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Yoga Stretches Into The Mainstream

Americans spent $2.95 billion on yoga classes, retreats and vacations as well as yoga-related products, like clothing, books and mats in 2004, according to a survey of nearly 4,800 people conducted for Yoga Journal.

And the market is growing: The number of Americans who practice yoga at least twice a week jumped 133%, to 3 million this year from 1.3 million in 2001, according to a survey conducted by Mediamark Research.

Curve-hugging stylish clothing in Lycra, cotton and microfibers come from a variety of yoga-inspired brands, including Prana, Be Present, Inner Waves and Lululemon Athletica, as well as Nike and Fila. Jewelry designers are also tailoring their products to serve this burgeoning market. Sonja Picard, a Canadian designer, inscribes ancient Vedic sutras in some of her silver necklaces and bracelets. Price tags for these added touches can be high.

Ads for Ford's $18,000 Fusion car this year featured a woman in her 20s taking a yoga class. "This woman is in the target audience," says Elizabeth Boone, group account director at JWT, which created the ads for Ford. "Yoga is very popular for that age group."



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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