Surprise! Study finds yoga in U.S. increasingly tied to health, not spirituality

OK. Maybe not a surprise. Here’s the gist of a new study from Chapman University (located in Southern California, for those curious):

The results show that yoga became decreasingly associated with spirituality and increasingly associated with medicine and fitness. The study argues that the shift in the meanings are due to the changes in how yoga gurus are trained, market contests amongst different meanings and the distinct branding practices of small and big players in the market.

The study is timely as today, 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, up from 4.3 million in 2001. They spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, vacations and media; constituting an increase of 80 percent in just four years. The U.S. yoga market density has been increasing with yoga enterprises rising from 14,058 to 26,506 and the number of employers increasing from 58,525 to 112,890 during the 2004—2013 period.

The whole brief summary is worth a look — it has a quick history of yoga, references to the rise of Power Yoga and the increase in medical studies.

What is left unanswered: Is this a bad thing?

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

3 thoughts on “Surprise! Study finds yoga in U.S. increasingly tied to health, not spirituality”

  1. Well, it can be argued either way: A) It’s good that more people are practicing and improving their health B) The true essence of yoga might be lost in the process. What’re your thoughts?

  2. Keeping the physical body free from diseases is a start. An important start. Clarity and one pointedness of citta will come by eventually.

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