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International Yoga Day: What do Britons think when they hear 'yoga'?

In the lead up to International Yoga Day, a new YouGov survey examines what Britons associate with yoga.

More than two in three Britons think of physical exercise (69%), followed by three-fifths who say they think of meditation and mindfulness practices (60%) and relaxation techniques (59%) when it comes to yoga.

A similar study conducted among American adults reveals that Britons 51% of Britons are likely to associate yoga with breathing exercises compared to 43% of Americans. On the other hand, an almost equal proportion of respondents in both markets acknowledge yoga for its spiritual or philosophical benefits (GB, 29%; US, 25%).

A look at the survey results by age and gender demographics reveals interesting differences in perspectives.

While physical exercise remains the predominant association across all age-groups, 25-to-39-year-old Britons are most likely to see yoga this way (72%). Similarly, this age group is significantly likelier than all others to associate yoga with breathing exercises like pranayama (58%).

The data on meditation and mindfulness practices remains consistent across all age groups, with a slight dip for those aged between 18 to 24 years (57%).

While Britons aged 55 and above are the likeliest to acknowledge yoga as a relaxation technique, 40-to-54-year-old respondents are the likeliest to associate the practice with spirituality (33%).

Gender differences in perception are also evident.

While an almost equal share of men and women in the UK say spirituality or philosophy comes to mind when they think of yoga (28% and 30% respectively), the differences are more significantly pronounced across all other given options with women giving a stronger association to each - exercise, meditation, breathing and relaxation - than men.


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