Yoga Therapy Initiative
TREND 1: Yoga Industry Continues Exponential Growth
Over the past decade—and most especially, the past two years—there has been an explosion in the growth of yoga, driven by the changing needs of individuals of all ages living in a sedentary and often socially isolated world. Widespread popularity and growing public mindshare have helped accelerate yoga’s growth trajectory in recent years to exponential levels.
The outbreak of COVID-19 accelerated yoga’s growth trend significantly. Demand for yoga exercise apparel and clothing jumped by 154% and yoga class reservation numbers rose by 25% during the first year of the pandemic. With more than 300 million practitioners in the world today, yoga has never been more popular. And there is no end in sight to the yoga growth story. In fact, the global yoga market is projected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 9.6% from 2021 to 2027, which would see 350 million global yoga practitioners representing a global market valued over $66 billion.
TREND 2: Yoga Practitioners Embrace Social Media
Social and digital media have helped drive interest in and practice of yoga worldwide. This has been especially true since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas only 40% of yoga practitioners used online classes (live and pre-recorded) before the pandemic, it became the preferred method of learning during the lockdowns. In 2020, 67% of practitioners cited live-streamed group classes as their top preference for learning.
Instagram and YouTube have been especially powerful platforms for the spread of yoga practice. In March 2020, Instagram posts about yoga grew by 68%; even now, there are about 60 million yoga-related posts actively trending on the popular social platform at any given time. YouTube, meanwhile, is home to more than 2,000 channels related to yoga, some of which have become wildly popular, building an audience of 10.9 million subscribers and garnering more than 1.1 billion total views. Average daily yoga content upload volume to YouTube has risen more than 1000% over the past five years, while video consumption has also risen precipitously. From 2019 to 2020, global viewership of yoga videos on YouTube surged by 165%.
i: The Rise of Online Yoga — Jenni Rawlings Yoga & Movement Blog
ii: 47 Compelling Yoga Statistics: 2022 Data on Industry Growth & Effects on Health – Financesonline.com
iii: YouTube Culture & Trends – YouTube Community Spotlight: Yoga
TREND 3: Yoga Therapy Sees Rising Demand
In the currently shifting landscape of medical care, patients are seeking whole-health approaches that address more than just isolated symptoms. Yoga Therapy is well-positioned within the larger trend toward whole-person health, given that it utilizes a holistic model of health and healing. Yoga Therapy combines a clinically oriented, assessment-based, yet personalized approach based on an individual’s goals and health conditions.
In recent years, the development of rigorous standards, accreditation and credentialing processes for both Yoga Therapy schools and practitioners have established Yoga Therapy as a profession. What began as tentative acceptance of Yoga Therapy as a possible complementary option for patients, has evolved into recommendations from physicians and other healthcare providers at an increasing rate. These recommendations are supported by a growing body of evidence-based clinical trials research on the benefits of yoga in general and Yoga Therapy specifically. This has only been made possible thanks to the pioneering efforts of Yoga Therapy advocates over the course of many years to engage with leaders from across the healthcare community, educating and informing them about what Yoga Therapy can do to help achieve better outcomes for patients.
TREND 4: Yoga Therapy Gains Traction with Medical Establishment
The mainstream application of yoga and yogic practices to the treatment of health and medical conditions has continued to expand, both in scope and scale. Dr. Timothy McCall, author of Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing, has spent the last decade tracking medical studies of yoga’s efficacy for the treatment of various medical and health conditions. In 2010, Dr. McCall identified 54 conditions scientifically demonstrated to be positively impacted by yoga. According to the latest update, that number has surged to 117 conditions.
Yoga Therapy is also experiencing greater inclusion within major healthcare systems’ integrative medicine programs and is now a key component of care at numerous healthcare institutions, including the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Duke Integrative Medicine at Duke University and the Cleveland Clinic. Yoga therapists are increasingly engaged in clinical roles, collaborating with healthcare providers to develop plans that complement and support patients’ care journeys, with a majority of the more than 5,000 members of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IYAT) now working in hospital settings, outpatient clinics, physical therapy, rehabilitation and oncology.
TREND 5: Corporate Wellness Programs Embrace Yoga
Every year, more companies embrace corporate wellness and wellbeing programs as a way to keep workers happy, healthy and productive. The data suggests that these programs work. According to a Statista survey last year, “79% of employees believed their company’s wellbeing programs helped them be as productive as possible, and similarly 79% also believed such programs had helped them avoid getting sick.”
As the incidence of work-related stress has continued to rise in both volume and intensity, companies are turning increasingly to yoga as a solution. Yoga’s many practices and strategies for managing life stress have been validated by the data. According to the National Institutes of Health, workplace yoga interventions can visibly improve work-related stress management.
The Aetna, Inc. Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace Trial, published in the online version of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, is an outstanding example of the impact on perceived stress levels and other variables by the application of two distinct mind-body approaches that include Yoga Therapy. The Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program (therapeutic Viniyoga) and Mindfulness at Work (mindfulness meditation) were each compared to a control group. These programs helped participants significantly reduce their perceived stress levels while improving their ability to respond to stress.
i: Workplace health and wellness in the US – Statistics & Facts | Statista
ii: Employees and their opinions towards employer wellbeing programs US 2021 | Statista
iii: Yoga in the workplace and health outcomes: a systematic review
iv: Viniyoga and mindfulness programs result in reduced perceived stress levels
v: Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: a randomized controlled trial – PubMed (nih.gov)