The Yoga in America Study showed a 29 percent increase in the number of Americans who practiced some form of yoga. That increase represented 20.4 million yoga practitioners in 2012 or 8.7 percent of adults in America; growing from 15.8 million four years earlier. Of that number, 82.2 percent were women; 17.8 percent were men and about 63 percent fell within the age range of 18-44.
A recently published paper in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine (2014) looked at the positive association between yoga and physical and mental health. The author of the study concluded “that practice of yoga is beneficial for all the dimensions of health, i.e. physical, mental, social, and spiritual and at the same time promotes harmony with nature and helps in conserving environment.”
In a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Yoga, Penman and colleagues looked at the practice of yoga in Australia with more than 3,800 yoga practitioners. The researchers concluded:
“Yoga practice was seen to assist in the management of specific health issues and medical conditions. Regular yoga practice may also exert a healthy lifestyle effect including vegetarianism, non-smoking, reduced alcohol consumption, increased exercise and reduced stress with resulting cost benefits to the community.”
Finally, a review of eight studies demonstrated pulmonary function appears to improve with a minimum of 10 weeks of regular yoga practice. The more de-conditioned the person the better the improvement in pulmonary function, measured by maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressure.
Taneja DK (2014). Yoga and Health. Indian J. Community Medicine. 39(2): 68–72.
Penman S, Cohen M, Stevens P, and Jackson S (2012). Yoga in Australia: Results of a national survey. Int J Yoga. 5(2): 92–101.
Abel AN, Lloyd LK, Williams JS (2013).The effects of regular yoga practice on pulmonary function in healthy individuals: a literature review. J Alternative Compl Medicine. 19(3):185-90.