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36 Million People Practice Yoga In The US

March 7, 2016

Yin YogaYoga, a practice rooted in over 5000 years of ancient Indian texts and traditions, continues to gain popularity in the United States. A new survey conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal reports that over 36 million people in the United States practice regularly. In 2012, the number practicing was around 20 million — an incredible growth. In addition, nine out of 10 Americans have heard of yoga, one in three Americans has tried yoga at least once and more than 15% of Americans have done yoga in the last 6 months.

More than a third of Americans say they are very likely to try yoga in the next year. Currently, 70% of yoga practitioners are women, yet the number of men in America has more than doubled from 2012.  Another interesting statistic is that the number of Americans practicing yoga over the age of 50 has tripled over the last four years.

The Benefits of Yoga

Three out of four Americans believe that “yoga is good for you,” and medical science backs them up: Yoga has been shown to improve overall health and well-being. Studies show that yoga improves cardiovascular fitness, balance, flexibility, as well as a reduction in stress and anxiety.

Yoga can move one towards a healthier lifestyle. The survey found that people who do yoga are far more physically active than those who don’t — 75% of yogis participate in sports or other fitness activities. Yoga practitioners are also more likely to “live green” and eat sustainably. Even though many people in the United States get into yoga for physical fitness and stress relief, their initial motivations can change. Many, over time and with continual practice, start incorporating the meditation and pranayama (breathwork) techniques as well as the spiritual and ethical principles of the practice.

Why Some Do Not Practice

One of the survey’s most interesting results reveals the most common reasons people don’t practice yoga. Often, people see yoga as exclusive — designed primarily for young women, those who are already flexible, athletic and physically fit. However, this is changing with the fact that the number of people over the age of 50 has tripled. With more and more of the baby boomers and the upcoming years the Generation X moving into the ‘over 50’ category, new types of practices have begun to emerge such as yin, restorative, gentle and yoga therapy.

Another reason why some do not practice is because of their spiritual and religious beliefs. The fundamental philosophy of yoga encourages being non-judgmental and compassionate to others and ourselves. Yoga is not about perfection or posting a selfie of one’s pose on social media. It’s not a competition of flexibility, nor is it about comparing oneself to the person next to us in a yoga class. Yoga is about becoming attuned to our individual self — body and mind — and making room for exactly where we are, being at peace with who we are and the world as it is in this moment.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The more we practice yoga, the more we can recognize our impermanence. Nothing stays the same, our body changes day to day and from moment to moment. What you may be able to do physically today, you may not be able to do tomorrow. One of the beautiful aspects of yoga is recognizing this and knowing there is always a modification within each pose. Learning to listen to our body, respecting and honoring where we are physically in the moment. From this place we find inner peace which leads to a realization that our thoughts and emotions can and do change from moment to moment. This is a mind-body connection that is served up each time we step on our mat.

The practice of yoga in the states will continue to grow in the male population as well as for those over the age of 50. In the future we will see more and more types of yoga being created for specialty groups, including Christain Yoga, Yoga for Veterans, etc. Just as there is impermanence in our body and minds, there is also impermanence in yoga as an industry.

promo feb cindyInterested in practicing with me?  I specialize in Gentle, Yin, Hatha Yoga as well as Meditation and Qigong.  Now you can practice from anywhere in the world… visit my Online Studio to learn more.

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