Truth in Numbers : What will 2020 study reveal?


Every four years, there is a study performed on behalf of Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance which assesses the growth of yoga in the United States, both in terms of new practitioners and dollars spent in the (growing) industry.  There is a lot of anticipation about what the 2020 numbers will reveal, but as we find ourselves in 2019, we can't help but look back on the numbers that the 2016 study revealed.  In case you missed it, here ya go:

The 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that the number of US yoga practitioners has increased to more than 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012, while annual practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories rose to $16 billion, up from $10 billion over the past four years.

Survey data for this comprehensive study of the consumer yoga market was collected by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance.

The results indicate that women represent 72 percent of US practitioners, with men and older Americans doing Downward Dog at a growing rate. Thirty-four percent of Americans, or 80 million people, say they are likely to try yoga for the first time in the next 12 months.

“The data tells a compelling story,” says Carin Gorrell, editor in chief of Yoga Journal. “More people than ever across all age groups are realizing the benefits of yoga, from stress relief to flexibility to overall well-being. Yoga is a thriving, growing industry.”

“Beyond yoga’s increasing popularity, what’s fascinating is the data shows that those who practice and teach yoga have measurably better perceptions of their individual strength, balance, dexterity, and mental clarity versus non-practitioners,” said Yoga Alliance Executive Director and COO Barbara Dobberthien. “Practitioners are also much more likely to be involved in a variety of other forms of exercise, as well as focused on sustainable living and eating.”


2016 Yoga in America Study Highlights:

  • There are 36.7M US yoga practitioners, up from 20.4M in 2012

  • 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


  • Students spend $16B/year on classes, gear, and equipment, up from $10B in


  • Women represent 72 percent of practitioners; men, 28 percent

  • Practitioners are significantly more involved in many other forms of exercise,

    such as running, cycling and weightlifting, than non-practitioners

  • 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


  • 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

  • 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

    Interested in becoming a yoga instructor?  Read about what it means to be a RYS or RYT on the Yoga Alliance website.  The Ōtium Yoga School is a registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance and currently offers 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings at locations in Savannah, Georgia and Inlet Beach, Florida.  If you have questions about any of our trainings or are interested in joining a movement and cultivating greatness, email us at and we will be in touch.

Michlyn Metropolit