Yoga in Australia: Results of a national survey

Introduction The therapeutic benefits of meditation and yoga are well documented. Yet little is known in Australia about yoga as a practice, be it a physical exercise, a therapy, a spiritual path, or a lifestyle.

Materials & Methods: To investigate the practice and popularity of yoga in Australia, an extensive web-based survey was conducted. Participants were self-selected to take part. A total of 3,892 respondents responded to the study. After excluding 60 overseas respondents (to be reported separately) and 1265 Yoga Teachers (to also be reported separately), 2,567 respondents are yoga practitioners.

Results The typical yoga respondent is a 41-year-old, employed female with tertiary education (85% women) who has a health-conscious attitude. Asanas (postures) accounted for 61% of time spent in practice, while the remaining 39% was devoted to gentler practices such as relaxation, breathing techniques, meditation, and instruction. Most respondents began practicing yoga to improve their health and fitness but continued it for stress management. One-fifth of respondents said they practiced yoga to improve a health condition or medical problem. Yoga was used more often by people to manage stress and anxiety than for back, neck, or shoulder issues, which suggests that mental health is the main health-related reason for practicing yoga. Healthy lifestyle choices are more common among respondents who have more years of experience. The number of people who reported yoga-related injuries that occurred under supervision within the past 12 months was low, at only 2.4%.

Conclusions Yoga practice has been shown to help manage specific medical issues and health conditions. Regular yoga practice can also have a positive impact on a healthy lifestyle, including non-smoking and reduced alcohol consumption. It may also lead to increased exercise, stress reduction, vegetarianism, and reduced alcohol intake.

Keywords: Australia, cardiovascular; exercise; fitness; health; injuries; injury medical; meditation; mental health; musculoskeletal health; quality of living, survey; therapy; women’s healthcare; yoga.

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