Yoga Alliance Launches Survey Assessing America's Yoga Insight

Jan 13, 2010, 15:22 ET from Yoga Alliance

As Part of Yoga Day USA 2010, Organization Determines Ways to Encourage More People to Practice

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of Yoga Day USA – taking place Saturday, January 23 – Yoga Alliance conducted a survey to determine those factors that may prevent people from reaping the rewards of this thousands-year-old practice. The 2010 Yoga Insight Survey sought to identify the country's general level of understanding of the myriad health and wellness benefits the practice yields.

"Yoga Day USA is an opportunity to help educate people – from the most experienced yogis to those trying it for the very first time - about the power of yoga," said Dr. Terri Kennedy, a member of the Yoga Alliance board of directors. "For years, people all across the country have come together on this one day to celebrate the practice of yoga. Through this research, we wanted to encourage more Americans to join us."

The research sought feedback from people who have never stepped foot in a studio as well as those who have made yoga an essential part of their lives. It found that, despite growing "buzz," there are many Americans who know little about yoga or, worse, have incorrect assumptions which inhibit them from participation. The three most common misperceptions are that yoga:

  • Is religion-based. 57% of those who do not currently practice yoga believe that it requires mantras or chanting related to a form of worship.
  • Requires flexibility in order to practice.  Nearly 3 in 5 Americans – 59% of respondents - who do not practice yoga think that it requires a person to be in at least "decent" shape. In truth, however, anyone – of any size, shape or physical state – can benefit.
  • Is not really exercise. Half of men who have never practiced yoga believe it "isn't a workout." In contrast, 73% of people who do practice believe it is just as effective as running, swimming or weight lifting.

People familiar with yoga find it to be relaxing and believe it contributes to overall good health. Many find themselves turning to it regularly to effectively address health conditions ranging from weight management to pain management and cardiovascular health. Those who don't practice see it as "new age" and not helpful as part of an exercise regimen. In addition, there is a distinct lack of clarity among those who do not regularly practice as to who can benefit most from yoga.

"Anyone can do yoga. It can be done by the most flexible gymnast and the most severely physically challenged individual," explained Faith Hunter, a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT).  "You don't have to just do asana (physical postures). You can meditate, or simply decide to be in the present, the here and now, and that is yoga."

Nearly all survey respondents believe that oversight, including that of instructors, should be governed by rigorous standards set by a third party. In reality, one already exists. A clearer understanding of Yoga Alliance's mission - and the requirements it sets to become a registered teacher or school – might encourage more people to take part in the practice.

Yoga Day USA was created by Yoga Alliance, the national education and support organization for yoga in the United States. The event enables thousands of people across the country to join together to stretch mind, body and spirit through the practice of yoga. In the spirit of karma yoga, or service to others, all events are free or nearly free with the money raised going to charitable organizations.  

"Through this effort, we hope to bring yoga to those who are discovering, rediscovering or continuing their journey," said Dr. Kennedy.  

To find a Yoga Day USA event, please go to  Follow Yoga Day USA on Twitter or join us on Facebook and for complete survey findings please go to Be sure to visit Yoga Alliance's channel on YouTube

About Yoga Alliance

Yoga Alliance is the national education and support organization for yoga in the United States. Yoga Alliance supports students to learn and teachers to teach yoga. The Yoga Alliance directory represents over 25,000 yoga teachers and schools that meet internationally recognized standards of training, experience and ongoing professional development.  Protecting the health and safety of society these standards encompass the many aspects of yoga including anatomy and physiology, yoga lifestyle and ethics, teaching methodology, and techniques training. Yoga Alliance standards provide teachers with an important foundation for their yoga teaching practice. Acknowledged by the designation RYT, E-RYT, and RYS, Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teachers and Registered Yoga Schools can be found at

SOURCE Yoga Alliance