The Press tells us that over 20 million Americans ‘practice’ Yoga (and in the process spend 10.3 billion $ annually!). I wonder what that statistic, oft promoted as a success statement for Yoga, really means?
Or even whether ‘attending’ a Yoga class qualifies one as ‘practicing’ Yoga? Though even here one could speculate that some group classes might barely qualify for the term Āsana class, let alone a Yoga class.
One might even speculate further and consider including all the fringe hybrids from Acro to Aqua, Hoopla to Hanging, Pilo to Pet as exercise or development systems aligning themselves with Yoga for various reasons, possibly even including the potential fruits of ‘product placement’. Aka ‘Yoga Bleaching‘?
For example it feels for me that going to a Yoga Class, or two or even three or more a week is not the same as ‘practicing’ Yoga. Just look at the differences between those who managed to attend a Yoga class and those who managed to sustain a practice at home in between their weekly or even daily outings.
It reminds of a story told to me where a student was discussing with their group students the notion of starting to cultivate a simple home practice. One response was “I haven’t got time to practice at home, I’m already going to four Yoga classes a week”.
So has one has become an unconscious substitute for the other? Furthermore, if so, has this always been the ‘norm’ for Yoga in the West? If so, what ‘qualifies’ one as practicing Yoga as against attending Yoga?
If nothing else think of all the dosh that could be saved? Not sure that would align with the interests of some Yoga Studios or Franchises (or even Yoga Fashion Franchises), especially those focused on attendance ‘loyalty’ schemes such as block booking or multi class discounts or needing to be concerned with cramming studios. It seems that even Yoga mats have become narrower. Is this part of the ‘strategy’ for coping with larger groups?
However on the other hand I wonder what such a shift in priorities towards Yoga, from a go-out affair to a live-in relationship, could do for the evolution, as against popularity, of Yoga in the West?