Washington: While the world celebrated the first International Yoga Day today, over 20 million Americans have already been practicising the ancient Indian meditative exercise, fuelling the whopping USD 27 billion yoga industry in the country.
Years ago, when the US was first introduced to the 5,000- year-old Indian physical, mental and spiritual practice that aims to transform body and mind, more and more number of Americans have resorted to it for health benefits and no more confuse yoga with yogurt.
A whopping 20.4 million people reportedly practice yoga in the US, a significant increase from the 15.8 million yoga practitioners in 2008.
The business of yoga is growing fast, too. Americans are spending over USD 11 billion a year on yoga classes and gear (pants, mats, bags, blocks), up 88 per cent from 2008, according to media reports.
With an increasing number of yoga practitioners comes an increasing number of places to practice. Bikram, Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga studios can be found all across America, but are more concentrated in some states than others.
Alaska hosts the most yoga studios per capita out of every state in the US, despite its minuscule population, Huffington Post reported in March.
“Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise in the US and it is imperative to systematically examine its health benefits, especially the mental health benefits that this unique mind-body form of activity may offer,” said Edward McAuley, Illinois kinesiology and community health professor.
Many breweries have also joined the yoga bandwagon hosting ‘happy hour events’ where one can attend a yoga class and grab a beer at an attractive price.
Washington’s Hellbender Brewing Company has launched a “Detox to Retox”, a monthly summer series of yoga, tastings and discounts, while Capitol City Brewing Company offers “Asana & Ale” in Shirlington, Washington Post reported last week. .
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