Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world and has become a global phenomenon over the past few decades. While the popularity of yoga in some countries is still relatively low, there are those where it is an integral part of everyday life. Yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is practiced by over 36 million people in the United States alone. According to the International Yoga Federation, around 300 million people practice worldwide! Curious about where yoga is most popular in the world? Read on to discover the popularity of yoga by country.
Participation in yoga abroad
The old yoga practice originated in the 5th century BC. In India and has since spread around the world. It was first imported to Europe and the United States in the late 19th century when it was brought in by Indian practitioners who emigrated to new countries. You can now find yoga classes around the world, and in the US alone there are now over 6,000 studios in cities and towns. In addition, thousands of people travel to yoga retreats around the world to take their skills to another level and qualify as certified yoga teachers. Bali, Ibiza, Thailand and of course India itself all have huge yoga tourism industries and are growing bigger every year.
Popularity of yoga compared to other physical exercises
Yoga is a practice that is growing in popularity both in the United States and around the world. In fact, it’s the second most popular exercise in the U.S., especially among women. What’s the attraction? You can do yoga anywhere, and it’s not like running where you need to take the time to build stamina to run a mile. Yoga is relatively easy to learn and there are a variety of yoga classes to choose from. You can practice with a group or just practice alone. As can be seen from the trends in the graph below sourced from Compare The Market Private Health InsuranceYoga is the second most sought after form of fitness in the world today. The graph shows the global popularity of yoga from 2004 to 2020 compared to running, dancing and cycling.
Yoga popularity by country
Yoga has been practiced for millennia, but it is only in the last few decades that it has really become popular in the western world. In fact, it has gotten so popular that almost every city in the US now has a local yoga studio that you can attend on a weekly basis. The same goes for Europe. As more and more people discover the benefits of yoga for the mind and body, the number of people practicing has skyrocketed over the past decade.
Did you know that statistics show that yoga is more popular in Canada than in the US or India? But where exactly does yoga find the most fans and which styles are most popular in different countries?
Here are the top 20 yoga countries according to Google trends:
- United States
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
- South Africa
- Costa Rica
Where is yoga most popular in the US?
The cities with the highest number of yoga studios in the United States are San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. After all, these three cities are the three largest in the country as well as some of the most populous in the world. There are a number of reasons for their high concentration of yoga studios, including both the high cost of living in these cities and the high proportion of skilled workers in the workforce. A large number of studios does not necessarily match the popularity of yoga in the area.
Here are the top 10 U.S. yoga states by Google trends:
- Rhode Island
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- new York
Here are the top 10 U.S. yoga cities by Google trends:
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- new York
Countries where yoga is banned
While many know that yoga is an ancient form of physical and mental exercise, many are surprised to learn that not everyone is a fan of the ancient practice. In some countries it has been banned altogether, or at least in certain public places. The most common reason yoga is banned is because it originated in India and there are fears that it could spread the Hindu religion.
In several countries, including Indonesia and Malaysia, Muslims are officially prohibited from practicing yoga through a fatwa or religious decree. These Muslim-majority countries view yoga as a form of Hinduism and believe that it is an inappropriate form of worship that contradicts the spiritual principles of Islam.
In 2015, Russia announced an outright ban on yoga, which has been labeled “pseudoscience” and which “can undermine people’s health and spiritual development”. The statement was made by the Russian Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy in response to a bill that would add yoga and other “esoteric” practices to a list of activities that are considered “harmful to health”.
Several Western churches and schools have also banned yoga because of the false belief that it is a religious practice.