A new report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that the number of Americans practicing yoga and meditation is booming. Fifty percent more adults are doing yoga now than in 2012 while meditators have grown over 300 percent. The surprise: These gains pale in comparison with the increases among kids and teens.
The study shows that yoga was practiced by an estimated 35.2 million American adults (18 and older) in 2017—or 14.3 percent of the population, up from 9.5 percent in 2012. That’s a 50 percent increase in five short years. And that now makes yoga the most commonly used complementary health approach by US adults.
Meditation clocked even bigger gains since 2012: Five years ago, 4.1 percent of American adults reported meditating at least once in the last year, but that jumped more than threefold by 2017, to 14.2 percent of the population (about 35 million people).
But look at the kids and teens’ story (aged 4–17). In 2012, 3.1 percent reported they had practiced yoga in the last year, but that rose to 8.4 percent in 2017. And again, meditation grew even faster: In 2012, .06 percent of kids reported they had meditated that year, but that skyrocketed 900 percent to 5.4 percent by 2017.