Yoga and Meditation: A Growing Trend

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Yoga and Meditation: A Growing Trend

Yoga and meditation are no longer considered alternative practices. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 14% of adults and a steadily increasing number of children now engage in these practices.

Increasing Popularity

  • Between 2012 and 2017, the percentage of adults and children who reported practicing yoga or meditation in the past year saw a significant rise.
  • In 2017, approximately 14% of adults practiced both yoga and meditation, compared to 9.5% and 4% respectively in 2012.
  • During the same period, the percentage of children aged 4 to 17 who had practiced yoga increased from approximately 3% to 8%, while the percentage who had engaged in meditation rose from 0.6% to 5.4%.

Contributing Factors

Several factors have contributed to the proliferation of yoga and meditation in recent years:

  • Increased availability of these practices through gyms, boutique studios, and mobile applications.
  • A 2016 Yoga Journal survey estimated that Americans spent nearly $17 billion on yoga classes, apparel, and equipment in that year.
  • Growing research supporting the health benefits of these practices, including reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, enhanced vascular health, and a lower risk of heart disease.

While the practice of yoga and meditation has gained popularity across age groups and demographics, significant racial and gender disparities persist:

  • In 2017, nearly 20% of women reported practicing yoga in the past year, compared to approximately 9% of men.
  • Approximately 17% of white adults engaged in yoga, in comparison to 9% of black adults and 8% of Hispanic adults.
  • Similarly, about 16% of women said they had practiced meditation, while nearly 12% of men did the same.
  • Roughly 15% of white adults reported meditating, compared to 13.5% of black adults and almost 11% of Hispanic adults.

These gender and racial gaps are also evident among children.

Yoga is more popular among younger adults; approximately 18% of those aged 18 to 44 reported practicing in the past year, compared to about 12% of those aged 45 to 64 and nearly 7% of those 65 and older.

In contrast, meditation is most popular among middle-aged adults (almost 16%), compared to approximately 13% of both younger and older adults.

Differences among youth age groups are less pronounced, although yoga is slightly more popular among children aged 4 to 11 than tweens and teenagers. The opposite is true for meditation.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, March 22). Yoga and meditation: Prevalence and trends among U.S. adults and children. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db323.pdf
  2. Yoga Journal. (2016). Yoga in America: A survey of yoga practitioners. Retrieved from https://www.yogajournal.com/yogainamerica

Article Author: Jane Smith

Jane Smith is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. Her work has been featured in various publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and TIME magazine.



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