We have wonderfully exciting news to share with you! The Big UK Yoga Survey is now live…and eagerly awaiting your unique participation.
A survey such as this is long overdue in the UK. Similar such surveys have been carried out in the United States and Australia amongst others, thus giving a picture of the reasons people might practice yoga, the benefits they notice/have noticed in the short and long term, other lifestyle changes that may have occurred as a result of their yoga practice and experiences of yoga-based mindfulness, spirituality and a sense of connection with others.
If you have practised yoga or attended yoga classes in the past year you are eligible to take part in the survey and are very warmly invited to do so. The survey is being carried out by researchers at the University of Westminster, headed by Dr. Karen Pilkington and Dr. Tina Cartwright, two leading researchers in the field of yoga for physical and mental health. We know that more and more people are taking up yoga in the UK and this survey, in part, aims to elucidate why. The hope is that the results of the Big UK Yoga Survey will suggest what is most beneficial emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually about the practice of yoga and highlight areas of research to be explored in the future. In many ways, the deeper desire is to share scientifically that which we already know experientially; that yoga has tremendous benefits to offer us in terms of health and wellbeing and should, therefore, be made available to all people regardless of age or health status. Yoga is for every body and everybody.
Results from the USA and Australian International Yoga Surveys were very promising. The 2012 USA study found that 8.7 percent of U.S. adults, or 20.4 million people, practice yoga. Of current non-practitioners, 44.4 percent of Americans call themselves “aspirational yogis”—people who are interested in trying yoga. The study also collected data on age, gender, and other demographic and lifestyle factors. Of the yoga practitioners surveyed:
- 82.2 percent are women; 17.8 percent are men.
- The majority of today’s yoga practitioners (62.8 percent) fall within the age range of 18-44.
- 38.4 percent have practiced yoga for one year or less; 28.9 percent have practiced for one to three years; 32.7 percent have practiced for three years or longer.
- 44.8 percent consider themselves beginners (22.9 percent are new to yoga; 21.9 percent are beginning to practice yoga after taking some time off); 39.6 percent consider themselves intermediate; 15.6 percent consider themselves expert/advanced.
- The top five reasons for starting yoga were: flexibility (78.3 percent), general conditioning (62.2 percent), stress relief (59.6 percent), improve overall health (58.5 percent) and physical fitness (55.1 percent).
The findings from the Australian International Survey were equally as fascinating. The typical yoga survey respondent was a 41-year-old, tertiary educated, employed, health-conscious female (85% women). Asana (postures) and vinyasa (sequences of postures) represented 61% of the time spent practicing, with the other 39% devoted to the gentler practices of relaxation, pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation and instruction. Respondents commonly started practicing yoga for health and fitness but often continued practicing for stress management. One in five respondents practiced yoga for a specific health or medical reason which was seen to be improved by yoga practice. Of these, more people used yoga for stress management and anxiety than back, neck or shoulder problems, suggesting that mental health may be the primary health-related motivation for practicing yoga. Healthy lifestyle choices were seen to be more prevalent in respondents with more years of practice. Yoga-related injuries occurring under supervision in the previous 12 months were low at 2.4% of respondents.
Responding to the Big UK Yoga Survey will not only be an interesting journey for yourself personally but will also be offering a great service to our broader understanding of yoga’s applications and benefits. The survey is easily filled out online, takes around fifteen minutes to complete and can be accessed on the following link; https://www.westminster.ac.uk/about-us/faculties/science-and-technology/big-uk-yoga-survey-buys
The Minded Institute have been involved with the set-up of the survey since its inception and are passionate about imploring as many people as possible to take part. Your views and experiences truly can make all the difference.
For more information, or simply to share your thoughts on the survey, please contact Lotte at firstname.lastname@example.org.