Many Americans have misperceptions about yoga, and for some these may be barriers to practice, according to the 2010 Yoga Insight Survey conducted in December 2009 for the Yoga Alliance. Survey respondents’ most common misperceptions included the following:

  • Yoga is religious.
  • Only those who are flexible can practice yoga.
  • Yoga is not really exercise.

Regardless of whether or not they practiced yoga, survey participants universally agreed that yoga is relaxing, contributes to good health and can be spiritual and enlightening. Survey sponsors noted that those who do not practice yoga tend to view it as “New Age” and are not certain who benefits most from yoga.
The survey also explored opinions regarding whether or not yoga should be governed or guided by standards put in place by an independent third party or organization. The Yoga Alliance believes that “an understanding of the Yoga Alliance’s mission—and the requirements it has established for registered teachers and schools—might encourage more people to try and take part in the practice.”
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