is the yoga boom almost over?

This has nothing to do with yoga, but I love this graph for most searched celebrity scandals in 2009.

According to Google Zeitgeist, it just might be. On the list of “most googled” exercises in 2009, yoga ranked #9 (just above pole dancing). As the National Post noted:

Is yoga now on a downward trend? Or has the uber-trendy exercise suffered some sort of backlash due to expensive studio classes or, as Antonia Richmond says in a 2006 article in the San Francisco Chronicle,* a growing sense of insecurity from the non-yoga inclined masses:

“These are the yoga people. And they’re better than you…They don’t have the haggard appearance or sensitivity to bright sunlight that I do as I stumble down the street in search of coffee. They appear to … glow.”

Yoga-hater and creator of New York clothing company “It’s a Sickness”, Barnaby Harris went so far as to create an entire f— yoga clothing line.

Harris elegantly summed up the history of the ubiquitous trend, saying:

“Yoga has survived for thousands of years and will survive for thousands more. It’s just that it has gone unopposed for too damn long.”

Inferiority complexes aside, sales suggest that the yoga industry is doing quite well, recession or no recession. [National Post]

I couldn’t find any information on where yoga placed last year. A brief jaunt through the 2008 Year-End Google Zeistgeist revealed no similar category. However, sources reveal that in 2007 yoga was #2, just after pilates, in the fitness category.

Is there any validity to the Google Zeitgeist report? When do you think yoga will peak? And is there anyone else out there waiting for the boom to bust, so we can just carry on with our practice without the commercial craziness?

(*Be sure to click through to the SF Chronicle article ~ it’s a very good read!)

  1. It seems to me that yoga as trendy brand name’s had an awfully long fifteen minutes as it is, particularly since actually practicing yoga in a long-term way requires a hell of a lot of dedication and hard work–which I think is true across most of divisions in the yogasphere. From the most competitive, purely physical end of the spectrum to the way way spiritual end, serious time and commitment are required, while stylish yoga pants really aren’t. So, how many people are putting in that time and commitment only until the next fad comes along? All I can say is: very few among the yogis I hang out with…

    Then, let’s face it, I’m not exactly a magnet for the stylish set…

  2. lol, love the celeb chart. hilarious.

    perhaps the downward trend will be essentially a “good” thing for yoga……

  3. yes, perhaps it will be a good thing. let’s hope so!

    YfC, i agree that this boom has been lasting a long time. and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. other than this highly subjective and unreliable google tracking system, there are no indicators that the yoga boom is waning.

    and it’s always good to hear about people who are putting in the time and commitment, and not just following the fad. it’s very affirming…

  4. I think yoga in the west is going through a transitional period, as we speak. Yoga as a “workout” will peak, as all fitness trends do at some point, and anyone that practices yoga for fitness benefits, will at some point turn to something else.
    Hatha yoga, in my opinion, in it’s organic state, is a multilayered path to physical and emotional health and wellbeing and is most effective when practiced in a mindful, non-competitive atmosphere.
    …maybe that’s what’s really changing. Perhaps yoga, for a lot of people, has just become too noisy, too expensive, with too many experts, too many hybrids. I don’t think yoga in it’s pure sense is peaking , but rather, simply evolving, finally pushing it’s way through all the noise, quietly coming into it’s own and what it’s meant to be.

  5. In my area of Chicagoland there are way too many teachers and not enough students. Every studio has their own teacher training program to make money because studios don’t make money with group classes. And I mean EVERY studio. I really don’t get it because where are all these people going to teach? Granted, not everyone who does a TT goes on to teach, but still….that’s too many teachers for the market here. Any business of yoga workshop you go to says the same thing: the money is in workshops and TTs, YOU HAVE TO DO A TEACHER TRAINING to make any type of money, to SURVIVE.