Yoga is continuing to grow in popularity even through the recession, particularly among college-educated Americans and businesspeople seeking to reduce stress and improve well-being, says Bill Harper, publisher of Yoga Journal. Harper references two studies in particular: a spring 2010 Market Research Insight (MRI) study that reported an increase of 1.2 million yoga participants from spring of 2009 to spring 2010; and a fall 2010 MRI study that found more robust growth in yoga than in over 50 sports from 2001 to 2010. MRI measured yoga participation for the first time in 2001.
“More and more finance professionals are attracted to yoga,” Michael Wald, co-founder of Namaste New York, which has yoga instructors at more than 20 banks and hedge funds, told Katya Kazakina of Bloomberg News. “They work in a stressful environment. The purpose of yoga is to calm the mind and relax the nervous system.” Julie and Michael Wald, a husband and wife team who are both yoga instructors, took advantage of this market demand by founding Namaste New York, which provides both corporate wellness services and private yoga training.