Ancient Practice of Yoga Now a Growth Industry In Asia

2 years, 5 months ago

Urban wellness by MURFEST rocks this industry.

Yoga is an ancient discipline, but it seems to get hotter all the time. More so in Asia. Nearly 10% of U.S. adults and 3% of children participated in yoga in 2012, up from 5% of adults and 2% of children a decade earlier, says a new survey from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention. Another survey, from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, says more than 24 million U.S. adults practiced yoga in 2013, up from 17 million in 2008. That makes it roughly as popular as golf.

With a population of over 4 billion, Asia is a highly populated region and possesses some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Asia’s yoga explosion is growing fast and continues on a huge scale. Asian countries are creating and growing middle-class and upper-middle class consumers
with high disposable income and spending power looking for ways to improve their standard of living.


Yoga is a $6 billion per year industry that encompasses events and yoga products in Asia. It is growing per annum and has seen an increase of about 87% since 2004. While the yoga population continues to gain momentum, the spending in this industry has almost doubled.

Other signs that yoga is a growth industry:

  • The Wall Street Journal recently reported that some yoga classes are so overcrowded that peace-seeking yogis are getting into fights over mat space.
  •  Lululemon, best known for its flattering yoga pants for women, has started opening stores just for men.
  • Yoga Journal, a print and online magazine, is celebrating its 40th anniversary and “business is booming,” with a growing print readership of 2.1 million and more than 5 million online page views a month.

“I think the growth of yoga is just starting,” says Shobie Malani, a lawyer turned Festival Director from Malaysia, have largely gotten past the misunderstanding that teaching yoga involves teaching religion especially in muslim dominated counteries and sees the growth to be at 15% per annum for the next 3 years as better awareness is spread across.

Yoga originated in India at least 5,000 years ago,the forms typically practiced in the Asia, combining standard stretches and poses with breathing techniques, first caught on in the 1970s. But, until recently, many people had probably never heard of a downward dog (that’s a yoga pose, for the still unenlightened). Across Asia, students, stressed-out young professionals, CEOs and retirees are among those who have embraced
yoga, fueling a $38 billion industry with more than 20 million practitioners — 83 percent of them women. The love of yoga is out there and the time is right for yoga & wellness based activties.”

“Number one is accessibility,” Shobie says. It used to be you did yoga at a yoga studio. It wasn’t available in your gym. There weren’t that many DVDs. Now it’s offered in pretty much every gym on a regular basis. It’s everywhere.”Indeed, fitness professionals ranked yoga among top-ten trends for 2014 and 2015 in surveys. But yoga is seen as more than a fitness tool. It’s increasingly seen as therapy for the body and mind, Shobie of MURFEST says.”I’ve always thought that it’s not a matter of if we are going to include yoga and mindfulness techniques in health care, it’s always been when, and the when has arrived,” Still, yoga is considered a “complementary” health practice by health practioners. That means that it is not backed by the same depth of research as standard interventions. Many still say that yoga – like any exercise – “might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility.” It also says “a carefully adapted set of yoga poses” may ease lower back pain. Studies of yoga for asthma suggest no
benefit; studies in arthritis patients have had mixed results.”Yoga clearly has some benefits, but it is not a magic fitness routine,” says Shobie. She describes yoga as “a light resistance workout,” with an added focus on mindfulness. She says it is not much of a calorie burner and won’t get your heart pumping as much as a good jog.

Some tips:

  • Look for a beginner’s class, even if you think of yourself as fit.
  • If you have health problems – such as chronic knee or back pain — tell the instructor.
  • Let the instructor know if you prefer not to be touched. Yoga instructors typically adjust students’ positions.
  • Speak up if a position does not feel right.