long hours studying yoga philosophy and Hindu texts to keep up with the level of their students knowledge. Clad in the latest yoga fashions and sporting trendy equipment they give a new image to an ancient Indian discipline. Madonna and other stars claiming yoga as their primary fitness regimen are living billboards of the sinewy, muscled "yoga body" that has become a new ideal.