According to a new study about the yoga industry released January 2016, “Yoga in America is not only thriving, but booming!,” says Melissa Strome, publisher of Yoga Journal, “It appeals to the young, the old and everybody in between.”
It has also grown 50% since 2012.
The study, conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance in partnership with an external public affairs group, set out to understand what’s happening in the yoga industry – including who is practicing, how much America is spending on classes, new trends as well as the state of yoga teachers and studios.
It’s no surprise that the study found that yoga is still gaining popularity. According to the survey, the number of American yoga practitioners has increased to over 36 million in 2016, up from 20.4 million in 2012, and that 28% of all Americans have participated in a yoga class at some point in their lives. Also, 37% of those who currently practice yoga have a child in their household who is also practicing yoga. “We are raising the next generation,” says Strome.
“Beyond yoga’s increasing popularity, what’s fascinating is the data shows that those who practice and teach yoga have measurably better perceptions of their individual strength, balance, dexterity and mental clarity versus non-practitioners,” said Yoga Alliance Executive Director and COO Barbara Dobberthien in response to the study.
The study showed that many yogis are an active bunch who are more involved in many other forms of exercise such as running, cycling and weightlifting, than non-practitioners.
Despite the rise in selfies and videos of yogis in advanced poses that might take decades for some to achieve, the study shows that 74 percent of American practitioners have been doing yoga for five or less years.
The skinny, twenty-something woman profile of the typical yoga practitioner, and the cover of many Yoga Journal covers, may also be a thing of the past soon. The study also states that, “there are more male practitioners than ever in the U.S. practicing yoga, proving that yoga is for everybody.” The statistics for the increasing male population in 2016 shows that approximately 10 million male practitioners and almost 14 million practitioners over the age of 50 have grown significantly – from 4 million men and 4 million 55+ year olds in 2012. Go Broga! (However, women still represent 72 percent of practitioners, compared to 28 percent of men.)
Yogis are also big spenders! And it’s not just for $100 yoga pants. According to the survey results, yoga practitioners report spending over $16 billion, with the majority on equipment, classes and accessories in the last year, up from $10 billion in 2012.
Why are more people doing yoga now? According to the survey, the top five reasons for starting yoga are: flexibility (61 percent); stress relief (56 percent); general fitness (49 percent); improve overall health (49 percent) and physical fitness (44 percent).
Is it possible that yoga is still just a fad? Probably not. The study results predict that 80 million more Americans will likely try yoga for the first time in 2016.
Why? Perhaps because more and more people who try yoga are seeing the results on and off the mat.
For more information on the results, visit the Yoga Alliance web site.