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Yoga Statistics and Facts in America

Yoga Statistics and Facts in America
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Update: 10/29/2019 | Yoga Statistics and Facts in America

A new survey by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal (carried out by Ipsos Public Affairs), queried 2,000 people in the general population plus 1,700 yoga practitioners. The study set out to quantify the effects of yoga across the U.S. and the behaviors and perception of yoga from practitioners and the general public.

Here are some quick facts and statistics from that study.

2016 Yoga in America Study Highlights:

  • There are 36.7M US yoga practitioners. This is up from 20.4M in 2012. There is an estimated 300 million yoga practitioners worldwide.
  • 34 percent of Americans say they are somewhat or very likely to practice yoga in the next 12 months – equal to more than 80 million Americans.
  • 37 percent of practitioners have children under the age of 18 who also practice yoga.
  • Students spend $16B/year on classes, gear and equipment. This is up from $10B in 2012.
    • Practitioners spent $5.8 billion on yoga classes,
    • $4.6 billion on yoga clothes and
    • $3.6 billion on yoga mats and other items.
  • Women represent 72 percent of practitioners while men represent 28 percent.
  • 79% of practitioners are significantly more involved in many other forms of exercise, such as running, cycling and weightlifting, than non-practitioners. They participate in at least one other physical activity.
  • 30–49 year olds make up 43 percent of the practicing public, followed by those ages 50+ (38 percent) and 18–29 (19 percent).
  • 74 percent of American practitioners have been doing yoga for five or fewer years.
  • 34% of Americans, or 80M people say they are likely to try yoga over the next 12 months.
  • 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)
  • 86 percent of practitioners self-report having a strong sense of mental clarity, 73 percent report being physically strong, and 79 percent give back to their communities – all significantly higher rates than among non-practitioners and due to the aspect of meditation in yoga.
  • All audiences surveyed agree that warm and friendly demeanor, clarity, and knowledge of yoga poses are characteristics that make for a great yoga teacher.
  • There are two people interested in becoming a yoga teacher for every one current teacher.
  • Half of yoga teachers have been teaching for more than six years.
  • Populations that are growing include men and older practitioners.
  • Yoga students are more likely to say they have good mental clarity, are strong, have good balance and dexterity, give back to the community and live and eat sustainably.
  • 81% of students have practiced outside of the yoga studio in the past year.
  • Nearly all yoga teachers and trainees are interested in training courses that strengthen their skills and practices.
  • More than half of teachers and trainees report posting a yoga selfie and making and distributing instructional videos.
  • 91% of studio owners recognize Yoga Alliance’s credentials as important for their teachers.
  • More than half of yoga studios generate revenue from offering other types of fitness classes, wellness services and accessories.
  • There are currently over 6,000 yoga studios in the US.
  • About 90% of people are aware of the presence of yoga now, vs. 75% three years ago.
  • 75% of Americans believe yoga is good for the body and mind.
  • Most practitioners–over 80%–are aware of the history and philosophy behind yoga, namely that it started out as set of mental practices, rather than a physical one, and a guiding set of ethical principles.
spread of yoga across different states and regions

Spread of yoga across different states and regions | Courtesy Public Affairs

Yoga Alliance - 2016 Yoga in America Study Infographic

2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance (PRNewsFoto/Yoga Alliance)

Final Thoughts

The benefits of yoga has created a need for yoga in America. The numbers are outstanding–and yoga is here to stay.

Did you find these yoga statistics and facts helpful? What stood out most for you? We’d love to hear them in the comments.

Read the full 2016 80+ page report on Yoga in America here.

Visit Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal to learn more.

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