More Americans (20 Million) Are Practicing Yoga, Survey Finds

It’s not your imagination: yoga is everywhere. ( AmandaD_TX/flickr)

You didn’t need a study for this: Just look around at all those toned, mellow women (and a few men) toting rubber mats under their arms, coconut water at the ready. As a friend said to me recently: “I think I’m the only woman in Cambridge NOT doing yoga.” She may be right.

And here are the numbers to prove it. The latest 2012 Yoga in America Market Study (conducted for Yoga Journal by Sports Marketing Surveys USA) found that 20.4 million Americans are practicing yoga, that’s up 29 percent from 2008 when the study reported 15.8 million practicing yogis. And all those down dogs can be pricey. The survey found that “practitioners spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations, and media. The previous estimate from the 2008 study was $5.7 billion.” Beyond the current yoga enthusiasts, there are more waiting in the wings: “Of current non-practitioners, 44.4 percent of Americans call themselves “aspirational yogis”—people who are interested in trying yoga,” the survey found.

Here are some more findings, from the Yoga Journal press release:

Gender: 82.2 percent are women; 17.8 percent are men.

Age: The majority of today’s yoga practitioners (62.8 percent) fall within the age range of 18-44.

Length of practice: 38.4 percent have practiced yoga for one year or less; 28.9 percent have practiced for one to three years; 32.7 percent have practiced for three years or longer.

Level of practice: 44.8 percent consider themselves beginners (22.9 percent are new to yoga; 21.9 percent are beginning to practice yoga after taking some time off); 39.6 percent consider themselves intermediate; 15.6 percent consider themselves expert/advanced.

Motivation for practice: The top five reasons for starting yoga were: flexibility (78.3 percent), general conditioning (62.2 percent), stress relief (59.6 percent), improve overall health (58.5 percent) and physical fitness (55.1 percent).

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