20 million US yogis and counting

Over 20 million Americans practice yoga and that’s up by over 4.5 million from 2008, according to a new study. The health and fitness benefits, not to mention the mind-body connection that yoga strengthens, show no signs of losing popularity. Yoga is set to continue to be a fitness trend into 2013 and beyond with nearly 9% of the population in the US taking part in yoga classes.

Long gone is the archaic image of yoga being exercise for the ultra-bendy or long-haired brigade. The many different forms and style of yoga have found a balanced, steady footing in the annals of serious exercise. As athletes promote the advantages of yoga to performance and overall health, people are really understanding the holistic benefits of yoga.

Even those who are not actively practicing yoga are planning to with over 44% of non-practitioners calling themselves ‘aspirational yogis’ interested in trying yoga at some point, according to data collected for the Yoga Journal by Sports Marketing Surveys USA. This means that as the New Year kicks in thousands more people will be kick-starting their fitness future with some yoga poses.

Not surprisingly, yoga attracts more women than men but with nearly 18% of those practicing yoga being male, it’s far from being a workout for the fairer sex. Indeed, while yoga is accessible and available for people of all ages, fitness levels and experience, with the right class, there is no doubt that it can have a dramatic effect on the body and is not a fluffy workout whatsoever. Strength and stamina are developed and focused on and are at the core of yoga practice.

Nearly 63% of practitioners were adults under the age of 44 so it seems that yoga really does appeal to a wide age group, across many demographic categories. The concept of a typical yogi, which is generally a woman in her 30s might not be entirely accurate, or at least provide the full picture which is far more informative and interesting.

78% of people in the study noted that the reason they started yoga was to increase flexibility. More than 62% were interested in general conditioning, with just less than 60% looking for some stress relief and over 58% wanting to improve their overall health. Improving physical fitness rated at over 55% too.

Nearly 45% of those looked at in the study considered that they were at beginner level with around half this number being new to yoga and the other half taking yoga up again after a break. 40% of practicing yogis viewed their level as intermediate with 15% stating that they are expert or advanced.

When asked how long they’ve been practicing yoga 38% replied that they had been practicing for less than a year, with 33% having been taking classes for over three years. 29% had been practicing yoga for between one and three years.

20 million people in one country alone can’t be wrong and for anyone who’s held back from yoga because of not really understanding what’s involved these facts and figures should initiate greater confidence. We’d like to add you to the growing yoga movement so do get in touch and embrace your inner yogi.

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